Composers wanted: RTÉ Lyric FM Competition

RTÉ lyric fm will celebrate its’ 20th birthday in 2019 with three newly commissioned works, to be performed live by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Philharmonic Choir at a gala concert on May 1st next year.

They are inviting composers who were born or are living in Ireland for their submissions using the text below, with a total prize fund of €14,000 available for the winning categories.

Commissions and prize money will be offered in the following categories:

  • A 10-15 minute Irish harp concerto in three movements for soloist Máire Ni Chathasaigh and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra – €10,000
  • A 4-5 minute a cappella work for the SATB choir – €2000
  • A 4-5 minute work for the cellos of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra – €2000

(NB: No composer may write a winning work in more than one category)

Entrants should think about creating melodic, accessible new compositions that will engage the lyric listener and that can ultimately, after its premiere performance, be recorded in studio for repeat broadcast on the station’s prime time programmes. The text, to be set for SATB voices, will be performed by the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir is below. Thematically, Michael Coady’s Though There are Torturers expresses the universality of music in a way that chimes perfectly with the motivation for this competition.

Though There are Torturers, by Michael Coady

Though there are torturers in the world

There are also musicians.

Though, at this moment,

Men are screaming in prisons,

There are jazzmen raising storms

Of sensuous celebration,

And orchestras releasing

Glories of the Spirit.

Though the image of God

Is everywhere defiled,

A man in West Clare

Is playing the concertina,

The Sistine Choir is levitating

Under the dome of St. Peter’s,

And a drunk man on the road

Is singing, for no reason.

All entrants must submit approximately 1 minute of their proposed score, a 200 word outline of their work and a detailed musical CV including MP3/ WAV audio to support their entry. Submissions should demonstrate a clear ability to write for the forces of their chosen composition.

The competition is open to all composers born or resident in Ireland. Award winners must be available to attend the rehearsals and premiere performance in person. Three hard copies of each of these documents must be posted by 5pm on Friday, 7 September to:

RTÉ lyric fm, 20th Anniversary Competition

Top Floor

Cornmarket Square



The submissions will be judged by Ellen Cranitch, Shaun Davey, Anthony Long, Mark Hindley & Una Ní Chanainn. The adjudicators’ decision is final.

For further information, please see