Grammy-nominated True Concord Voices & Orchestra of Tucson, Arizona announces a contest for a new poem to be set to music and performed as part of its 20th anniversary 2023-24 season.

—Congratulations to the winning poet, Janet Ruth!—

Learn more about Janet and the World Premiere of the winning work resulting from our annual Stephen Paulus Emerging Composers Competition and our Inaugural Poetry Competition here!


True Concord creates experiences through music that move, enrich and inspire. We accomplish our mission primarily through the performance of masterworks and music of America’s cultural mosaic, including premieres of new works by America’s finest composers.

In 2016, True Concord established the Stephen Paulus Emerging Composers Competition, a national competition for composers under the age of 40 that has led to the creation of hundreds of new works and produced five winners. The basis for the annual competition has been poetry in the public domain selected in partnership with the University of Arizona Poetry Center.


True Concord derives its name from Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 8, in which Shakespeare describes music’s power to bring people together. For its 20th anniversary, True Concord seeks a new poem about music’s ability to bridge our differences and create harmony with one another. The poem should be a celebration of our shared humanity, rather than a political statement about current events.

The poem, rhymed or unrhymed of ca. 100 words, could be in sonnet form or another form, but must readily lend itself to classical musical composition. The winning poem will be set to music by the next winner of the Stephen Paulus Emerging Composers Competition, and performed in Tucson in the 2023-24 season.

No more than 1 submission per poet, and no simultaneous submissions will be accepted. Limitless rights to perform and record the musical setting of the poem will be held by True Concord.


Submissions are due by November 15, 2022 and will be adjudicated by Alison Hawthorne Deming, with $1500 prize awarded to the winner and $500 travel stipend to attend the world premiere performances of the new work in Tucson.  A winner will be announced by mid-December, 2022. There is no fee to enter the contest, and individuals from underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to submit.

Submit your poem in PDF format without your name or other identifying elements beyond title of the poem. List your name and email address in the body of the email, put the title of the poem in the subject line and send to

Alison Hawthorne Deming