Choral Sketches Workshop

Deepening composers’ understanding of choral music.

A one-of-a-kind mentorship

Supported by

Modeled on the highly successful Choral Sketches project at Chamber Choir Ireland, Pacific Chorale presents this unique professional development opportunity for composers who wish to develop their skills in writing choral music, with mentoring from renowned composer Tarik O’Regan. The purpose of the Choral Sketches initiative is to provide a creative and open environment for composers to deepen their experience writing for voices in a choral context. Choral Sketches is open to composers at any career stage who are currently residing legally in the U.S.

The title and concept of Choral Sketches was developed by Tarik O’Regan in collaboration with Chamber Choir Ireland and the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland.

What happens in the Choral Sketches project?

A maximum of three composers will be selected to take part in the workshop via an anonymous submission process.

The selected composers will receive up to 90 minutes of online mentoring from Tarik O’Regan at intervals from October-December 2018, leading to the development of a series of compositional sketches for a new choral work. Sketches must be for SATB a cappella choir with a maximum 16-part divisi.

These sketches will be the focus of a public workshop led by Tarik O’Regan and Artistic Director Robert Istad with a 16-voice professional chamber choir on January 26, 2019 in Orange County, CA.

Each composer shall be allocated c. 40 minutes to workshop their choral sketches with input from Tarik O’Regan, Robert Istad and the singers.

After the workshop, composers will be invited to complete one work, which will be eligible for a performance reading and recording during the next Choral Sketches in 2020.

To apply to participate:

In order to apply, composers must submit the following by e-mail to [email protected] by August 1, 2018 (please put “Choral Sketches” in the subject heading).

  •  A short proposal outlining the ways in which Choral Sketches will enable you to explore your compositional ideas and develop your skills.
  •  Two recently completed scores (not excerpts) in PDF format and a live or electronic realization of each score. PDF scores should not contain any information that identifies the composer. Submitted scores do NOT have to be choral works.
  • A resume of no more than one page.

What is a “sketch”?

The workshop is intended to be a safe space for experimentation and feedback, in order to deepen composers’ understanding of choral writing. It is not an adjudication or “read-through,” and there is no expectation of a finished product. Thus, sketches will be 1 to 30 seconds long, and can be multiple iterations of a same idea, different ways of handling the same material, or other ideas about which you have questions or with which you want to experiment. During the workshop, the singers, conductors and composers will engage in discussion on ways to take the piece forward.

Notes for applicants:

  • Composers chosen to participate will be informed by e-mail by September 1, 2018.
  • Participating composers will be compensated for airfare/ground transportation to Orange County and hotel costs up to $600.
  • There is no age restriction for applicants. Applicants must currently reside legally in the U.S.
  • Submitted scores and recordings are presented to the selection panel without the applicant’s name or other identifying features.
  • The selection panel includes the mentor composer, the Artistic Director, and members of the Pacific Chorale staff.
  • The panel’s decision is final.


Choral Sketches is the next step in our commitment to developing composers and replaces our Young Composers Competition. Past winners of this competition include: