Brooklyn Youth Chorus - Call for Scores


The Brooklyn Youth Chorus is seeking score submissions for our Men’s Ensemble.

Entries should be:
• for 3-part or 2-part Men’s Choir (TBB, TTB, or TB); see notes for composers
• unaccompanied, or with piano accompaniment
• three to eight minutes in length
• written within the last 5 years
• secular text is preferred, but sacred texts would be considered. Text can be original or in the public domain. Copyrighted text is permissible as long as a letter of permission from the copyright owner is included with the submission
• suitable for young men ages 12-18
• the Men’s Ensemble is often hired for galas, parties, and community events. Special preference will be given to pieces that are rhythmic, fast-paced, and uplifting.

• open to all composers regardless of age or nationality

• include name, address, phone number(s), and email address when submitting scores
• please include your bio/website and a performance history of the piece
• scores may be submitted by:
¬ Sibelius or PDF
¬ mp3 or other audio
• submissions must be submitted via email by January 1, 2018 and should include the SUBJECT heading: COMPOSER COMPETITION and YOUR NAME
• email compositions to: Kristopher Burke at

• there is no compensation at this time
• we are able to offer at least one performance and a well-rehearsed recording of the live performance
• fee for submission and consideration is $0

Listening Samples
Field Notes -
Composed by Adam Hill (last year’s competition winner)

Rise Up Shepherd and Follow -
arranged by Rachel DeVore Fogarty


The Men’s Ensemble (ME) is the Brooklyn Youth Chorus’ professional level all-male ensemble. The ME is comprised of young men whose voices have changed and the group sings tenor/bass repertoire ranging from classical to barbershop to pop.

The experience and abilities of the ME vary greatly among its members.

The ME performs roughly 10-12 times during the season.

Voice range: main tessitura (comfortable range) is roughly an octave and a half – A2 to D4;
• Range extension – some basses can reach down to F2, and some tenors can reach up to A4, but extended ranges should be approached carefully – easier by step or small skips rather than large skips – and should not be sustained for long periods of time or over extended phrases (a place to visit, not to live)
• Passaggio/register event – most of our singers switch from pure chest voice into either head voice, mixed voice, or falsetto around D4. It is comfortable for most tenors to sing through D4, but be mindful of extended passages that lay within the passaggio zone (D4, E4, and F4) – again this should not be sustained for long periods of time.
Voice parts: Typical repertoire for the ME is 3-part tenor/bass in the form of: Tenor 1, Tenor 2/Baritone, and Bass. We also sing music in two (tenor and Bass) or unison.

In general, learning pieces comprised of more than 3 parts requires considerable rehearsal time, and is easiest to achieve with limited divisi on isolated chords or for limited sections of a piece, or by incorporating solo/small (no more than two at a time) group lines on top of the main choral texture.

Vocal color/timbre for ME can range from light and clear to full and robust. Generally speaking, the full sound often associated with all-male singing groups is easiest to access in the C3 to C4 range. Pitches along this range can also be sung comfortably in any register quality or ‘mix’ of qualities.

BYC is known for its “cross-choral training™” method, which prepares singers to produce a wide range of vocal qualities and timbres, and supports the belief that authentic performances within a musical style include a vocal quality that is distinct and appropriate. Singers enjoy using the full range of their voices in their programming. That said, it is easier to ‘add weight’ in their sound as a program progresses than to take it out, meaning that songs sung in a lighter quality (classical, musical, sweeter and more gentle sounds) typically precede those sung in a heavier quality (pop music, belting, loud gospel, etc.). Abrupt and extreme changes in vocal quality can be very difficult, although variation between sections or even between voice parts is certainly doable.


We are proud of how far we’ve come since 1992: from 45 kids rehearsing in a donated space in Downtown Brooklyn to more than 500 students enjoying a wide range of music courses in our own renovated building in Cobble Hill and at neighborhood locations in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Red Hook. Under the encouraging eye of Founder & Artistic Director Dianne Berkun-Menaker, we have become an uplifting artistic community, building confidence and self-esteem with every high note and harmony.

Founded on the pillars of artistry, community and diversity, our approach works. Audiences, music critics and peers praise our performances as “thriving and accomplished,” “innately musical” and “angelic.” Our growing reputation has taken us from the White House to Lincoln Center, from Madison Square Garden to Radio City Music Hall, across 12 states and overseas to Russia, the United Kingdom, Austria, Canada and Germany.

Renowned orchestras and artists choose to work with us. We have performed with the New York, Los Angeles and Brooklyn philharmonics; with Barbra Streisand, Lou Reed, Judy Collins, Sir Elton John, John Legend and Ray Davies; under the baton of Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, James Levine, Marin Alsop, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Charles Dutoit, Robert Spano, and Leon Botstein; and alongside the Mark Morris and Wally Cardona dance companies. We have recorded with Grizzly Bear, Talib Kweli, Holy Ghost and Laurie Berkner and sang on the soundtrack for Philip Glass’ film, Undertow.

We won the Best Classical Album Grammy® Award in 2005 for On the Transmigration of Souls by John Adams. We also sang at the 2002 world premiere of that Pulitzer prize-winning work under Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic. The following year, we performed at the New York premiere of Mr. Adams’ El Niño with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, under Esa-Pekka Salonen.

These accomplishments flow from the challenging yet supportive musical community that we’ve created. At Brooklyn Youth Chorus, we carefully guide our students through a progression of six ensembles, each building on earlier vocal and musical skills while introducing new ones. Everyone attends rehearsal classes and participates in ensemble performances. Many also take private voice and instrument lessons, selecting among our extensive electives program.

We also develop new choral music across many genres by commissioning composers and arrangers such as: Pulitzer prize-winners Caroline Shaw, David Lang, and Paul Moravec, Phil Kline, Fred Hersch, Andrew Lippa, Nico Muhly, Kirk Nurock, James MacMillan, Bryce Dessner, Missy Mazzoli, Shara Worden, Joel Martin, and Daniel Brewbaker.

Although Brooklyn based, Brooklyn Youth Chorus is a true New York City institution. We attract students from across the boroughs, forming a resplendent mosaic of diverse cultures and experiences. Our scholarship program makes the Chorus affordable, regardless of ability to pay. It’s all part of our mission to help the young and talented from all backgrounds achieve and surpass their goals as both musicians and people.

1 Jan 2018