The International Musica Sacra Nova Composers Competition dates back to 1996. It was initiated by Paweł Łukaszewski, Professor and prorector at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, PhD Hab in composition. The driving force behind this project was a desire to provide new contemporary sacred music repertory.



mixed choir a cappella

I prize: Aleksander Jan Szopa (Poland) for Ubi caritas
II prize: Paolo Orlandi (Italy) for Ave Regina caelorum
III prize: Steven Heelein (Germany) for Lux et origo



liturgical composition for mixed choir and organ

I prize: Fe Yuen (Hong Kong) for Ave maris Stella
II prize: Joanna Widera (Poland) for Agnus Dei
III prize: Johannes X. Schachtner (Germany) for Missa brevissima


For its first ten years Musica Sacra Nova was a national competition. Thanks to the efforts of Prof. Marian Borkowski, the chairman of the competition’s jury, a collaboration with the Gaude Mater International Festival began in 2005. This combination helped the competition to flourish, with its prestige growing year by year, attracting distinguished representatives of global choir music such as Stephen Layton or Ēriks Ešenvalds to become jurors. From then on, the contestants have included not only young composers from Europe, but also for example from South Korea, Australia or the United States.

However, with time, when the Częstochowa local government changed, Musica Sacra Nova had to look for alternative support. Thanks to the kindness of Card. Rainer Maria Woelke, this support was provided by the Archbishopric of Cologne. Today the organisers also include the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, College of Catholic Church Music and Musical Education in Regensburg, Instytut Musica Sacra society in Warsaw, Friends of Brauweiler Abbey Society and the Musica Ficta Society in Rimini. It should be emphasised that there is no other competition in Poland with such a large array of international partners. On 6 September 2019, all of the above institutions signed an agreement on the joint organising of the Musica Sacra Nova competition. The competition regulations provides for three financial prizes of €2500, €2000 and €1500 awarded at the competition winners’ concert. Each year, a concert of the winners in one of the competition categories will be held in Gdańsk. An important award for the winners of Sacra Nova are recordings of the winning pieces released on prestigious labels and their performance by the best European choirs, including the Polish Chamber Choir from the very beginning of the competition. Moreover, for several years now the scores of the award-winning pieces are published by the prestigious Schott Music Publishing (also publisher of the works of Krzysztof Penderecki).

The Polish Chamber Choir’s participation in such a prestigious project as today’s International Musica Sacra Nova Composers Competition is a great honour. The concert presenting the pieces awarded in last year’s competition will be part of the Papal Triptych cycle which will take place on 22 October at Trinity Church (Kościół Sw. Trójcy) in Gdańsk.