I would not paint a picture - poem by Emily Dickinson

Words&Music, Inc. invites you to participate in a special composer’s competition with the aim of adding repertoire to the canon of chamber music for vocal quartet and piano.

Competition Judges: Jackson Berkey | Elizabeth Daniels | Libby Larsen

The focus of the composition is Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I Would Not Paint a Picture.”

Winners Announced!

1st Place: $750 - Griffin Candey

2nd Place: $300 - Amanda Jacobs

3rd Place: $200 - Rick Arnest

Winning compositions will be presented in a series of interactive salon performances as well as at future Words&Music public concerts. Composers will receive a high quality recording for archival purposes.


This competition is open to all active composers. Settings of the Dickinson poem must be original and newly composed, and the text must be complete, unaltered, and unabridged. This poem is being used with permission by Harvard University Press for the purposes of this competition only. In the event that composers wish to publish their musical settings, a separate agreement between the composer and Harvard University Press will be required.

Full credit must be given to the title and author of the selected text as provided in the credit line below. Entry into the competition requires a completed application form, delivery of scores and all materials on time, and a US$25 application fee.

Important Dates

16 December, 2013 | Materials Due
1 March, 2014 | Winners announced
29 March, 2014 | Winning compositions to be premiered at “I Would Not Paint a Picture - A Musical Conversation

View Full Contest Rules

J505/ F 348
Reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from THE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON: VARIORUM EDITION, edited by Ralph W. Franklin, Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1998 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

The mission of Words&Music, Inc. is to present exceptional performances of both traditional and newly commissioned compositions in the vocal chamber music repertoire. Our purpose is to bring beautiful music to the forefront while simultaneously giving equal attention to the wonderful poetry and prose that inspire each work. Our efforts include both educational and performance initiatives throughout our community.

Words&Music is supported in part by the Virginia Commission for the ArtsWords&Music is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts
Words&Music is supported in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.