Winners second edition Vic Nees Composition Contest

On Friday 17th February, the jury for the second edition of the Vic Nees Composition Competition gathered: Geert Hendrix (conductor), Alain De Ley (composer, Flemish Radio Choir), Jan Van Damme (composer, ComAV delegate) and Maria Guinand (conductor, Venezuela).

The Vic Nees Composition Competition is a realization of Koor&Stem, ComAV, the Flemish Radio Choir and the European Music Festival for Youth. The competition will be organized every two years from 2023 onwards. The next call for participation will follow in June 2024 with winners announced in March 2025.

35 participans in 2 categories

Participants were allowed to submit compositions in 2 categories until 16 December. We received a total of 35 entries that were submitted anonymously to the jury: 16 in the conservatory category, 19 from the music schools. The jury chose a winner in both categories. We publish the winning works on Koorklank and on Choral Music from Flanders.

And the winner is...

We are pleased to announce that our second edition of the composition competition attracted 10 more participants in comparison to 2020.

José Retra (°1962) won the Vic Nees composition competition in the category of the conservatories. Retra is a music pedagogue and a composition student at LUCA, School of Arts Campus Leuven with Pieter Schuermans, Jeroen D'hoe & Maarten Van Ingelgem since 2021. Her work Le Secret for four-part female choir and piano was described by the jury as a formally very well structured piece with a beautiful piano part and interesting choral setting. 'The composer has good ideas and knows how to use them'. Interesting fact: Retra shares her birthday with Vic Nees, international women's day. A lovely coincidence.

Stijn Dierckx (°1990) is the winner of the competition in the category music schools for the second time in a row. The jury, which was completely different from that of 3 years ago, fell in love with the beautiful harmonies and the humor of the composer who, with Lorem ipsum set fake latin - dummy text for graphic design to show the visual form of a document without any meaningful text is - to music. Congrats, Stijn, for the second time.

Maxime Godfrind (°1990) came second in the conservatory category with the work Mæñawídha. Mæñawídha are poems that Asian nomads write when they feel that the end of their lives is approaching. They sum up existential questions, but also practical concerns, in just a few words. Godfrind used a poem from the 11th century.

Marcel Ponseele (°1957) came second in the category music schools with De Grens, inspired by the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. Ponseele is a renowned oboist and oboe builder. We know him from his wonderful ensemble Il Gardellino. As a young pensioner, he now focuses on composing. A nice surprise.

Creation of the works

As the winning works appear on Koorklank/Choral Music from Flanders, every choir is free to use them. Also, the works of the winners (first place) will be performed during the Vic Nees commemoration concerts with the VRK in autumn.
The works that finished first and second are published on Koorklank.

New competition

In June 2024 we will launch the third edition of the Vic Nees Composition Contest. Composers will be able to submit compositions until December 2024. We will announce the new winners in March 2025.



1. Le Secret for female choir and piano by José Retra, student composition at LUCA School of Arts, campus Lemmens, student of Pieter Schuermans, Jeroen D'hoe and Maarten Van Ingelgem. Discover the work here.

2. Mæñawídha for mixed choir a cappella by Maxime Godfrind, student composition at LUCA School of Arts, campus Lemmens student of Kurt Bikkembergs. This work will soon be put online!

3. Ketting for mixed choir a cappella by Noah Bots, student composition at LUCA School of Arts, campus Lemmens, student of Maarten Van Ingelgem


1. Lorem ipsum for mixed choir a cappella by Stijn Dierckx, music school Lier. Discover the work here.

2. De Grens for female choir and piano by Marcel Ponseele, music school De Kunstbrug Gentbrugge, student of Christophe Goedvriend. Discover the work here.

3. Solubility for female choir a cappella door Dorien Staljanssens,  music school Gent De Poel.

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