Composer Donald M. Skirvin in his music studio in Seattle.

Donald M. Skirvin


—News and Updates—


Click HERE for more news and updates.

Most recent website update: 07/20/2021

The American Prize in Composition for 2020

​I am thrilled and honored to announce that I’ve been selected as the recipient of The American Prize in Composition for 2020 in the shorter choral works division.

I want to acknowledge the artistry of the other finalists, many of whose works I know and admire. I also want to thank the choirs whose performances were used for the works I submitted: The Esoterics (which had commissioned and premiered four of the five works I submitted), under the direction of Eric Banks; the University of Utah Chamber Choir and the Utah Chamber Artists (which premiered Dusky Gold), under the direction of Dr. Barlow Bradford. It has been a singular honor to have received such wonderful performances of my works by these and other choruses over the span of my career.

Here are the works that I submitted (starred entries were selected for the final judging):


Fontainebleau *

Arcturus in Autumn *

There Will Come Soft Rains

Dusky Gold *


Recent and Upcoming Concerts

See Concerts page for more information.

—Concerts in 2020—

All the following concerts and others have been canceled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay safe, and take necessary precautions. The music is temporarily silenced, but the voices will return and sing once more.

  • Vocalise, a Seattle-based women's ensemble, premieres Winter's Cloak, a work scored for a cappella women's ensemble together with the premiere of UnSeen Buds for soprano soloist and piano in its ...about to bloom concert. The concert is being rescheduled because of the coronavirus situation in Seattle with more information about that at a later date.

  • L.A. Choral Lab, a Los Angeles-based ensemble, will perform Ancient Roses (Movement I of Echoes from the Heart) in its Past Life Melodies: A Warehouse Choral Concert. The concert is being rescheduled because of the coronavirus crisis.

—Concerts in 2019—
  • Kirkland Choral Society performs the premiere of Canticles of Crimson in its Carmina Burana concerts on February 23 and 24.
  • Larimer Chorale performs Sometimes, for eternity in its Fauré: Requiem concerts on February 23 and 24.
  • Emerald Ensemble performs Autumn Equinox: The Delight Song of Tsoai-Talee in its Songs of Nature concert on July 11.
  • University Unitarian Church commissioned Winter Peace A Lullaby, to be performed Dec. 8 by its mixed chorus and handbell choir.

For information about previous concerts,
visit the Concerts page.

—F E A T U R E D   R E V I E W S—

“...a leading voice in the contemporary choral scene" – Roger Miller, Professor Emeritus, University of Utah, in Program Notes: Collage 2016 for the Utah Chamber Artists.


Music that is " in imagery wrought by imaginative use of harmony and apt, sensitive text-setting. And it’s also just plain gorgeous music that speaks well for this composer’s facility with voices ...”  – Critic David Vernier, in Classics Today.


"Skirvin is a skilled and prolific composer of choral music . . . (he) excels at both expressing the texts in music and at fitting his own musical expression to the rhythm of the poetry. This is done so artfully as to seem almost effortless and inevitable." – Composer and conductor, Karen P. Thomas, from a review of Alchemy in Noteworthy, an online column from Chorus America.


Stars Forever While We Sleep on the Aeonia CD along with I am among them by Eric Banks are both "thoroughly evocative, tonal contemporary offerings beautifully rendered by (The Esoterics) . . . Each work has warmth, beauty and a sort of searchingly poetic quality handled beautifully by the choral ensemble. – Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review,."

"Working on your piece (Winter Circle) was a great experience for me and the singers. It presented good vocal and musical challenges for this age group, all the while being beautiful and captivating—they were always willing to keep working on it!" – Sara Boos, Northwest Girlchoir director, Seattle, WA.