Mauricio Kagel Composition Competition

January 22, 2015 in All Opportunities, Composers by newmusicscotland

“…when dealing with the touchy subject of postmodernism, one often encounters an unrealistic longing for a reversible history. One can sense the potential gratification if only we might finally achieve an idyllic pre-modern existence. This ideologically embellished confusion conveys, most candidly, the general sentiment when confronted with the modern period. Such sentiments should serve as our basis for moving forward, because the prevailing arguments for or against the postmodern period miss the point. Understanding the modern period as an important link in a logical, comprehensible process of development, the very essence of “contemporary,” has always been just as important as reflecting on the implications and variants of all forms of novelty…”
Mauricio Kagel

Considering the relative overabundance of piano literature, it would be seemingly foolhardy to stage a composition competition promoting the creation of new pieces for piano. Everything appears to exist already, even pieces for children and young adults. Still, far too frequently it is precisely this contemporary „educational literature“ which proves lacking in artistic qualities; accompanying a reduction in technical difficulty, with an objectionable reduction in the notion of what children and young adults are capable of understanding – both intellectually and emotionally.

We are looking for piano pieces written for children and young adults which, although limited in their technical difficulty, remain uncompromising in their artistic aim; pieces written with a contemporary compositional technique which offer the young student stimulus, insight and new experiences: experiences about oneself and the world in which we live.

With the creation of this competition, the Institute Ludwig van Beethoven would like to ensure that such quality pieces are more prevalent in the future and to this end we invite composers to accept the challenge by enrolling in the competition.

In the course of a week’s time an audience comprised of students, teachers, and performing artists will be given the chance to listen as the jury evaluates the different ways this challenge has been addressed by the composers. The jury will assess not only the artistic quality of the pieces, but also the question: what does a piano student learn from these pieces? And in addition the discussion will cover what makes a piece exciting and what is future-oriented; while at the same time never loosing sight of the technical limits implied when composing for children and young adults.

The decision of the Jury to award the prizes within the course of the Maurico Kagel composition competition is reached, therefore, in a very special way – not behind closed doors, but in open and public discussion. The winning pieces will be technically suitable for children/young adults but will not compromise their artistic aim in order to make a pedagogical impact. Instead, they will be convincing due to their compositional quality.

General Conditions

Conditions for Participation

a) The competition is open to all composers born after August 15th, 1975.
Winners of the 2010 and 2013 editions are no longer eligible to enter.

b) The submitted score will preferably have been composed primarily for this competition.
It must not be older than three years and must not have already been utilized (in particular copied, distributed, performed publicly, broadcasted or made accessible on the internet).

c) Each composer may submit only one entire score, not just in part.

Details of the composition

The score should be for one piano (for one or more pianists), and can include all facets and possibilities of the instrument.

The pieces should be of a level of difficulty suitable for children/young adults and should be practically realizable in piano lessons.

The score is expected to be comprehensible and clear. Performance instructions must be written in German or English.

The piece or group of pieces is expected to have a total length of between 6 and 15 minutes.


a) The participants are to anonymously send an envelope which is to be marked on the outside with a freely chosen five-digit code which does not give any indication to the identity of the participant. The envelope should contain:

1. six copies of the piano score (all anonymous, the composer’s name should not appear on the score), each annotated with the same five-digit code.

2. an additional sealed envelope marked with the same code and containing the composer’s personal data, a short curriculum vitae and two recent photos.

b) All entries must be postmarked no later than August 15th, 2015 and should be addressed to:

Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien
Institut Ludwig van Beethoven
Rennweg 8
1030 Wien