Following last year's international success our Composition Competition is back for its 5th year!
Inspired by Zuzana Ruzickova, one of the leading harpsichordists of the 20th century, we continue to champion new music for period instruments.
We're honoured to name our competition in her memory and would like to encourage you to read more about Zuzana here.
This year we are looking for
Option 1 – a sonata for baroque violin and harpsichord of between 7-10 minutes duration
Option 2 – a sonata for 2 baroque violins and harpsichord of between 7-10 minutes duration (please see full competition rules below).
While sonatas are typically written in 2-4 movements, your piece may be in as many, or as few movements as you wish. It is completely up to you!
Up to 5 winning compositions will be selected by the jury and announced on 1st June 2024.
Viktor Kalabis Prize – Up to 5 successful works will be recorded and released on a digital album with FHR label this Autumn and a promotional video will be filmed by director Simon Helbling and his crew.
Prima la musica Prize - 5 winning compositions will be published by one of the UK's foremost early music publishers Prima la musica!
Winning compositions will be promoted throughout 2024/2025 by Ada Witczyk* across all social media platforms.
1 Feb 2024
No fee, no age limit and open to all nationalities, we threw out the rule book and gave composers just 3 months to compose their new piece in any style they pleased for baroque instruments.
30 April 2024
SUBMISSION PERIOD CLOSES
Stay tuned to find out more about this year's submissions
RECORDING WINNING PIECES
Recording chosen Viktor Kalabis Prize pieces.
Stay tuned for the album release!
Competitions don't just grow on trees
Recording space, musicians, film crews and equipment are all expensive and we are hugely grateful to everyone who has helped support our work last year.
With your help we can create something really special ONCE AGAIN!
Baroque instruments are capable of unlimited nuance. Their tone, colour, depth of sound and expressive possibilities are entirely different from their modern counterparts.
While there is a wealth of fantastic repertoire, why should such expressive instruments be limited to bring only 'ancient' music to life? Period instruments offers an as yet untapped opportunity for contemporary composition and this competition seeks to change that!
BEWARE of simply writing with modern instruments in mind. Without considering what works and what doesn’t on baroque instruments (with gut strings and baroque bows) it will be difficult to write a successful piece.
What's different this year?
This year we’ve committed to not only record winning compositions in an exciting way but we will be releasing it on all digital platforms as an album for the very first time!
Jury members that will pick up to 5 winning compositions:
Ada Witczyk - please see about to find out more
Simon Standage is well known as a violinist specialising in 17th and 18th-century music. Leader and soloist with The English Concert from its foundation until 1990, he also fulfilled the same role for many years with the City of London Sinfonia. As well as the many records he made with The English Concert (including Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, nominated for a Grammy award), he also recorded solo and chamber music, including all of Mozart's violin concertos with the Academy of Ancient Music, of which he was, with Christopher Hogwood, Associate Director from 1991 to 1995.
Since his founding, with Richard Hickox, of Collegium Musicum 90, he has made numerous recordings for Chandos Records. As soloist and director of chamber orchestras and chamber musician, he is active both in Britain and abroad. He is leader of the Salomon String Quartet (founded by him in 1981), which specialises in historical performance of the Classical repertoire. He is Professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest and teaches at summer courses in Europe.
He received a medal for services to Polish culture in 2008, was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music in 2009, and in 2010 received the Georg Philipp Telemann Prize from the city of Magdeburg.
Nicholas Hardisty is a London-based musician who leads a complicated career in all sorts of musical pursuits. Having written his postgraduate thesis on the music of Max Bruch, working in musical outreach and giving pre-concert talks with renowned international artists, he now divides his time running music festivals in the Lake District and as much playing and conducting as possible.
1. Submit a 7-10 minute long composition for the following baroque instrumentation and 1 option ONLY:
- option 1: baroque violin + harpsichord
- option 2: baroque violin + baroque violin + harpsichord
2. The work should be performable at A=415Hz
3. Scores and individual parts should be submitted in standard western notation and should not make use of graphical notation. Parts and scores must be legible. As the compositions will be judged anonymously, composer names and signatures must be kept off the score. Details about the composer’s identity (name, date of birth, email, short biography) should be included in a separate WORD document attached to the submission email.
4. Compositions should be submitted as PDF files with sound files produced by your notation software
5. The work should be performable live with only the instruments specified above (e.g. no electronic effects)
6. Submitted pieces must be original works which have not been submitted to other competitions or have previously been recorded or performed
7. Only one entry per Entrant will be accepted.
8. Entrants must warrant that their entries are original, entirely their own work and do not infringe copyright or other third party rights. The RCC reserves the right to contact Entrants to verify this.
9. There is NO registration fee
10. There is NO age limit and the competition is open to all nationalities
11. Scores to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
12. Deadline for submitting entries: 30th April 2024 (midnight BST)
13. Announcement of winners selected by the Jury: 1st June 2024 on Instagram profile @adawitczyk
How to enter?
1. Register your interest here by entering your details below
2. Submit a score and individual parts by sending it to email@example.com before the deadline
Please do not hesitate to contact us and ask any questions.
1. DO WE HAVE TO WRITE IN A BAROQUE STYLE?
No, we give composers complete stylistic freedom.
2. MY NOTATION SOFTWARE CAN’T CHANGE MY MUSIC TO A=415HZ, IS IT OK TO SEND THE MP3 IN A=440HZ?
Yes, that’s fine.
3. HOW SHOULD I WRITE FOR A HARPSICHORD?
Either figured bass or a written out part will be fine, for a single-manual harpsichord with a range of 2 octaves up and down from middle C
The spec is 2 eight foot registers
4. It’s the first time I’m writing for period instruments, can you share a few tips, or a starting point?
a) please visit our YouTube channel and listen to the previous competition winning pieces from years 2020-24 and see how various composers used the possibilities given by gut strings to their advantage
b) watch this on the baroque violin and bow and visit here or here for more
c) learn more about harpsichord
5. What is it that the jury is looking for?
In a way, we’re after thought-through pieces that will highlight the qualities of baroque instruments, not modern ones. At the end of the day, this is the whole point of this competition!
* Copyright in the work(s) will remain with the composer(s) but Ada Witczyk will have a perpetual licence to use the work(s) herself for any purpose.