EU-wide Composition Competition

EU-wide Composition Competition: Re-imagining Old Hispanic musical culture

The University of Bristol, in collaboration with Bristol cathedral choir, Christ Church cathedral choir, and Kokoro Ensemble (the contemporary music ensemble of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra), seeks original compositions of 3-5 minutes length for EITHER a) cathedral choir (with organ if desired), for use in the Anglican liturgy OR b) instruments including some or all of the following: Flute (plus standard doublings), Clarinet (plus standard doublings), Violin, Violoncello, Percussion and Piano, for concert performance. This call is part of the Old Hispanic Office project, funded by the European Research Council. The project focuses on the Old Hispanic liturgy, practised in Iberia until it was largely eradicated and replaced by the Roman liturgy (with its Gregorian chant) in the 1080s. The Old Hispanic melodies are preserved in campo aperto notation which does not indicate pitch or intervallic content; the melodies cannot securely be transcribed or performed nowadays.

In this competition, we invite composers residing in EU countries to recreate something of Old Hispanic chant’s aesthetic, devotional or spiritual world in their own musical language. From December 2014 until August 2015, the Old Hispanic Office project’s researchers will be available via an online forum to engage in discussion about our research with composers. See
24 finalists will have their works workshopped in February 2016 (six compositions will be workshopped by each cathedral choir; twelve compositions by Kokoro Ensemble). Each finalist will be offered assistance with travel, board and lodging to facilitate their participation in the workshop, which will take place in Bristol and Oxford. Three of the finalist spaces will be reserved for students who are registered for a postgraduate degree at the time of the competition deadline.
Six winners will be commissioned to develop their compositional ideas to a completed collection of liturgical music (choir) or single concert work (ensemble) of 15-17 minutes’ duration. One of the commissions will be reserved for a postgraduate student. The texts for the commissioned choral works must be selected in dialogue with the judging panel by 31 March 2016. The compositions must be completed by 1 September 2016. On receipt of the completed work, each of the six winners will receive a commission fee of £3000. Assistance will be available to help with the cost of attending a performance of the music in Bristol in February 2017.

Emma Hornby (Reader in Music, University of Bristol, and Old Hispanic Office project director)
Paul Mealor (Professor of Composition, Aberdeen University)
John Pickard (Professor of Composition, University of Bristol)

For the choral compositions, there will be two consultant adjudicators:
Stephen Darlington (Cathedral Organist and Tutor in Music, Christ Church, Oxford)
Mark Lee (Master of the Choristers & Organist, Bristol Cathedral)

For the instrumental compositions, there will be two consultant adjudicators:
Michael Ellison (Senior Lecturer in Composition, University of Bristol)
Neal Farwell (Senior Lecturer in Composition, University of Bristol)

Rules and logistics:
1. There is no entry fee.
2. Pieces must have been composed specifically for this competition; they may not already have been published before submission to the competition. Each entrant may submit one composition only.
3. Researchers on the Old Hispanic Office Project and their relatives may not enter the competition.
4. The submitted composition must be 3-5 minutes long.
5. There are two strands of the competition: Instrumental and Vocal. All entries must be written for the forces outlined in EITHER a) OR b) below:
a) In the instrumental strand, composers will write for Kokoro Ensemble (Flute (plus standard doublings), Clarinet (plus standard doublings), Violin, Violoncello, Percussion and Piano, or a subset of these instruments);
b) In the vocal strand, composers will write for either Bristol Cathedral Choir or Christ Church Cathedral Choir (Oxford). Submitted entries must be suitable for use within the Anglican liturgy. These choirs comprise trebles, male altos, tenors and basses, and use of cathedral organ to accompany the choir is optional. When writing for the choirs, please bear in mind the challenges for the child trebles of learning complex vocal lines.
6. All submissions must be made to The maximum attachment size must not exceed 20MB. If your file size exceeds that limit, please include a link to a file sharing service such as Dropbox, where the judging panel can access the materials. You should submit:
a) A score in PDF format. For choral compositions, conventional notation is preferred; compositions for Kokoro may use conventional notation, graphic, text, or hybrid scores (with documentation about realisation, where needed). Do NOT attach your name to the score.
b) An accompanying midi file or demo recording is welcome. Do NOT attach your name to the file.
c) A short commentary (200-400 words), explaining how the composition engages with, and has been written in response to, the Old Hispanic Office project research. This commentary may be in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian or Portuguese. Do NOT attach your name to the commentary. Before starting to compose the piece, you are strongly recommended to engage directly with the Old Hispanic Office project team via our discussion forum at
d) Proof of EU citizenship (e.g. photocopy of passport or identity card) or, for non-EU citizens, proof of residency in the EU.
e) Proof of current student status, for those wishing to be considered in the student category.
f) A note of your name, email address and mailing address.
7. Your composition must be received by 15 August 2015.
8. All entrants will be notified of the judging panel’s decisions by September 30, 2015.

15 Aug 2015