Composers Competition 2018

LONDON EAR festival of contemporary music
Composers Competition, 2018

The winners are as follows:

1st Prize –  Andrea Damiano Cotti: Come Un’Isola, Che Sente L’Arcipelago…
(performed by Ensemble ö!)

Joint 2nd Prize – Andrej Makor: Silence
(performed by Tomoko Akasaka (solo viola)

Joint 2nd Prize – Nick Redfern: Swirl
(performed by Uroboros Ensemble)

Joint 3rd Prize – Seongmin Ji: iiiiiiiiisiiiyiiiiiieiit
(performed by For Neo Quartet)

Joint 3rd Prize – Ian Murray: Fulcrum
(performed by Jonathan Powell – solo piano)

Joint 3rd Prize – Marcilio Onofre: Ωscurita Visibile I
(performed by Roberto Fabbriciani – solo flute)

These pieces were all be performed in concerts at London Ear Festival, 2018. See the Programme of Events for details.


The information and conditions for the competition were as follows:

Submissions invited in two categories:

                                                Pieces for ensemble (see below)
                                                Pieces for a solo instrument: flute or viola or piano 

The performers:
                                                Ensemble ö! (Switzerland)
                                                Uroboros Ensemble (UK)
                                                Neo String Quartet (Poland)
                                                Roberto Fabriciani: flute / alto flute
                                                Tomoko Akasaka: viola
                                                Jonathan Powell: piano

Subject to the judges decision:

Each of the above six ensembles or soloists will perform one piece at
London Ear 2018: March 21-25

Prizes for the six finalists will be awarded as follows:

1st Prize for the overall best piece (from either category) £1000

Publication by Verlag Neue Musik, Berlin

Recording for download release on the Sargasso label*

 Two 2nd Prizes
(one in each category)
£400 each
Three 3rd Prizes
(for the remaining 3 works)
£200 each

Instrumentation details:

Ensemble pieces may be for any three or more of the instruments in either one of the two mixed ensembles, but not combining players from different ensembles:

Ensemble ö!: flute/pioccolo/alto flute; clarinet (Bb)/bass clarinet; violin; viola, ‘cello; piano.

Uroboros Ensemble: flute/piccolo/alto flute, clarinet (Bb)/bass clarinet; oboe/cor anglais; harp; percussion (1 player): marimba and any small, common, hand-held percussion instruments (e.g. triangle, maracas, claves etc – if in doubt email for clarification).

Note: An error stated that violin, cello and piano are also available for Uroboros Ensemble, which is not the case.  Anyone who has already written a piece for this ensemble which includes those instruments should get in touch with the festival office before submitting.

Neo Quartet: only pieces for the full string quartet (vn1, vn2, va, vc) may be submitted.

Works for piano (solo or ensemble) should not be for ‘prepared’ piano. However, pieces requiring touching the strings, or using a plectrum, e-bow, etc are acceptable.

Submitted works must not involve electronics.

The competition is in two stages:

Stage 1: The judges will select six pieces: one piece for each of the above ensembles or performers, to be included in their concerts at London Ear 2018. (See also condition 11 below)

Stage 2: After the final concert on March 25th the jury will decide upon and announce the order of the winning works.

* The performances will be recorded, as the 1st prize winning work may be released as a download on the Sargasso label (subject to agreement by all parties: composer, performers, and Sargasso).

The members of the jury for the first round are:

Andrea Cavallari
Sam Hayden
Andrew Kurowski

Composers Competition Submission Form 2018

* * * *

The conditions for submission are as follows:

  • All submissions must be received by 13th January, 2018.  The six finalist will be notified by January 31st and all performing material must be received by February 18th.
  • There is no age limit; however, submitting composers should not have had more than eight fully professional performances of their music within the last year. [Note: “Fully professional performances” are those in which all the performers are regular professional performers (not teachers etc.), and are being paid a full fee for the performance, in a public context, with a royalty payable to the composer.  Many concerts in universities and colleges are therefore not fully professional in this sense.]
  • Submitted pieces should not exceed 10 minutes duration. The duration of the work and the year of composition should be written on the score.
  • The submitted work must not have had a professional performance (but see note 2 above).
  • No published works may be submitted (except for pieces published by small independent publishers which represent no more than ten composers, or non-commercial, archival publishers such as composers’ guilds and national music information centres).
  • There is no limit on the number of works a composer may submit. However, each piece must be accompanied by a separate submission form and fee (see below).
  • The composer’s real name must not appear on the score, and will not be seen by the jury until after the selection of the finalists has been made. It should be replaced by a pseudonym which must also be given on the accompanying submission form.
  • All submissions should be emailed in pdf format. Submission Forms and other accompanying documents must be emailed along with the scores (also as pdf files). If this is impossible then three paper copies of the score (preferably A4), along with the submission form and payment information may be posted to the address below.  Posted scores will not be returned, however, they may be collected from the festival club during the festival period.
  • Composers may, if they wish, email a link to an online performance of the submitted work, or if scores are posted, a CD recording may be included: 3 copies. The composer’s real name must not be visible. (Midi recordings are also acceptable). DO NOT EMAIL recordings larger than 10mb.
  • Composers are invited to send a pdf document of their musical background and experience, but this information is not obligatory and will not influence the jury’s decision, as it will not be read until after the stage1 decision is made. It may therefore include the composer’s real name.
  • The jury’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding that decision. If the judges consider that there are no suitable pieces for any particular performer/group then there will not be a work by a competitor in that concert.  The jury reserve the right not award any of the prizes if they consider that no submitted works meet the required standard.
  • Submissions must be accompanied by a submission fee, in GB Pounds, as follows:£35 for one piece; £25 for each additional piece. Students or unemployed: £25 for one piece; £15 for each additional piece. A copy of documentation proving status as student or unemployed must be emailed with the score.

Composers who feel exceptional financial circumstances warrant special consideration should email the office (see below) to ask if they may be eligible to pay a reduced fee.  The email should include a verifiable statement made by a suitable person (professor, doctor, lawyer, etc, whose email address must be included) confirming the special circumstances.  (On the issue of fees please see the note at the end of the competition information.)

When a composer is submitting more than one piece the fees should be added together in a single payment.

There are three possible methods of payment:


NATWEST BANK,  PO Box 239, 778 Fishponds Road, Bristol BS99 5AX, UK.
Swift (BIC) Code: NWBK GB 2L,    UK Branch sort code: 60-08-24,
Account name: Uroboros Ensemble,    Account number: 59343133,
GB26 NWBK 600824 59343133

Please give your real name as a reference, and please see that you have paid any bank transfer charges that may be applied. Documentation showing the details of the payment must be emailed with the score and submission form.  This might be a scan of the transfer document, or a print-out of the transfer information (sender’s name, account number, date of transfer and reference number if available)

2) PAYPAL to:  If you use the button below, in the ‘Description’ box  please write the number of pieces being submitted (e.g. ‘2 submissions’), and put the total amount you are paying in ‘Price per item’ box. You cannot edit the number in ‘Quantity’ box.


3) A PERSONAL UK CHEQUE or INTERNATIONAL BANK DRAFT made payable to “Uroboros Ensemble Ltd” may be posted to the address below. The composer’s name and pseudonym must be written on the back of the cheque or included in an accompanying letter.

* * * *

Scores, Submission Forms, payment information and any other documents should be emailed, as pdf files, to

Or, if emailing is impossible, 3 copies of the score may be posted to:

The London Ear Festival Competition Secretary
c/o Uroboros Ensemble
2 Sandfields Farm Cottage
Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 9SW
Great Britain

Posted scores will not be returned unless sufficient money is added to the submission fee to cover the return postage.  However, they may be collected from the Festival Club during the festival period, and from the festival office at the above address until the end of July 2018.

* * * *

There is much debate about the ethical acceptability of charging submission fees for composers’ competitions. London Ear would very much like to be in a position to offer competitors free submission (and hopes to be able to do so in the future), but in the present economic circumstances it would be impossible to hold the competition without asking a fee. It must be stressed that all the income from fees is consumed by matters directly related to the competition: players’ fees, venue hire, publicity, administration, and of course the prize money. Additional funds will also need to be injected into the competition from other sources to cover all these costs.  All members of the jury participate without a fee.