PHŒNIX SATELLITE: Biennial Composition Competition 2022/2023

Ensemble Phoenix Basel invites to a workshop for composers. The workshop will take place in 3 modules between January and October 2023.

Together with the ensemble and an external coach, an internationally renowned composer, new works will be created in those workshops, which – as “satellites” – circle around a central work of the 20th or 21st century, which will be performed in the following season of EPhB referring to it or commenting it. For season 2023/24 EPhB choose “Octandre” for this puropse, one of the major works by Edgar Varèse.

The coach of this “Trabant” project is the German composer Detlev Müller-Siemens (Professor of Composition in Vienna), an outstanding Varèse expert and most experienced pedagogue. He will assist the EPhB in the selection of participants and as a coach during modules 2 and 3.

After the third module, two composers will be selected by EPhB and the coach. To those two winners will be given the opportunity to write an ensemble work, which will be performed in season 23/24 in a “Trabant Concert” along with Varèse’s “Octandre”.

Realized with the generous support of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia 

This announcement is addressed to composers and music creators,

  • who are up to 35 years old and whose academic degree was completed no more than five years ago.
  • or who are without an academic degree and whose first publication does not date back more than five years at the time of submission.

The dossier to be submitted should include:

  • Biography/CV
  • Scores of representative works for ensemble
  • Project description and/or sketches of a planned composition in reference to Edgar Varèses’s “Octandre”.

Module 1: Saturday 14th of January 2023

  • The selected composers will meet with EPhB musicians to try out sketches/ideas and get individual instrument-specific tips.
  • The instrumentation of the whole workshop is the one of Varèse’s “Octandre”: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, double bass.
  • The work in this first  module takes place in a 1:1 situation (1 musician meets 1 composer).
  • There have to to be no finished pieces yet.
  • Time frame 1 day

Module  2: Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th of Juni 2023

  • Readings of pieces, sketches in the presence of the coach
  • Time and space for critique between “tear-down and motivation” by the ensemble and the coach
  • Time frame 2 days

Module 3: Monday till Wednesday 4th of Oktober 2023

  • EPhB rehearses the pieces for a studio performance without external audience
  • Not all pieces have to be performed, the space for trial and error and possible failure should be preserved.
  • Recording of all the played pieces
  • Time frame: 3 days

After modules 1-3, two selected composers will be commissioned for the 2023/24 season of EPhB to compose a full work that refers to Varèse’s “Octandre” and is also written for the same instrumentation. These two compositions will be included as  commissions in the EPhB’s concert series.

  • Instrumentation: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, double bass (all wind players play the common side instruments)
    Duration: approx. 15 minutes

Financial conditions for modules 1-3:

  • EPhB covers travel expenses up to a maximum of Sfr. 300.- per module.
  • EPhB books a hotel if necessary and covers accommodation costs.
  • EPhB covers the costs for a professional recording (of the internal final concert in module 3), which will be given to all participants for free disposal.
  • Deadline for the submission:
    December 1th 2022
  • Submission address:
    Jürg Henneberger
    Friedhofgasse 10
    CH-4057 Basel
  • Jury:
    Detlev Müller-Siemens, Jürg Henneberger und Christoph Bösch