Call for scores: Compositions of the Ensemble Modern

Selected composers will each receive a commission to compose a work to be premiered by Ensemble Modern on May 31, 2023 in Cologne, Germany, with another performance scheduled for South Africa in November or December 2023.


The composers/works must be related in some way to Africa and/or African musical traditions.

To be eligible for selection, composers must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Be a citizen or resident of a country in Africa South of the Sahara (i.e. all African countries and adjacent island nations are eligible except Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco).
  • Propose a work that has a concrete and tangible link with African musical traditions and/or responds in a notable way to African musical theories or practices.
  • Project proposals should explain how one or both of these criteria are met.

Note: There are no other prerequisites or eligibility limitations. There are no submission fees.

Instrumentation and notation

  • Modern Ensemble: 1 flute, 1 oboe, 1 clarinet, 1 bassoon, 1 horn, 1 trumpet, 1 trombone, 2 pianos/keyboards, 2 percussion, 2 violins, 1 viola, 2 cellos, 1 double bass, 1 sound designer/engineer.
  • Submissions not using the full set are expressly encouraged.
  • Notations may be unconventional, but pieces should be achievable within the modest rehearsal time (approximately 3-4 days for the full program).
  • Live electronics and/or African musical instruments, played by the composer or others, may be included, in which case the proposal should explain how these additional forces will be funded and executed.


  • The deadline for proposals is September 23, 2022 (11:59 p.m. CET).
  • Selected composers will be notified on October 3.
  • Confirmation of participation of composers and order contract before October 10.
  • Works due (complete scores and parts as PDF files): March 31, 2023.
  • Rehearsals: end of May 2023 in Frankfurt and/or Cologne, Germany.
  • Premiere: May 31, 2023 in Cologne.
  • Rehearsal scheduled for late November or early December 2023 in South Africa.

Proposal details

Project proposals can be submitted in English, German, French or Portuguese and must include:

  • Scores, recordings (not required to be professional quality, MIDI demos acceptable) and program notes of two existing works by the composer of some relevance to the proposed project (concept, instrumentation, etc.).
  • Biography of the composer (maximum 500 words).
  • Description of the proposed compositional project, including conceptual/aesthetic and practical considerations (approximately one page). This can be supplemented with lists, diagrams or score fragments, if desired.

Interested composers should submit their proposals by email to [email protected] before September 23.

Recordings must be posted online (on SoundCloud, Vimeo, or any other location for which a link can be provided) and the recordings’ inks must be included in the proposal submission.

Recordings must not be password protected and must remain accessible online until at least December 31, 2022.

Selection process

The selection will be made by a jury composed of at least one representative of the Festival and the Ensemble Modern d’Oluzayo, and one or two outside experts. The decisions of the jury are final and cannot be challenged.

Concerts and background

The concert will open the Oluzayo African Music Futures Festival – a unique festival in the orbit of the European Conference on African Studies, organized by the University of Cologne. The event will be organized by Thomas Glässer, Joseph Kamaru, Lukas Ligeti, Nonku Phiri and Ignacio Priego.

“We are looking for proposals for works for chamber ensembles of up to 18 musicians (small ensembles are encouraged) lasting approximately 10-20 minutes (exceptions possible),” NewMusicSA said.

View original call here.

About Madeline J. Carter

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