Inaugural Golden Bells International Composition Contest Rules

for Chinese Instruments with Western Orchestra

A call for new works for Dasheng bells with Symphony Orchestra 

The Great Lakes Confucius Institute Arts Festival, in cooperation with the Confucius Institute at Valparaiso University and collaborating faculty in the People’s Republic of China announces a competition for new works for Dasheng bells with western symphony orchestra, with the winners to be performed in Chicago in September of 2020. Two Grand Prizes of $5000 each plus live performance will be offered in two age categories: Open, and 30 years old and younger (as of October 1, 2020). Up to three (total) additional prizes of $1500 will be selected by the judges. 

The bell specifications and hanging layout are available from the competition website. The order and placement of the bells is fixed, as is the number of players – four. The bells are to be played with the traditional hammers and timbers. Like other instruments in the bianzhong family, the Dasheng bells produce two discrete pitches depending on where they are struck. The website also includes a link to a recent concert at the University of Michigan which featured new music being played on the set of bells that will be used for the premieres. 

Available instrumentation: 3+ 2+ 2+ 2 • 4 3 3 1 • timp +2 • harp • strings 12 10 8 6 4 

(single standard woodwind doublings are available: piccolo, English horn, bass clarinet)

The composer may choose to include any of these traditional Chinese instruments: 

dizi, erhu, guzheng, pipa, sheng, or yangqin 

The duration of the work should be four to eight minutes long. 

Deadline for entries is May 1, 2020. A full score plus a separate dasheng bell part should be submitted electronically in pdf format, with title, but no composer’s name. An electronically realized recording is helpful but not required. A cover letter including the title and composer’s name should be submitted at the same time. Composers wishing to be considered in both categories should include a photograph of a government identification document with legal proof of birth date, such as passport or drivers license. Winners will be announced on July 1, and the winning composers will be responsible for providing parts by August 1, 2020. 

The competition reserves the right to first performance for the Grand Prize scores, as well as the right to present potential  subsequent performances internationally. Valparaiso University and its Confucius Institute plan to compile and publish the winning works, and the copyright will be shared by the parties including the University, the Institute, and the composers through consultation.

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