The Pancho Vladigerov House Museum Announces The First International “SYN(es)THESIS” Competition For A Musical Composition, Inspired By A Painting

What is the “SYN(es)THESIS” Composition Competition?

The “SYN(es)THESIS” Competition is a musical contest for the best composition inspired by a pre-selected painting. It is open to participants of any nationality and up to 40 years of age.

The competition is part of the “SYN(es)THESIS” Project. It will be featured at a concert-exhibition scheduled to take place at “Bulgaria” Chamber Hall on July 7, 2021. Out of all submitted works, 6 to 10 will be selected to be performed at the concert. The event will end with a final selection (by the jury) of the 3 winning compositions and a vote for the Special Prize of the Audience.

What is the “SYN(es)THESIS” Project?

In its core, the “SYN(es)THESIS” Project aims to build a bridge between several arts through a multitude of interconnections, mutual influences, and possibilities for synthesis.

The sessions planned for 2021, in particular, will explore – through individual and original creative activities – the potential for interrelation, symbiosis, and juxtaposition of musical and visual perceptions and experiences. They will include two main components, organized in collaboration with the “Prof. P. Vladigerov” National Academy of Music and the National Art Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria: the creation of paintings inspired by classical music and the composition of musical works inspired by paintings.

At the beginning of 2021, as part of the first component, 23 paintings, inspired by original works of eminent Bulgarian composers, were created by leading students at the National Art Academy in Sofia. These paintings will be used as basis for the Composition Competition, which is intended to serve as the primary forum for the second component of the project by way of its invitation to young composers from all over the world to write new music. After the end of the competition, the composed pieces will then be offered again as sources of inspiration for the next group of paintings, leading up to a continuous “dialogue” between the two arts – music and visual art – which are the primary focus of this year’s program.

Rules and regulations:

The competition is open to participants of any nationality up to 40 years of age. In order to ensure their participation, each candidate must first choose (“claim”) a painting from the selected 23 works made by the students at the National Art Academy in Sofia. The candidates must then write a musical composition that is inspired by the painting, has duration between 3 and 10 minutes, and is noted for one or more instruments, in any combination, from the following list: piano, violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, and clarinet.

While it is important that the participants envision the piece to be a certain “response” to the painting that they have selected, it is entirely up to each participant to decide what the connection (or multitude of connections) between the two should be. This understanding of artistic freedom is also one of the core concepts of the project. The initial distribution of paintings will be known to the judges; at the concert of the finalists, each painting will be projected on a screen throughout the performance of the corresponding composition.  

All pieces must be submitted electronically and anonymously, as follows:

1) the scores/parts of the piece must be sent by e-mail as pdf.-files; the files must not include the name of the author or the name of the piece. The score must include, however, the registration number which will be sent to each participant by e-mail.

2) each participant must also send a midi-rendition or a musical recording of the piece (for the purposes of the first round, a midi-rendition would suffice).

In their selection process, the jury will take into consideration the playability of each piece – overuse of extended techniques, exceptional levels of difficulty, and diminished playability might not lead to a favorable decision in some cases. Please, feel free to consult by e-mail with the team of the project if you feel you would need further guidance in this regard. 

Deadline for submissions: May 31, 2021

The jury of the competition will include faculty members of the “Prof. P. Vladigerov” National Academy of Music, as well as respected unaffiliated musicians. By June 7, 2021, the jury will choose 6 to 10 works (the works of the finalists) to be performed at the concert-exhibition scheduled to take place at “Bulgaria” Chamber Hall on July 7, 2021. At the concert, the jury will determine the three winners of the competition (Awards I-III), and a vote for the Special Prize of the Audience will be organized.

All finalists will receive a recording of their work by the performing ensemble of the “SYN(es)THESIS” project. The recordings will then be featured – together with the corresponding paintings – on the “SYN(es)THESIS” Facebook page/web site, on the youtube-channel of the Pancho Vladigerov House Museum, and in other promotional platforms/materials for the project.

Awards:

I Prize – 1000 lv.

II Prize – 600 lv.

III Prize – 400 lv.

Special Prize of the Audience – 500 lv.

Registration procedure:

In order to participate, each candidate must first register by sending an e-mail, as quickly as possible, to museum@vladigerov.org

In a reply message, a link to a Google drive folder containing all 23 paintings will be sent. After reviewing the paintings, each candidate must choose one of them, download the image on their computer, and inform the “SYN(es)THESIS” team of their choice (“claim” the painting). Each painting will be made available to no more than 2 people, after which the corresponding file will be taken down from the folder. This will ensure that as many paintings as possible will receive exposure in the competition.

In addition to the link to all paintings, each participant will receive an individual registration number. This number is meant to ensure the anonymity of the contest and must be included – instead of any names – in the score and in all instrumental parts of the composed piece.

Registration fee: 30 Euro (60 leva, $36 USD)

Instructions regarding the different payment options will once again be sent via e-mail.

Each candidate can “claim” up to two paintings/submit up to two compositions (a separate registration fee will have to be paid for each composition).