International call for scores

Thank you for your interest. The call for scores has now closed.

Download the call for scores as PDF:


Download the terms and conditions and Instrumentation as PDF

Download Composer’s guideline for Soprano: Elizabeth Atherton as PDF

Download the texts

Karl Marx 200

Karl Marx was born in Trier on 5 May 1818. He became a journalist, editing the Rheinische Zeitung in Cologne, which was prohibited by the Prussian censor. Marx and his wife Jenny were forced to leave the country, and he spent the rest of his life in London as a refugee, without nationality or passport.

He synthesised economic and philosophical thinking and how they determine our whole way of life. He foresaw how inequality of ownership leads inexorably to an inescapable cycle of crises, to globalisation, and to alienation from work. In partnership with Friedrich Engels he wrote the Communist Manifesto, intended to support workers’ movements on an international scale. Enlightening the proletariat about their situation, they felt, would provoke action to gain control over the means of production, finally facilitating truly free work. Karl Marx died in 1883, long before working people anywhere in the world acquired power or states were founded, supposedly, based on his studies.

As a student, Marx published his own poems in a collection entitled Wilde Lieder (wild songs); later, he hardly ever wrote about aesthetics, but generations of artists would engage with how they could contribute to the advance of society. Could music describe his findings? Can it engage with today’s needs?

International Call for Scores

On the bicentenary of his birth, we invite contributions to commemorate Marx’s legacy through music: choose a quote from Marx’s writings to set to music, capture some essence, reflect on his life and work, their consequences, or their future development. Please visit for full details.

Prizes will be awarded in three categories:

Ensemble of up to six instruments (fl, cl/bcl, pi, perc, vl, vcl) with or without soprano or ensemble of up to fourteen instruments (fl, ob, cl/bcl, bsn, hrn, trp, trb, pi, perc, 11111) with or without baritone, maximum duration 12 minutes

Duo of soprano or baritone and one instrument (fl, cl/bcl, trp, perc, vl, vcl), maximum duration 8 minutes

Sound art / radiophonic composition: stereophonic, for broadcast on hr2-kultur (Hessischer Rundfunk – Radio Frankfurt, public service radio) and at public performances and installations, maximum duration 10 minutes.
Download Composer’s guideline for Soprano: Elizabeth Atherton

World premieres will be given on 1 and 2 September 2018 in Trier, and UK premieres in Birmingham.


Prize Ensemble Duo Soundart
1st prize  €4,000 €3,000 €1,000
2nd prize  €3,000 €2,000 €750
3rd prize €2,000 €1,000 €500

Conditions of entry

The jury may at their discretion distribute the prize money otherwise depending on the distribution of submissions; their decision is final and not subject to legal recourse.

Prizewinners must be present at the first performance of their works, and are obliged to supply all the necessary materials for performance in the event of their work being selected no more than seven days after being notified of selection, currently scheduled for the third week in July 2018. By accepting the prize money the artist consents to his/her radiophonic soundart piece being broadcast by hr2–kultur (Hessischer Rundfunk–Radio Frankfurt) in any area and for an unlimited period; the association also retains the right to play the work during its public events without being liable to pay a composer’s fee (performances will be, registered with the respective performing rights societies, e.g. GEMA).

How to enter

Works must be submitted anonymously (identified only by a number corresponding to that on an envelope containing the name, address, telephone number and email address along with a CV and photograph of the composer) and in TRIPLICATE, by postal mail and in digital form, by 29 June 2018, 09.00am (British Summer Time UTC+1) at the latest to:

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
CBSO Centre
Berkley Street
B1 2LF
United Kingdom

Please mark your envelope: Marx Call for Scores

Digital submissions should be sent to: [email protected].


Prof. Julian Anderson Professor of Composition and Composer in Residence, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London

Prof. Carola Bauckholt Professor of Composition with focus on contemporary music theatre, Anton Bruckner Privatuniversität, Linz

Prof. Stefan Fricke Redakteur für Neue Musik/ Klangkunst beim Hessischen Rundfunk (hr2-kultur) in Frankfurt am Main

Prof. Franz Martin Olbrisch Professor of Composition, Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber, Dresden

Celeste Oram New Zealand/ University of California San Diego

Stephan Meier Artistic Director, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Birmingham

Patronage of the Anniversary Exhibition, Trier

Bundespräsident Dr. Frank–Walter Steinmeier


Karl Marx Ausstellungsgesellschaft mbH, Trier
City of Trier
Kammermusikalische Vereinigung Trier
Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Hessischer Rundfunk, Frankfurt


Verein zur Förderung des Jubiläumsprogramms des Karl Marx Jahres in Trier
c/o Rudolf Hahn
Breitfeldstr. 45
D-66346 Püttlingen

Supported by

Kulturstiftung des Bundes, Halle / Berlin
Stiftung Rheinland-Pfalz für Kultur

Terms and Conditions

The jury will be judging anonymously, so please ensure that:

the composer’s name is removed from the score
you check every page to ensure that the composer’s name doesn’t appear, for example as a copyright notice at the bottom of a page
The filenames of uploaded scores must not include the composer’s name
Entries which identify the composer will be disqualified.

The closing date for applications is 29 June 2018 at 09.00am (British Summer Time UTC+1).

Please note that it will not be possible for us to return any materials after submission

Please send 3 copies of the score by post, along with a covering letter which has your name, address, telephone number and email address, to:

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
CBSO Centre
Berkley Street
B1 2LF
United Kingdom

Please mark your envelope: Marx Call for Scores

Digital submissions should be sent to: [email protected]

Instrumentation Options

Up to 14 instruments you may select any 14 instruments from the following:

Clarinet (can double bass clarinet if required)
Strings (up to 2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello, 1 double bass).

Up to 6 instruments you may select any 6 instruments from the following:

Clarinet (can double bass clarinet if required)
1 violin
1 cello.

*Percussion should be written for one player only and written for the following instruments:

Marimba (4.3) Octave A2 – C7
Vibraphone 3 Octaves F3 – F6
Tubular Bells
2 Octave Crotales
4 Timpani
Concert Bass Drum
Concert Tom Toms
Snare Drum
Tenor Drum
Assorted Cymbals
Tam Tam
Miscellaneous Hand-Held Instruments