New Music on the Bluff Festival

Picture of two students playing a violin and a piano.

2022 Festival Details

Festival Date: Saturday, April 30, 2022
Location: Loyola Marymount University
The call for music for the 2022 festival will be posted here soon.

2021 Festival Details

The eight selected finalists will also receive individual private composition lessons with festival faculty. The finalists, as well as all applicants, will be invited to two private master classes on Zoom with festival faculty, where faculty will review and discuss selected student pieces, as well as a one-hour session with faculty guitarist Martha Masters discussing writing for guitar.

The master classes will be conducted by Eric Nathan, Assistant Professor of Music at Brown University, and Nina C. Young, Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Southern California. The individual composition lessons will be given by Eric Nathan, Nina C. Young, David S. Carter, Assistant Professor of Music at Loyola Marymount University, and Tomás Gueglio, Lecturer at Northwestern University.


Banner showing faculty participating in the New Music on the Bluff Festival '21.

From left to right: David S. Carter, Eric Nathan, Martha Masters, Nina C. Young, Tomás Gueglio

2021 Finalists and Concert Pieces

The eight finalists in our first ever composition festival will have their works performed by members of the LMU faculty. Join us to hear music composed by these talented young artists!

The finalists are:

Seamus Michael Byrne, Orange County School of the Arts, Santa Ana, California: Idle for guitar, performed by Martha Masters.

Chloe Elise Garcia Villamayor, The Buckley School, Sherman Oaks, California: Sh-outs for soprano and delay pedal, performed by Marisa De Silva.

Madeline Clara Cheng, Mountain View High School, Mountain View, California: Words Are Last to Fall Asleep for flute, performed by Sara Andon.

Holden Mui, Naperville North High School, Naperville, Illinois: Two Experiments for piano and fixed media, performed by Wojciech Kocyan.

Dmitri Volkov, Ridgefield High School, Ridgefield, Connecticut: Clouds for piano, performed by Robert Fleitz.

Noah Godard, Moorpark High School, Moorpark, California: Among the Pines for violin, performed by Ken Aiso.

Ziyi Tao, Special Music School, New York, New York: Die Gestalt for violin, performed by Ken Aiso.

Adah Kaplan, Germantown Academy, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania: Inspiration for Prayer for violin and piano, performed by Ken Aiso and Valeria Morgovskaya.

Call for Scores

This new music composition festival invites students currently enrolled in either high school/secondary education or in a two-year undergraduate degree program to submit one or more original scores for consideration and performance in the festival, to be held in the spring. Pieces are not limited by genre or style. *2021 festival will be virtual.

Eight finalists will be selected to have a piece performed by LMU’s world-renowned music faculty in a live online concert April 17th. The concert will be broadcast both online and on LMU’s radio station, KXLU (Los Angeles). Finalists will have an opportunity to meet online with their performer(s) on a day prior to the performance to give and receive feedback.

Apply Here by January 31 (see below for application guidance)

    • Out of the eight finalists, five pieces for live performers will be selected; three pieces for fixed media (electroacoustic or electronic) will be selected.
    • Pieces for live performers may be scored for any of the following:
      • Violin and piano.
      • Classical guitar solo.
      • Piano solo.
      • Violin solo.
      • Soprano solo.
      • Flute solo.
      • Percussion solo (see below regarding specific available instruments).
    • Pieces should be between three and 10 minutes long.
    • Pieces for live performers may include an electroacoustic/electronic element if the setup for the performer is relatively simple.
    • Pieces are not limited by genre or style.
    • Complete the application form:
    • If your piece is for live performers, the application form will ask you to either provide a link to your score or e-mail it and, optionally, provide a link to a recording or MIDI rendition of it. If you are submitting a piece for violin and piano, please include a copy of the violin part in the same PDF as your score. Make sure that any links you provide will remain available to the judges for the duration of the judging period.
    • If your piece is for fixed media (electroacoustic or electronic), the application form will ask you to provide a link to the audio.
    • You may submit any number of pieces, but you must complete a separate application form for each piece. There is no application fee.
    • All eligible applicants (whether selected as one of the eight finalists or not) will be invited to attend the two private master classes on Zoom and the session with Martha Masters on writing for guitar. They will also have a Zoom meet & greet with David S. Carter and other LMU faculty. Members of this larger group of participants will have the opportunity to submit questions for the master class faculty and Martha Masters in a Q&A.
    • The master class led by Eric Nathan will address works for live instruments. The master class led by Nina C. Young will address electroacoustic and electronic works or works that otherwise involve music technology.
    • Students currently enrolled in four-year (bachelor’s) or graduate degree programs are not eligible.
    • Submit any questions to
  • Applicants submitting a piece for solo percussion may write for solo vibraphone, solo timpani (4 drums, with pedals: 32”, 29”, 26”, 23”), or multiple percussion with no more than 8 of the following instruments (include setup map):

    • Bongos
    • Conga
    • Snare drum
    • Piccolo snare drum
    • Toms (no more than 4)
    • Pedal bass drum
    • Small bass drum
    • Temple blocks
    • Wood blocks (no more than 3)
    • Log drums (no more than 2)
    • Triangle
    • Small to medium tam-tam (no more than 2)
    • Suspended cymbals (no more than 2)
    • China-type cymbal
    • Cowbells (no more than 2)
    • Bell plates (no more than 2)
    • Glockenspiel
    • 1 or 2 small, hand-held instruments (e.g., claves, shaker, etc.)

    If you have questions about other possible instruments, contact Aaron Smith: