New Music on the Bluff Festival and Composition Competition

Picture of two students playing a violin and a piano.

Loyola Marymount University Music Department's New Music on the Bluff Festival is a composition competition and new music festival for current high school and junior college students, inviting talented young composers from the United States and beyond to submit scores for consideration. Finalists are eligible for an array of opportunities, including a live professional performance of their piece at the festival's culminating concert in Los Angeles, California.

2022 Festival and Composition Competition Details

Festival Dates: Saturday, April 29-30, 2022
Location: Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles

Students currently enrolled in either high school/secondary education or in a two-year undergraduate degree program (junior college or community college) are invited to submit one or more pieces or songs for Loyola Marymount University’s New Music on the Bluff ’22, a new music festival to be held on the LMU campus in Los Angeles on April 29-30, 2022. Applications are due electronically January 31st, 2022, at 11:59 pm Pacific time.

Eight applicants will be selected to have a piece performed in a concert in LMU’s Murphy Recital Hall. The concert will be broadcast live on the internet and on LMU’s radio station, KXLU 88.9 Los Angeles. The finalists’ pieces will be performed by LMU faculty, including potentially Martha Masters (guitar), Wojciech Kocyan (piano), Ken Aiso (violin), Valeria Morgovskaya (piano), Rik Noyce (flute), Marisa De Silva (soprano), and Aaron Smith (percussion). The exact performer lineup will depend on which pieces are selected.

Call for Scores! Submissions due by January 31, 2022 at 11:59pm PST.

APPLY HERE (see below for submission guidance)

Highlights

The eight selected finalists will receive individual private composition lessons with festival faculty. The finalists, as well as all applicants, will be invited to two private master classes 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. Additional activities will include opportunities for participants to get to know one another and exchange ideas about creating music.

The master classes will be conducted by Mu-Xuan Lin, Assistant Professor at Chapman University, and Isaac Schankler, Assistant Professor of Music at Cal Poly Pomona. The individual composition lessons will be given by Mu-Xuan Lin, Isaac Schankler, Mark Saya, Professor of Music at Loyola Marymount University, and David S. Carter, Assistant Professor of Music at Loyola Marymount University.

 

 Headshots of five faculty members

From left to right: Mu-Xuan Lin, Isaac Schankler, David S. Carter, Martha Masters, and Mark Saya.

Submission Guidance

    • Out of the eight finalists, five pieces for live performers will be selected; three pieces for fixed media (two-channel electroacoustic or electronic) will be selected.
    • Pieces for live performers may be scored for any of the following:
      • Violin solo or violin-piano duo.
      • Classical guitar solo.
      • Piano solo or duo (one piano, four hands or two pianos).
      • Soprano solo, soprano-piano duo, or soprano-guitar duo.
      • Flute solo, flute-piano duo, or flute-guitar duo.
      • Percussion solo (see below regarding specific available instruments), percussion-guitar duo, or percussion-piano duo.
    • 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/songs may be in any genre or style.
    • Complete the application form: https://forms.gle/5b5g4TFXfeVmvuC4A
    • 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. Recordings or MIDI renditions of pieces for live performers are encouraged but not required. If you are submitting a piece scored for multiple instruments, please include instrument parts 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 or song 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/songs, but you must complete a separate application form for each piece. With payment of a single $10 application fee, you may submit any number of pieces.
    • The application fee may be paid HERE.
    • Enter your payment receipt number in the Google application form.
    • If the application fee would be a financial hardship for you, e-mail us at newmusiconthebluff@lmu.edu with an explanation, and we can potentially waive the fee.
    • All applicants (whether selected as one of the eight finalists or not) will be invited to attend the two master classes and the session with Martha Masters on writing for guitar. They will also have a 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.
    • The master class led by Mu-Xuan Lin will address works for live instruments. The master class led by Isaac Schankler will address electroacoustic and electronic works or works/songs that otherwise involve music technology.
    • Students currently enrolled in four-year (bachelor’s) or graduate degree programs are not eligible.
    • Submit any questions to newmusiconthebluff@lmu.edu.
  • 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: aaron.smith@lmu.edu 

2021 New Music on the Bluff Festival

2021 Virtual Concert

Finalists

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.