Commissions for Lucerne Festival Forward

Commissions for Lucerne Festival Forward

The Lucerne Festival is pleased to announce an International Call for Commissions as part of the inaugural Forward Festival, which will take place on 19-21 November 2021. The call will select 5-6 new chamber works conceived to be performed on 21 November 2021 by members of the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra in the Concert Hall of the Culture and Convention Center Luzern (KKL), alongside Michael Pisaro’s open score Ricefall, which will see a collaboration between groups of musicians and members of the community. 

The Forward Festival re-imagines how contemporary music can be brought into contact with audience members, from the process of curation to the final presentation. For the 2021 Festival, programming will explore connections in various “Networks” that are important to the Lucerne Festival (for example, between alumni of the festival around the world, between performers and the audience within a variety of spaces, and between the festival and the surrounding community). Composers are encouraged to submit proposals that respond to this theme.

Pisaro’s Ricefall is inspired by the deep and expanded acoustic perception of a blind listener, and will be performed both on the stage and from different corners of Concert Hall, exploiting its full acoustic potential [see Pisaro’s introduction to “ricefall” here]. This work was chosen to involve members of the community and to highlight the Concert Hall’s role as a vibrant and interconnected acoustic sphere. Applicants to the Call for Scores are invited to propose works that creatively utilize the space of the Concert Hall to create new performance networks and acoustic experiences. A floor plan of the Concert Hall is attached, and composers are encouraged to specify which areas would be the best fit for their pieces. Our dramaturgical planning of this concert will consider elements of spacing, pacing, and silence to create a performance that explores communication between performers and audience and utilizes the full acoustic potential of the space.

We encourage composers of any age, nationality and aesthetic orientation to apply. Selected composers will receive a commission fee of CHF 3000.- gross. This lump sum is inclusive of the commissioning fee, the hiring fee for material as well as a stipend to participate in a webinar to discuss their works and promote the concert. 

The submission deadline is 23:59 Central European Summer Time (UTC+2), 31st July 2021.
A jury consisting of members of the Lucerne Festival and members of the Ensemble of Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra will select up to 5-6 composers, who will be commissioned to create new works for the Ensemble.

Applications will be reviewed based on the quality of previous works submitted, the clarity and feasibility of the proposed new work, and the possibilities of integrating the proposed work into a cohesive program of premieres in Lucerne. The panel will also work to include composers whose national, ethnic, and gender identities have been traditionally underrepresented at European classical music festivals.
The following outlines a number of specifics describing the commissioned work to be featured at the International Call for Commissions concert of the Festival:
  1. The new commissioned work should be scored for any combination – including solos, duos, etc. – of the following individual instruments:
  1. For woodwind instruments, there is the possibility of composing for their corresponding auxiliary instruments.
  2. Theatrical / visual components, improvisatory elements, graphic scores as well as open / variable instrumentation are possible. Use of electronic sound (pre-recorded or live manipulation and any amplification) is not possible.
  3. The work should last between 5 and 10 minutes.
  4. The work should be conceived to be ready for performance with a maximum of 6 hours of rehearsal.
  5. Works should be performable without a conductor wherever possible, although one is available on request.
  6. Existing compositions are not eligible, as this Call looks for works conceived specifically for this space and occasion.
  7. Information on the Concert Hall of the KKL Lucerne can be found here and on the stageplan.
  8. Remark for positioning musicians in the Concert Hall: The audience will be seated at the parquet only. Position around the audience at the aisles of the parquet or at the several balconies and the using the echo chambers as well are possible.

31 July:                submission deadline (23:59 CET (UTC+2))
16 Aug:                announcement of selected composers
18 Oct:                 submission of all materials for commissioned pieces
15 - 20 Nov:         rehearsal of commissioned pieces
21 Nov:                premiere by Ensemble of the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra

For any further inquiries, please contact Felix Heri (Director, Lucerne Festival Contemporary) via
The closing date for applications is 31.07.2021.
open application form