Call for Commissions: Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra and Mizmorim Kammermusik Festival 2024

Call for Commissions
Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra (LFCO) and
Mizmorim Kammermusik Festival 2024

Lucerne Festival and the Mizmorim Kammermusik Festival are pleased to announce an international call for commissions as part of the 10th annual Mizmorim Festival, which will take place between January 25th and 31st, 2024 in Basel. The selected composer will be commissioned to write a new work. The premiere of this work will take place on Thursday, January 25th 2024 by members of the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra (LFCO) in the Musiksaal at the Stadtcasino Basel.
The programme of the concert will focus on Psalms and it will be directed by Baldur Brönnimann.
We encourage composers of any age, nationality, and aesthetic orientation to apply. The selected composer will receive a commission fee of CHF 7’500.00 gross, which is inclusive of the hiring fee for material. We will also provide the selected composer with travel and accommodation to attend the Mizmorim Kammermusik Festival from 23 to 25 January, 2024. Composers who are not available to attend the festival may still apply. 

Established and founded in 2015 by Michal Lewkowicz, the Mizmorim Kammermusik Festival is a multi-day classical chamber music event celebrating the diverse encounters between Jewish music and Western art music. Every year in January, renowned artists from Switzerland and all over the world come together in Basel to present works from different epochs on a specific topic. The programs and artists take the audience on a varied journey, discovering unknown works and new perspectives on the classics. Due to its unique concept, the Mizmorim Chamber Music Festival has gained a special place in the Swiss cultural calendar. The Festival owes its name to one of the first manifestations of music, the biblical Psalms, in Hebrew Mizmorim.

The book of Psalms which is a part of the Hebrew Bible is composed of sacred songs, or of sacred poems meant to be sung.
In the original Hebrew text the book as a whole was not named, although the titles of many individual psalms begin with the word mizmor, meaning a poem sung to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument. The book of Psalms contains 150 chapters which are central to the Jewish prayer and the inspiration for countless forms of creative expression in Western culture especially in music.

For the opening concert of the 10th Mizmorim Festival, the work Tehillim for four female voices and ensemble (1981) by Steve Reich will be performed. The title Tehillim is a synonym for the book of Psalms. Reich sets biblical Psalms to music and deals with verses of four different Psalms throughout the work. Tehillim is one of Reich’s earliest efforts to explore his Jewish roots through music. This work points to his interest in traditional singing of Psalms, though he does not base any melody on Jewish psalmody.  

We seek a new commissioned work that will fill the role within the program and present a mirror to Reich’s Tehillim using the same ensemble and the theme of Psalm as a basis for the composition. The work should, however, be independent from Reich’s Tehillim and should not be understood as a homage or a reflection to Reich.

The application deadline is: 5th December, 2022 (23:59 CET, Swiss time)

A jury consisting of members of the Lucerne Festival and the Mizmorim Kammermusik Festival will select one composer who will be commissioned to create a new work 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 concept of using Psalms as a basis for the composition. The panel encourages applications from composers whose national, ethnic, and gender identities have been traditionally underrepresented at European art music festivals.

The new commissioned work should last approximately 10 minutes and be scored for the following individual instruments:

4 Female voices (high Sopran, 2 lyrical sopranos und alto)
1 Flute
1 Piccolo
1 Oboe
1 English Horn
2 Clarinets
6 Percussion (Maracas, Clapping, Marina, Vibraphone, Crotales, Tunes tambourines - without jingles) 
2 Electric organs (or Synthesizer)
4 Violins
2 Viola
2 Cello
1 Double bass

Further information:
•    Electronics: No live electronics.
•    The work should be performed with a conductor.
•    Existing compositions are not eligible, as this call looks for works conceived specifically for this space and occasion.

2 Nov 2022:     Call announced
5 Dec 2022:     Submission deadline
20 Jan 2023:    Announcement of selected composer
1 Nov 2023:     Submission of performing material for commissioned piece
22-24 Jan 2024:     Rehearsal period
25 Jan 2024:    Premiere of the new work by the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra (LFCO) at the Mizmorim Kammermusik Festival

•    CV
•    Recordings and scores of two previous works
•    Short written proposal - max. 1 page

Please upload the recordings of your work and the scores (as PDF) online.

Further, send one printed copy to the following address:

Lucerne Festival Contemporary
Hirschmattstrasse 13
CH-6002 Luzern

Important: The printed scores have to be delivered until Monday, 5th December, 2022 at the latest!
Later entries of scores are not accepted and cannot be considered.
For any further inquiries, please contact Felix Heri (Director, Lucerne Festival Contemporary) via
The closing date for applications is 05.12.2022.
open application form