Main Category




The purpose of this call is to encourage composers to find creative new ways to convey scientific ideas through their music. Participants are invited to submit new pieces for piano trio (pno, vln, vc) with a duration between 5’ and 15’ minutes, with or without electronics. The pieces have to be inspired on any of the concepts, data or audiovisual material (images, animations, graphs) available online at Selected composers will be invited to attend the final concert in Vienna, where the jury will make its final decision. The winner of the MAIN Prize will be awarded with €4000. Applications must be submitted no later than March 15th, 2018.


1. Terms of application


1.1 Who can apply?


- composers of every age and nationality


1.2 Possible instrumentations


You can submit works for any combination of the following instruments (preferably the whole setup), with or without electronics: violin, violoncello, piano. No transcriptions or arrangements (except arrangements of the composer's own works) will be eligible.


NOTE: For any works involving additional media (electronics, video, special staging, etc.), please include any relevant technical information. Bear in mind that your piece needs to be realizable to be eligible. If you have any questions concerning equipment availability or other aspects, don’t hesitate to email us at


1.3 Application material


1) Complete the online application form ( Applicants may submit up to 2 works to the MAIN category, regardless of their submissions to the other two categories (MDW and Call4Sounds).


2) Submit a short program note about the work (max. 1 page A4, in English) where you explain the connection between your composition and any the materials (image, idea, animation, concept, dataset etc.) available at that inspired you. The relevance of this connection will be, together with the quality of the music submitted, the primary evaluation criterion. It is therefore in the applicant’s best interest that the concept is clear, accurate, and related to one of the seven research projects (Nano carbon-metal hybrids, Nucleation, Polymers, 2D-Materials, Metallic glass, Ferroic Materials, Diffusion) presented on the website. Incomplete or vague applications will NOT be considered.


3) Submit the score as a .pdf file, using the online application form. The works need to follow the following restrictions:


  • Duration should be between 5’ and 15’ minutes

  • Works should be new (never published or publicly performed at the moment of submission)

  • If the pieces involve some kind of electronics (fixed media, live electronics) the  corresponding audio files / patches have to be submitted as well.

  • The score, if hand written, should be scanned and submitted as a .pdf file.

  • Ancillary material (performance notes, etc.) must also be submitted as .pdf.


4) Additional audio/video recordings of the submitted work —if available— are also welcome, since that may support your concept/piece. These recordings are nevertheless not a requirement for application.


All materials should be submitted electronically. If unable to submit a digital application via the provided online form, please send us all application materials via e-mail with the SUBJECT: ‘MAIN’. You are strongly encouraged to use Dropbox, Google Drive, or other free cloud storage for any extra materials as they may be too large to send as email attachments. Application deadline will be March 15th, 2018. Late applications will not be considered.


2. Evaluation


The purpose of the prize is to encourage composers to quest science, find inspiration in the science world, celebrate scientific advances and build bridges between cutting edge research and state of the art music. Therefore, compositions will be judged based on three equally important criteria:


  • Scientific relevance of the connection between your piece and the specific content (idea, image, concept, animation, dataset, etc.) explicitly stated in your text.

  • Overall musical quality, independently from specific music styles

  • Creativity of your approach, originality


3. Nomination


Within two weeks after the submission deadline, an interdisciplinary panel of five judges consisting of composers and physicists will make a selection of the pieces to be performed in the final concert. This selection will be based upon scientific and artistic criteria, and the finalists will be nominated publicly on this website. At this point, the selected composers will be invited to come to Vienna and for the final concert and present their pieces. Travel expenses will be covered if necessary.


4. Final concert


The final decision over MAIN Prize will take place right after the final concert, after all pieces have been performed. This concert will take place in the University of Vienna, on the  3rd of May , 2018. The members of the jury will select and announce the winner of the MAIN Prize of the «Sounds of Matter» competition, awarded with €4000.


5. Change of terms


The «Sounds of Matter» composition competition reserves the right to change these terms in the best interest of the project.

Deadline finished on 15.3.2018