Contest - Sixteen Love Songs for Solo Piano

Publish Date: Oct 24, 2016

Deadline: Oct 31, 2016

About the project

The pieces in this collection are all songs, some originally written for piano and others arranged. They are all expressions of love of some kind and thus share common ground with a huge body of folk and popular music. The sixteen love songs in this collection are all beautifully constructed examples of ‘art’ music, written throughout the nineteenth century or at the beginning of the twentieth by composers who had a great understanding of the expressive possibilities of the piano and the power to seduce the listener. Some of them have become massively well known through film scores or TV ads, or even become popular songs in an adapted form. The repertoire includes four Liszt song arrangements and original piano works by Dvořák, Suk, Fauré, Granados and others.

Love Song Composing Competition
Patron: Judith Weir CBE, Master of the Queen’s Music

The pieces on William Howard’s Album Sixteen Love Songs were all written between a hundred and two hundred years ago. What would their 21st century equivalents sound like? This competition aims to encourage contemporary responses to the timeless and universal genre of the love song in the form of short piano pieces.

Competition launched 1 June 2016.

Closing date for applications 31 October 2016

In two categories: over 25 and under 25

Brief To write a love song for solo piano of maximum four minutes' duration

Entries will be judged according to composers’ ability to take on the challenge of
writing a memorable, individual and truly contemporary piece of music in a genre
that crosses so many boundaries in music, with account also taken of skill in writing for the piano.


  • A cash prize of £750 for the winning piece (over 25s)
  • A cash prize of £500 for the winning piece (under 25s)

A performance by pianist William Howard of the two winning pieces will be professionally recorded, videoed and posted on YouTube.

Three shortlisted pieces in each category will be performed by William Howard in a public concert in Spring 2017

Commission Project: Sixteen Contemporary Love Songs

William Howard is commissioning a further sixteen Love Songs for performance in 2016 and 2017. Composers include David Matthews (for May 2016), Cheryl Frances-Hoad (for June 2016), Piers Hellawell, David Knotts, Pavel Zemek Novák, Howard Skempton and Judith Weir. (Full list to be confirmed). The brief to composers is to write a piece for solo piano of 3-5 minutes’ duration that can be described as a love song.

The new commissions are intended to form a companion collection to William Howard’s album of Sixteen Love Songs from the romantic era (Orchid Classics). Their emotional subject matter, strophic form and/or memorable melodies give them a very particular kind of appeal and accessibility. The new commissions do not have to be modelled on these romantic pieces; the interest of the new collection will lie in composers’ individual responses to the genre of piano love song. Through the timeless genre of the love song – one commonly associated with pop, folk and music from other cultures – it is hoped these new works will create a repertoire that draws in a wide audience for contemporary music and stimulates both awareness of the varied musical languages of living composers and discussion about their approaches to composition.

Conditions of Entry

  1. Compositionsmustbeunpublished,mustnothavewonanyothercompetition, and must not be under consideration by any publisher or for any other prize for the duration of the competition. Compositions must also have never been previously performed.

  2. WilliamHoward/TheLoveSongProjectwillholdtherighttoconvenethefirst performance of all shortlisted and commended pieces for six months after the results are announced (i.e. until August 14th 2017) and to have exclusive performance and recording rights for the winning piece in each category for one year after the shortlist is announced (i.e. until February 14th 2018). Copyright will remain with the composer.

  3. Thecompetitionisopentocomposersofallagesandnationalities,andentries will be judged in two categories: (A) Under 25 on October 31st 2016 and (B) 25 or older on October 31st 2016.

  4. Worksmustbeforpianosolo(withouttheuseofanysortofadditional technology).

  5. Scoresshouldbeemailedasapdf.Pagesshouldbenumberedandthetitleof the work should appear on each page. Entrants’ names must not appear on any page of the work.

  6. Multipleentriesarepermittedandshouldbesentinseparateemails.

  7. Theopeningdateforentriesis1stJune2016andtheclosingdateforentries is 31st October 2016.

  8. TheLoveSongsProjectreservestherightnottoawardaprizeinanyorall divisions.

  9. TheLoveSongsProjectreservestherighttorequiremodifications/revisionsto winning scores in each category in advance of any performance of the works.

  10. The shortlisted compositions in each category, as well as commended works, will be announced on 14th February 2017. Short-listed entrants will also be notified by email. The winner of each category will be announced at the public concert in spring 2017 (date and venue to be confirmed).
  11. The shortlisted composers will be required to submit a programme note for their work. 

  12. The judges’ decision will be final and no correspondence about the result will be entered into.

  13. 13.By participating in the competition and submitting an entry by email, the composer accepts the terms and conditions as set out above. The competition organizers reserve the right to exclude participants without appeal for any violation of the above conditions.

For more information click "Further official information" below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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