Basel Composition Competition

No person is more representative of the Basel musical scene than Paul Sacher (1906-1999). He devoted himself tirelessly to the music of his century in his various roles as conductor, as commissioner of new works and as sponsor and member of numerous guilds and institutions. Amongst the works commissioned by Paul Sacher are Béla Bartók’s “Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta”, Bohuslav Martinů’s “Toccata e due Canzoni”, Igor Stravinsky’s “Concerto en ré” as well as Arthur Honegger’s Fourth Symphony.
In 1973, Sacher founded the Paul Sacher Foundation which gained international reputation as a leading research institution after acquiring the estate of Igor Stravinsky and collections from Anton Webern and Bruno Maderna.

In 2017–18 years after his death – Paul Sacher’s spirit will be revived once again as the most compelling works of the 21st century are brought to Basel for the first edition of “Basel Composition Competition” (BCC), an international event open to the public, conceived and organised by Artistic Management GmbH in cooperation with the Paul Sacher Foundation and directed by the Head Juror, Wolfang Rihm. 

During the selection process, the jury will shortlist ten pieces to be performed at the competition by the Basel Symphony and the Basel Chamber orchestras. The three winning works shall be awarded monetary prizes totalling CHF 100,000.

The first edition of the “Basel Composition Competition” will take place on 16-19 February 2017.



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The “Basel Composition Competition” was created in honour of Paul Sacher, inviting musicians of all ages and nationalities to bring their works to Basel for their world premiere. Three of these works will be selected through a careful process during the period of 16-19 February 2017 and will then be awarded monetary prizes at the closing ceremony.


The three winning compositions shall receive the following prizes at the closing ceremony:
First Prize: CHF 60,000
Second Prize: CHF 25,000
Third Prize: CHF 15,000

The finalists shortlisted to participate in the Competition shall be awarded an acknowledgement of CHF 1,000 each. 


Wolfgang Rihm
Wolfgang Rihm

Head Juror, Composer

Dr. Felix-Meyer
Felix Meyer

Director the Paul Sacher Foundation

Michael Jarrell
Michael Jarrell


Oliver Knussen
Oliver Knussen



The competition regulations can be downloaded here (PDF).


Who is eligible?
The competition is open to participants of any age or nationality.

May I submit a previously composed work?
The competition is open to new, non-premiered works. Previously unfinished compositions finished in time for the competition may be submitted, as long as they have not yet been premiered in whole or in part.

May I reduce the size of the string section?
The string section must be at least 4-3-2-2-1 strong.

Can the work be longer as indicated?
Works exceeding the maximal duration (20 minutes) may not be accepted for the Competition.

When are the deadlines?
31 May 2016, 23:59 (CET): Registration, including payment of registration fee.
30 November 2016, 23:59 (CET): Submission of the full orchestral score.

Must all specified instruments be featured?
The instrumentation specified in the regulations are meant to provide orientation. The BCC contemplates mainly works for chamber orchestra adjusting to the instrumentation stated in the Regulations. However, larger dispositions in the strings or wind sections as well as additional instruments may be used upon previous written consultation with the BCC offices. In this case, please contact us well in advance. Works for solo instruments will not qualify.  

Can I submit more than one work?
Unfortunately, the competition establishes a limit of one work per composer.

Is impartiality guaranteed by anonymity?
In order to evaluate the submitted compositions regardless of the composer’s personality, the Jury shall review them anonymously. The composers’ name shall only be revealed upon announcement of the nominated works. The applicants are very welcome to apply under a pseudonym. Said pseudonym, however, may only be used until the start of the competition performances, where the composer’s presence is requested. All applicants are requested to submit their scores without featuring their name. The composer’s full name and address should be included in the envelope or a separate sheet of paper enclosed with the application, so the Competition Bureau may process the application correctly. 

May I submit the full score electronically?
The full score must be submitted in print or in manuscript. Please send it to the specified address within the deadline. Furthermore, the score or manuscript must also be submitted in electronic form. 

Where can I pay the registration fee?
Please transfer CHF 50 into the following account:
IBAN: CH63 0483 5006 2741 1100 2
Name: Artistic Management GmbH, Basel.
Reference: surname, first name, date of birth

or via PayPal


The culmination of the Basel Composition Competition will be the four-day finals, featuring the world premiere of ten new works. Three of these compositions shall receive awards.

16 February 2017: Final Round, First Day
17 February 2017: Final Round, Second Day
18 February 2017: Final Round, Third Day
19 February 2017: Closing and Award Ceremony

Further information regarding the concerts will be published in due course. 

Conductors & Orchestras

Franck Ollu
Franck Ollu


Franck Ollu is a very versatile conductor and is widely acknowledged as an expert in the field of contemporary and French music. He has a long-established association with Ensemble Modern and is much in demand as an opera conductor. 

Franck Ollu opens the 2015/16 season with his début at Opera du Rhin in "Dusapin’s Penthésiléa". Last season, he conducted a new co-production of Wolfgang Rihm’s "Jakob Lenz" for Stuttgart Opera and La Monnaie. During the period from 2011 and 2014 Franck Ollu saw many return visits and important débuts at Opera de Lille, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Opera and Theatre Capitole de Toulouse for example. He has given many performances of Wolfgang Rihm’s "Jagden und Formen" including the Salzburg Festival with Ensemble Modern. Franck Ollu conducted a new opera by Helmut Oehring “Die Wunde Heine” which he toured with Ensemble Modern to leading European festivals including the MusikTriennale Köln, and concerts with Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie at the Berlin Philharmonie.

Franck Ollu is a committed teacher and mentor and has ongoing relationships with London's Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music and Internationale Ensemble Modern Akademie. Franck Ollu was born in La Rochelle, France and studied music in Paris.   

Francesc Prat


The conductor and composer Francesc Prat enjoys a varied career with special attention to the operatic repertoire and the music of the XX-XXI centuries and new creation.

His interest in contemporary music has linked him to the conductor Jürg Henneberger and the Ensemble Phoenix Basel as well as groups as the Barcelona 216 i.a.. He has been regularly invited as director and performer at the Gare du Nord in Basel and the Teatre Lliure Barcelona.

He is currently assisting Ivor Bolton at the Teatro Real in Madrid and since the season 2012-2013 he regularly works with Josep Pons at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, theater. He has worked on several titles of  the contemporary operatic repertoire (Haas, Sciarrino, Magrané, Parra, Barret, Oehring i.a.). He conducted the premiere of Roland Moser’s opera "Rahel und Pauline" (Lucerne Festival).

As a composer, his works have been premiered in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy. In October 2012 he premiered his first opera in Basel (CH).

Francesc Prat made his first musical studies at the Escolania de Montserrat. Continuing studies Oboe, Piano and musical theory at the Conservatori Superior Municipal de Música de Barcelona. Later he graduated in composition at the Hochschule für Musik Basel with Roland Moser and conducting at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste.

Sinfonieorchester Basel
Sinfonieorchester Basel
Kammerorchester Basel
Kammerorchester Basel

Ticket bookings

Tickets for the concerts will be released for sale from November 2016 on and other standard pre-sale establishments in Basel.

About us


The “Basel Composition Competition” is run by Artistic Management GmbH and shall take place in Basel.

Christoph Müller
Artistic Manager

Thomas Märki
Project Manager

Helene Seider
Project Manager

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We are looking forward to your message!


For press-related enquiries and press passes, please contact

Helene Seider

Telefonnummer Helene

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Presskit (PDF)

Paul Sacher Foundation

The Paul Sacher Foundation was founded in 1973. At first its purpose was to preserve Paul Sacher’s musical library. A short while later, the holdings began to be systematically expanded, and its purpose started to change. Today, the Foundation is an international research centre for the music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with close to 120 estates and collections from leading composers and performers.

The main purpose of the Paul Sacher Foundation resides in the optimum care and study of its source materials. The Foundation also facilitates and supports scholarly research into its archival holdings by granting access to the documents available on its premises. 

The house situated at the Münsterplatz in Basel is equipped with several reading rooms, storage depots, and a special air-conditioned storeroom to house the original documents.
The Foundation has also built up a large library specialising in twentieth- and twenty-first-century music. Like the associated record library and video collection, this library is kept up-to-date on a regular basis to ensure that the standard literature is always ready to hand. The Foundation also engages in the scholarly investigation and study of its holdings through projects and publications of its own.

More Information:

Promotion activities

The “Basel Composition Competition” has been created with the goal to provide adequate promotion for new music. Students should gain insight into the world of new music by witnessing the creative process and getting in touch with the musicians. The Competition has devised a sponsorship project, which will link each of the ten works shortlisted to take part in the Competition with one class of schoolchildren. Each class will meet the composer prior to the Competition, get to know the music and become a part of it. 

In this way, there is a connection between both sides from the beginning, allowing the students to become engaged more deeply with the experience and to cheer the composer on along the way.

Teachers interested in learning more and/or taking part in this project should kindly get in touch with us.


Basel Composition Competition
c/o Artistic Management GmbH
Byfangweg 22
CH-4051 Basel

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IBAN CH63 0483 5006 2741 1100 2

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