New Music New Video

Composition Competition Submission Highlights (1 of 3)

Last fall we received 46 incredible submissions in our first ever New Music New Video composition competition. Many of these were just too good to keep to ourselves, so we've selected a handful of noteworthy entries to highlight in short video clips for your listening pleasure.

The first piece we introduced to our fans was Rhapsodie #4 “The Sirens” from California composer Danaë Xanthe Vlasse (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). We were compelled by the unabashedly neo-Romantic aesthetic and haunting narrative of "The Sirens.” Danaë expertly conjured the sirens’ seductive yet dangerous allure through yearning melodies and a slow-burning intensity that’s to die for:

Benjamin Gribble (Facebook and Soundcloud) entered the competition with his composition “Try and Stop Me.” It was a close contender, and no one could stop us from showcasing this brief excerpt of his entry. 😉What we love: Benjamin’s sophisticated writing, the work’s purposeful evolution and almost trance-like quality, and the funk:

Look out for more excerpts soon!

Composition competition winner: Man of Mystery

2019 has been our year of music videos (Oblivion, What a Wonderful World, Lullaby, several Tippet Rise collaborations, and lots more to come…), but perhaps we’re most excited about our upcoming video production featuring the winner of our New Music New Video composition competition.

When International Piano Magazine asked for more information on our winner, Edgar Ordóñez, we realized all we knew was what he stated in his application—he is a 57-year-old composer from Columbia. Everything else was a complete mystery to us!

We reached out to Edgar for answers and were utterly charmed by his responses. It’s our great pleasure and honor to now shine the spotlight on Edgar, our New Music New Video International Man of Mystery. 😎

Greg: What went through your mind when you found out we’d selected your composition as the winning piece?

Edgar: I had a hard time giving credit to the result of your contest. After I sent you the score, I told myself that I shouldn't have done it, because I wouldn't stand a chance if I had to compete with professional composers who have solid academic backing and, no doubt, brilliant CVs. But that day I was surely influenced by an excess of optimism and sent that work. 

Liz: We’re so glad your optimism won out! Tell us a little bit about your musical background.

Edgar: Unfortunately, there is not much to say about me, or what has to be said is too poor and perhaps it would be better not to say it. I am Colombian and live in Bogotá, although I was born in a small city where in my childhood and adolescence I did not find any opportunity to train in music, which was what I was passionate about: there was no conservatory, or academy, or music teachers. However, at the age of thirteen I had the madness of becoming a classical pianist, so even though I didn't have a piano at home because my parents couldn't afford to buy one, I managed to borrow an instrument from the only university in the city, and I began to study without any guide, trying to decipher some books on music theory, solfège and harmony that an amateur had in his library and that he had the generosity to lend them to me. 

At the age of twenty I left that city and settled in Bogotá, but economic problems prevented me from continuing my dream of studying at a conservatory. In this city my situation was much more difficult, because I couldn't find anyone who could lend me an instrument. So, between that city, and then in Santiago de Chile, where I lived for a long period, about fifteen years passed in which I could not practice any piano at all. At that time I began to work in publishing houses, and finally my life was directed in that direction, either as an editor, or as a mercenary writer or ghostwriter, or as a style corrector. That's what I'm still working on and that's what I live by. 

Greg: Really, it’s incredible to hear that you’re self-taught.

Liz: We’re on the edge of our seats… How did you get back into music and begin composing?

Edgar: I was in my forties when, in a better financial situation, I was able to buy an old piano, but it was too late to continue my studies as a pianist. My love of music and attachment to the old dream of being a musician motivated me to try composition, and I soon discovered that I actually had more talent for that specialty than for the piano. 

Around the age of seventeen I tried to write a fugue, but was unable to complete it. In order to get rid of that old thorn, in middle age I decided to "graduate" as a self-taught composer by writing a series of fugues. I wrote five, and the "Fuga allucinata" is the third of them.

Music was not my only great love in life: so has literature, and since I felt indebted to my dreams of early adolescence, I have also spent time training myself as a writer and leaving some literary works. In fact, in recent years this activity has robbed music of a bit of time, although it has not been in vain: I have written several books between novels and short story books, and I have won some literary competitions in my country and some in Spain.

Liz: I can relate; music and literature are great passions of mine as well. How has your music not made its way to the masses? Have your compositions ever been performed?

Edgar: I live completely marginalized from musical circles, so the diffusion of my musical work is practically nil. I don't care much about that: finally what I'm interested in is creating, and I try to do the best I can. I've never been interested in becoming famous or looking for success, and I don't live on music either, so I've never set out to promote what I do. Anyway, as I am convinced that music is created to be listened to and not to be kept written in a drawer, I have a modest channel on YouTube where from time to time I upload some occurrences that I try to make audible in versions worked in a digital synthesizer. I prefer not to have a presence on social networks. Maybe it's a lack of self-confidence, as I'm perfectly aware that I can't consider myself a professional composer. 

Liz: The joy and fulfillment of pure creativity is something we live for, too! And we’ve said it before— our judging criteria simply revolved around finding the piece that most excites us. We asked for very little personal information from our applicants because we hoped to connect with the winning composer based on the music, full stop.

Greg: Yes! You should be extremely proud. You’ve won an international composition competition over some very distinguished composers. Your compositional voice, while highly unique and personal, is undeniably at a professional level. Congratulations!

Edgar: I do not know how to express my gratitude to you and communicate to you the emotion and happiness that your decision has awakened in me.

I must add that for years I have enjoyed the versions that you publish on your YouTube channel. Congratulations on the excellence of your work. Some of your arrangements are simply fascinating and I must admit that you have come to awaken my envy. I have great empathy for your idea of what the future of music should be, and I congratulate you wholeheartedly on the effort you are making to channel the interest of new composers into a music that fuses the best of popular music with classical tradition. As you do, I am convinced that this is the new path that music must follow, a path in which rhythm is creatively and provocatively exploited, the sensual harmonic development and the innovative energy that jazz knew how to propose as an alternative to the dead end of the coldly cerebral atonalism and devoid of feelings and emotion.

Greg: We truly couldn’t be more thrilled to have you as a partner in our mission to make classical music a powerful and relevant force in society. I think our fans will be in complete agreement once they have the opportunity to hear your winning composition, “Fuga allucinata.” Bravo.

Liz: Absolutely. Thank you, Edgar. We can’t wait to share the music video we create together.

And the winner is...

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After much deliberation and several emotional, sleepless nights of judging, we’re thrilled to announce the winning piece of our New Music New Video composition competition: "Fuga allucinata" by Edgar Ordóñez! 🏆

Our judging criteria was always simple: find the piece that most excites us. We asked for very little personal information from our applicants because we hoped to connect with the winning composer based solely on the music. Meanwhile, our competition administrator made note of the stats she picked up from email signatures and social media.

We found our 46 entrants hailed from around the world, many with impressive resumes and compelling personal stories. The winner, however, is something of a mystery! We're unable to find performances of his music online and only know the minimum details requested in the application.

Edgar’s win is truly all about his thrilling music. “Fuga allucinata” is bold and compelling (and a bit daunting to play 😅). We can’t wait to meet our mysterious music video muse and collaborate together.

We received so many phenomenal compositions that it was extremely difficult to pick a single winner. Kudos to our runner-up, J Diaz (@diazsounds), who overwhelmed us with his intense and haunting "an incomplete autobiography".

Once again, our deepest gratitude and heartiest congratulations to all who participated. We are absolutely floored by your talent, passion, and generosity. Between now and the debut of the music video featuring the winning composition, “Fuga allucinta,” we’ll showcase excerpts from a few of your amazing pieces on social media. It’s been our great pleasure and honor to connect with you all in this way, and we’re only getting started. 😘

-Greg & Liz

UPDATE: New Music New Video

The entry period for our New Music New Video composition competition has closed and submissions are in.

Our heartiest congratulations to the 46 composers who participated—women and men between the ages of 18 and 79, hailing from 18 countries spanning 6 continents! Check out the countries represented below:

  • Botswana

  • Brazil

  • Canada

  • China

  • Columbia

  • England

  • France

  • Germany

  • Greece

  • Italy

  • The Netherlands

  • New Zealand

  • Romania

  • Scotland

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland

  • USA

We received the incredible news while on our most recent music video shoot. Now we’re in heaven playing through the new compositions and can’t wait to share the results. We’ll announce the winning composer on November 15, 2018.

It’s been an absolute pleasure bringing these new works to life on the keyboard. Thank you all for your passion, participation, and support. 😍

Penny for your thoughts?

We've finally had a long enough break between concerts to really dig into your New Music New Video composition competition entries, and we are loving everything. KUDOS to all of the entrants so far!

Amongst the social media chatter, an interesting topic came up regarding the competition: the absence of a cash prize.

"...the opportunity does not have a dollar prize for the winner... this is an example of an all-too-frequent occurrence, artists being offered 'exposure' rather than being paid for their work. Might you also consider offering some kind of prize for the winner?"

Here are our thoughts (but we're also curious to hear yours!):

Yes, in some sense, this competition is about exposure. We absolutely hope to expose wonderful new music to our large international online audience. We receive unsolicited compositions on a near daily basis (much of which is really fantastic!), and since it is impossible to perform every piece sent our way, we thought of the competition as a way to highlight at least a few of these composers’ voices.

Beyond that, having made dozens of these music videos in the past 10+ years, we see the prize as granting so much more than just exposure. It’s an opportunity for a composer to collaborate in the creativity of filmmaking, think outside the box, have fun with classical piano music, and learn from our video-making experience. 

Those who deem a cash prize to be the only suitable reward may not be the sort of collaborator we’re searching for. We began making our music videos from scratch, resourcefully using venues and equipment already available to us, and we quickly came to enjoy the thrill of the entire do-it-yourself process, from the beginning’s blank canvas to the magic of editing. We’ve discovered that the artistic joy lies in the back-and-forth exchange of ideas, the brainstorming, the imagination, the collaboration! We‘re looking for someone to join us in the process.

It should be noted that not only is there no financial compensation for the winning entry, but there is no financial compensation for any of the artists involved… no compensation for any of the other composer applicants, none for our volunteer production assistants,  none for the two of us (who will serve as the pianists, producers, videographers, directors, audio engineers, and video editors). And we will personally finance any necessary production expenses ourselves, such as piano moving, permits, insurance, props, advertising, etc. In the end, we hope to spend less than a couple thousand dollars on production, but nonetheless create a music video that would, by all industry standards, compare to a $30,000+ budget production. We’re excited to do so! We see the investment of time, skill, and money as an investment in the winning composer and in the advancement of our mission to make this music a relevant and powerful force in society.

Now you know our thoughts on the matter — care to share yours? Let us know what you think in the comments or on social media!

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