“…when dealing with the touchy subject of postmodernism, one often encounters an unrealistic longing for a reversible history.  One can sense the potential gratification if only we might finally achieve an idyllic pre-modern existence.  This ideologically embellished confusion conveys, most candidly, the general sentiment when confronted with the modern period.  Such sentiments should serve as our basis for moving forward, because the prevailing arguments for or against the postmodern period miss the point.  Understanding the modern period as an important link in a logical, comprehensible process of development, the very essence of “contemporary,” has always been just as important as reflecting on the implications and variants of all forms of novelty...”

Mauricio Kagel


Considering the relative overabundance of piano literature, it would be seemingly foolhardy to stage a composition competition promoting the creation of new pieces for piano.  Everything appears to exist already, even pieces for children and young adults.  Still, far too frequently it is precisely this contemporary „educational literature“ which proves lacking in artistic qualities; accompanying a reduction in technical difficulty, with an objectionable reduction in the notion of what children and young adults are capable of understanding – both intellectually and emotionally.

We are looking for piano pieces written for children and young adults which, although limited in their technical difficulty, remain uncompromising in their artistic aim; pieces written with a contemporary compositional technique which offer the young student stimulus, insight and new experiences: experiences about oneself and the world in which we live.

With the creation of this competition, the Ludwig van Beethoven Department of Piano and Harpsichord in Music Education would like to ensure that such quality pieces are more prevalent in the future and to this end we invite composers to accept the challenge by enrolling in the competition.

In the course of a week’s time an audience comprised of students, teachers, and performing artists will be given the chance to listen as the jury evaluates the different ways this challenge has been addressed by the composers.  The jury will assess not only the artistic quality of the pieces, but also the question: what does a piano student learn from these pieces?  And in addition the discussion will cover what makes a piece exciting and what is future-oriented; while at the same time never loosing sight of the technical limits implied when composing for children and young adults.


The decision of the Jury to award the  prizes within the course of the Maurico Kagel composition competition is reached, therefore, in a very special way – not behind closed doors, but in open and public discussion. The winning pieces will be technically suitable for children/young adults but will not compromise their artistic aim in order to make a pedagogical impact. Instead, they will be convincing due to their compositional quality.