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Lisker Music Foundation (LMF) is a passionate non-profit organization which strives to support young artists by offering them the platform to showcase their brilliant abilities, while simultaneously infusing the community with world class music making. 

We are very excited to announce the 3nd Annual Composition Challenge!



Compose a musical work based on a theme or story provided by LMF.

Work must be written for Piano Trio (violin, cello, and piano)

                                                                 This year’s theme is Rain.


Water is a building block of life – we are surrounded by it, as well as filled with it. Water is magically able to take multiple physical forms, be completely transparent, and at times appear like the most vivid painting imaginable embodying every color in the spectrum.


People react to rain in many different ways.  It can be enchanting, meditative, frightening, paralyzing, depressing, and exhilarating.  Some people hide from the rain, some people dance in it.  Everyone has a memory of rain.


Nature also reacts to rain in a variety of ways – it can draw the most sensual smells from the woods or the grass – it can cause irreparable damage through flooding – and has the power to wash away even the largest of messes, both literally and figuratively.  

This piece will be dedicated to one very special woman as her son said, 

"In my mind, Roza's main attributes are depth, dignity, substance, and grace. The colorful beauty  of autumn are the ‘soft’ overtone to how I would describe her".

In 2021 we would like to celebrate rain. 





The theme of rain leaves a lot of room for imagination, and for using your own personal style. You can take a literal approach with a scenario or image, and depict it through sound in the form of a tone poem.  You can create movements that demonstrate different moments in a human’s experience of rain.  You can forget the literal, and assume the role of an impressionist – create music that evokes emotions linked to rain.  These are just examples; the challenge is by no means limited to this list.


It is difficult to make water conform to one idea, that’s why it makes the perfect subject for a challenge!


                $1000 Grand Prize

  • World Premiere of the Winning Original Composition  in the LMF 2021-2022 Concert Season

  • Professional level Audio/Video recording from the premier        

The award is sponsored by Maron family in memory of their mother Roza Sinelnikova, who loved autumn for all of its colors and rain.


  • Applicants must be 40 years or younger at time of submission

  • Composition must not exceed 10 minutes in duration

  • Work must be for written Piano Trio (violin, cello and piano)

  • One work per applicant




  • Organization of pitch elements (such as melody, harmony, and counterpoint)

  • Organization of rhythmic elements

  • Formal design

  • Accuracy and clarity of notation

  • Appropriate writing for instruments and/or voices



  • Stylistic coherence (regardless of the particular style)

  • Effective handling of unity/variety and tension/release

  • Effective use of dynamics, articulations, and expression marks

  • Interaction of all of the elements (atmosphere, mood, direction, and flow of the music)



  • Refers to aspects of the piece that reveal the composer’s individual “voice” and distinguish the piece from a musical exercise or a direct imitation of another piece

  • The ultimate effectiveness in delivering the story and inspiration of the Challenge; referring to the idea, background, impact, and development.


  • Application for the Composition Challenge must be received by October 1st, 2021.

  • Bio is no longer than 300 words. High-Definition Picture must be attached.

  • The application with computer-generated PDF score and MIDI file must be submitted online or attached to email.

  • Proof of age (copy of a passport, state issued ID, birth certificate, etc)

  • Essay (1-Page Max) describing your work, and how you approached integrating the outlined challenge into your creative process, and its outcome.

  • The chosen composition is not subject to change.

  • Plagiarism of copyrighted material is illegal. It is the responsibility of the composer to assure that music submitted is not copyrighted. If any elements of the composition entry are copyrighted, it is the responsibility of the composer to secure permission for use of those elements.



  • The winning work will be announced via email no later than the end of October, 2021.

  • The winner will receive a Cash Award and a diploma in the mail.

  • The jury decision is final and not to be discussed. 

  • The LMF reserves the right to use photos and videos taken during the concert performance, recorded prior to the stage performance, promotion company’s future events, and publish them on its website or social networks.


**Please view application for checklist to be sure your submission is complete**


Online: Provide a link to DropBox, Google Drive, or other site from which we can download your materials. Application must be organized in a cloud folder (dropbox, google drive, etc.) and shared with AND

All materials must be received by October 1st, 2021

You are encouraged to ask questions about any aspect of this challenge. 

We are happy to answer your emails, speak with you on the phone to provide any additional direction or instruction that might help you produce a piece of music you are proud of!

For more info:     ǀ     (847) 272-7003



  • Filled out and signed the application form

  • 1-page bio

  • Score and Parts for the composition

  • A recording of the piece (Midi/Synthesized Software Rendering is Acceptable)

  • Essay (1-Page Max) describing your work, and how you approached integrating the outlined challenge into your creative process.

  • All application materials must be submitted online by uploading them to a neatly organized folder on Google Drive, DropBox, or another cloud-based site. 

  • All “unlisted” links and cloud-based folders must be shared with 



On behalf of the Lisker Music Foundation as well as the Voloshin family who have generously sponsored this competition, we are very excited to announce  Hsu Tzu-Chin and her piece, Dreaming in Sunlight, is the winning composition of the 2019 LMF Composition Challenge! 


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