Calls for Submissions: ensemble proton bern

protonwerk is the platform for contemporary music, created by ensemble proton bern. With the support of Swiss Cultural Foundation Pro Helvetia we have been working together to inspire the upcoming generation of composers early on in their professional careers. Those interested can apply to receive a commission to write a new work for one of the annual protonwerk concerts.

protonwerk was conceived not only to extend the ensemble’s repertoire but also to offer composers the opportunity to create and refine their work in a professional environment. We place a lot of importance on working together closely with composers. The individual musicians offer workshops at all points throughout the compositional process and the ensemble meets to work on drafts and/or sketches in the early stages of the project. In the week leading up to the concert, we rehearse the pieces in the presence of all participating composers. All works are then documented with audio and video recordings and these materials will be made available to the composers.

One of the primary aims of protonwerk is to broaden the ensemble’s repertoire. In doing so, the opportunity for further performances in Switzerland and abroad may arise.

protonwerk no. 10 – objets trouvés

Virtuosity and flexibility are hallmarks of our work as instrumentalists and this means that sometimes we have to lay down our regular instruments in order to apply our performing skills to other things, for example every day objects! Sound makers can be found everywhere: at home, on the street, at the hardware or toy store…

For protonwerk no. 10 we will indeed put our regular instruments aside in order to pick up objets trouvés [ found objects ] with hands… Or feet. We want to walk in the footsteps of other composers who sought the unpredictable, theatrical, noisy or (im)practical and commission works for found objects. We will commission 5 composers to write for ensemble proton bern as an octet (8 players), each person playing only found objects. A one-day workshop in Autumn 2020 and an intensive rehearsal period directly prior to the concert in early 2021 will be conducted, in order to guarantee a proper investigation into the rich soundworld of objets trouvés.

– Born on or after 1st January 1984
– Completed undergraduate studies
– If possible, we will award around half of the commissions to composers of Swiss nationality or who live in Switzerland
– Instrumentation: 8 musicians/performers playing found objects (i.e. no ‘regular’ instruments), no conductor
– Duration: ca. 10 minutes
– Obligatory participation in the protonwerk workshop in Autumn 2020 (in special cases via Skype etc.)
– Fee of 2000.00 Swiss Francs, no further expenses covered
– Deadline for submission of the protonwerk composition: 31th December 2020

Applying for protonwerk no. 10:
– Two (2) existing scores for chamber ensemble (no solo pieces or orchestral works) with audio recording. If possible, one of these works should be written for or employ found objects.
– A concept/composition sketch for a piece using found objects
– CV including the following details:
Current residential address
E-mail address
Date of birth
– Application fee: 20.00 Swiss Francs
– Payment with credit card via PayPal.

Applications will only be accepted in .pdf (CV & scores) and .mp3 (audio recordings) formats (max. size: 20 MB)
Closing date for applications is 15th October 2019.

The protonwerk no. 10 outcome will be notified late November 2019 and the concert will take place in early 2021, performed by ensemble proton bern.

Please contact Vera Schnider at protonwerk@ensembleproton.ch if you have any questions.

The application form is available here: