International Composition Contest


In June 2018 the Musikkollegium Winterthur launched an international composition contest in collaboration with the Fotomuseum Winterthur. A total of 191 composers from over 30 countries applied for the competition, from which 85 submitted their compositions. The jury, chaired by the Swiss composer Alfred Zimmerlin, nominated 10 works to be recorded on video by the Musikkollegium Winterthur in August 2019 and published on this website for an online audience voting. The Rychenberg Competition will award prizes worth a total of CHF 100,000.



Cecilia Arditto Argentina
Cecilia Arditto
Work Title TISSUE
Photo Serie Wounds of violence

Argentinian composer Cecilia Arditto(*1966) was born in Buenos Aires. Having studied music in her native city, she completed her degree "cum laude" at the Academy of Music in Amsterdam, where she has also lived since 2002. She has been awarded several prizes and grants, and her works have been performed in Latin America and the United States as well as Asia and Europe. Música invisible para flauta, for example, has been played by more than twenty flautists, and her new work, Distancia de rescate for eight cellos, will be performed by three different cello octets during the 2018/19 season. Together with the Dutch photographer and guitarist Daniel Nicolas, she focuses on combining visual aspects with musical works. Cecilia Arditto has also worked as a Bikram yoga instructor since 2018, giving courses all over the world.

Photo Daniel Nicolas

Annachiara Gedda Italy
Annachiara Gedda
Work Title Chasing Ice
Photo Serie Find a Way or Make One

Annachiara Gedda(*1986) comes from Turin, where she also studied composition, graduating with a master's degree in 2015. She then attended several master classes given by Luis Bacalov, Mauro Bonifacio, José Manuel López López and Tristan Murail, among others. She has won several national and international composition competitions, and her works have since been performed not only in her Italian homeland, but also in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Finland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Japan. Many of these have been published by Sconfinarte, Bèrben and Zedde, as well as Universal Edition.

Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin Austria
Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin
Work Title Tarsis
Photo Serie Find a Way or Make One

Austrian composer and pianist Alexandra Karastoyanova-Hermentin(*1968) is of Russian and Bulgarian origin, and now lives in Vienna and Telish (Bulgaria). She pursued her musical studies at the Mozarteum Salzburg, the State Academy of Music in Sofia and the Ippolitov-Ivanov Music College in Moscow. She first came to the public's attention in 2007 when her Mahagiony violin concerto was premièred at New York's Carnegie Hall. For the Mozart Year of 2006, the Government of Salzburg commissioned her to compose Annäherung. Other works by the composer have been performed at Vienna's Musikverein, the Megaron Centre in Athens, at the Villa Massimo in Rome, at the Chicago Cultural Center, as well as the Schnittke Institute in Moscow. She has been commissioned to compose works by the Wiener Konzerthaus, the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation as well as WDR and ORF, among others. As a pianist, Karastoyanova-Hermentin has given solo and ensemble performances in the classical genre as well as premièring works of New Music.

Photo by Stefanie Luger

Sampo Kasurinen Finland
Sampo Kasurinen
Work Title Valo
Photo Serie Find a Way or Make One

The Finnish composer and saxophonist Sampo Kasurinen(*1990) began his musical career as a jazz musician, but now works as a full-time composer and arranger. He studied in Berlin (University of the Arts) and Helsinki (Sibelius Academy), where he is currently completing his master's degree. The emphasis of Kasurinen's compositions lies on works for orchestra and other large-scale ensembles. Sampo Kasurinen first achieved wider recognition in 2012, when he was awarded First Prize at the Finnish Young Nordic Jazz Comets competition with the AR Quartet. Most recently, he won First Prize at the Markku Johanson competition for his composition Tango Sinfonico, and Second Prize at the Puolustusvoimat 100-vuotta competition with Alkusoitto for wind ensemble.

Bileam Kümper Germany
Bileam Kümper
Work Title Three Under-Ice Soundscapes
Photo Serie Find a Way or Make One

Bileam Kümper(*1971) studied Music, Mathematics and German at the Technical University of Dortmund from 1992 to 1998. As an employee of the technology and administration department, his responsibilities have included the sound studio for some years. Previously, he gained extensive experience as a self-employed instrumental teacher, music publisher and lecturer in workshops and seminars (on topics such as electro-acoustic composition, soundscape composition and sound synthesis). His compositions span chamber music, frequently combined with electronics, electronic music and installations. He plays numerous instruments, including the violin, viola and tuba. He has held a post as lecturer at the Technical University of Dortmund since 2009.

Fabian Künzli Switzerland
Fabian Künzli
Work Title Die liegende Sanduhr
Photo Serie Find a Way or Make One

Swiss composer Fabian Künzli(*1984) grew up in the Canton of Thurgau. He has played the clarinet since the age of ten, performing in orchestras as well as several bands (rock, big band, dixie, klezmer). He has worked as a conductor with various wind orchestras, but also with smaller ensembles for film music and other recordings. Having obtained his Master of Arts in Music degree from Zurich University of the Arts in 2010, he completed his master's studies in musical theory in 2012. As a composer, Fabian Künzli has worked for several distinguished orchestras, such as the Musikkollegium Winterthur, the Camerata Zürich, the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt and various prestigious chamber ensembles. He has also won many prizes at composition competitions, and was awarded a working semester in London by the Landis & Gyr Foundation in 2012. Fabian Künzli was Composer in Residence at the 2013 Orpheum Festtage in Zurich, and holds a part-time teaching position in musical theory at Zurich University of the Arts.

Hiroshi Nakamura Japan
Hiroshi Nakamura
Work Title Nostalgia - Le Voyage intérieur
Photo Serie Find a Way or Make One

Hiroshi Nakamura(*1965) hails from Japan. He was taught composition and attended master classes with Klaus Huber, Brian Ferneyhough and Helmut Lachenmann, among others. He has won prizes at numerous competitions in both his Japanese homeland and Europe – such as the Concorso internazionale di composizione Settimane Musicali di Stresa(2007), the International Prokofiev Competition in St. Petersburg (2008), the New NoteInternational Composers' Competition in Croatia (2015) and the Aargau Composition Competition (2017). His works have been performed by renowned orchestras such as the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra and the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya.

Simon James Phillips Australia
Simon James Phillips
Work Title Skein
Photo Serie Find a Way or Make One

Simon James Phillips(*1973) comes from Australia and has lived in Berlin since 2008. He received his musical training at the Piteå Musikhögskolan in Sweden (piano  and improvisation), the Australian National University in Canberra (composition) and the Australian Young Conductors and Composers School in Brisbane. He was Composer in Residence at the Teatro Maria Matos, Lisbon, for the 2014/15 season. He has been a guest both as a composer and a pianist at several festivals, including the Bend/Break Festival (Berlin), the Darmstädter Ferienkurse, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the Jazzfest Berlin and the Sydney International Festival of the Arts. He has performed repeatedly in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland and Portugal, as well as in the United Kingdom and Switzerland. In his numerous compositions, he attaches special importance to the actual conditions of their performance, and has developed a kind of collaborative composition that encourages the creative participation of the musicians involved.

Valerio Rossi Italy
Valerio Rossi
Work Title ICE_one_h for chamber orchestra
Photo Serie Find a Way or Make One

Valerio Rossi(*1959) comes from Milan, where he learned the clarinet at an early age, taught himself the saxophone at the same time, and also explored the world of art. Having played in various jazz bands as a clarinettist, he began studying composition at the Conservatorio di Musica "Giuseppe Verdi." While studying, he also worked as a copyist for major Italian and foreign publishing houses, as well as for the archives of the Teatro alla Scala. Having obtained his diploma, he won prizes at several composition competitions. Valerio Rossi now devotes himself to composition and painting in equal measure, considering both to be equivalent forms of artistic expression – even if, in his own estimation, it may perhaps make him look "antiquated" in today's world, which is increasingly focused on specialisation.

Verena Weinmann Switzerland
Verena Weinmann
Work Title Hills of Torreón
Photo Serie Wounds of violence

The composer and activist Verena Weinmann (*1994)is from Frauenfeld. She started dancing as small child. At the age of ten, she began taking private piano tuition, which she consolidated with preliminary studies at the Winterthur Academy of Music. Her first composition was written for her high school diploma thesis at the Im Lee Cantonal School in Winterthur. She has participated at the Young Composers Workshop in Boswil on several occasions. She is currently studying composition with Michel Roth at the Academy of Music in Basel. At the beginning of 2015, she became interested in politics and wrote several articles on the subject for the magazine Der Funke. Alongside her studies, Verena Weinmann plays keyboard in the Latin rock band Mondsucher, as well as giving private piano lessons and tuition in musical theory. Her compositions are characterised by the need to create a link to current world affairs and to offer the performers space for their own creativity. Weinmann also has a strong interest in conceptual music, improvisation and the integration of electronic and rock instruments in contemporary music.

Photo by Susanna Drescher

Photo Series

Wounds of Violence Adél Koleszár

Adél Koleszár

Born 1986, Budapest/Hungary, lives and works in Mexico City, adelka.tumblr.com

In her series Wounds of Violence, Adél Koleszár investigates how experiencing violence moulds society and the self. Her photos offer assorted contrasts, such as between illegal mass graves that have been discovered in Mexico and the visible scars of abuse, especially among women.

Download the extended captions.

Eating Magma Elena Aya Bundurakis

Elena Aya Bundurakis

Born 1988, Heraklion/Greece, lives and works in Athens and Antwerp, freethecelery.com

The series Eating Magma engages with nature, fauna, flora, muscle and eating. These pictures directly address our sensory perception, and immediately prompt different emotions on the part of the observer. Form, colour, flesh and corporeality play an important role in Bundurakis’s work, and are depicted in a manner that is both sober and at the same time ambivalent.

Find a Way or Make One Anastasia Mityukova

Anastasia Mityukova

Born 1992, Geneva /Switzerland, lives and works in Geneva, anastasiamityukova.ch

The works in the series find a way or make one challenge the stereotypical view that people have of the Arctic, and how different typologies of images shape the landscape. Using pictures made by webcams and surveillance cameras along with photographs that Mityukova has found at flea markets, she creates her own perspective on this distant place, without ever having been there herself

Download the entire image series incl. captions.



The ten composers whose works are selected for the first round of the Competition (the recording) will be given a recognition prize of CHF 1,000. The composers of the works chosen by the jury to be performed at the Prize Winners’ Concert will be awarded the following prizes:

First place CHF 40’000.–
Second place CHF 25’000.–
Third place CHF 15’000.–
Special prize of the jury CHF 5’000.–
Audience prize CHF 10’000.–



Deadline for registration


Submission of the score (5 hard copies)


Announcement of the compositions nominated (maximum of ten)


Submission of the orchestral parts and resubmission of the score (if reworked in the meantime)

End of

Recording of the nominated works by the Musikkollegium Winterthur


The recorded works will be placed online for the audience vote


Announcement of the jury’s nominations and the result of the audience vote


The composers whose works are chosen will travel to Winterthur; beginning of rehearsals for the Prize Winners’ Concert


Prize Winners’ Concert in Winterthur


In the first half of the 20th century, the music patron Werner Reinhart from Winterthur played a fundamental role in the development of the Musikkollegium Winterthur, together with the conductor Hermann Scherchen. Under their auspices, Winterthur became a centre of contemporary music with an impact far beyond the Swiss borders. Composers such as Anton Webern, Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky and Richard Strauss worked with the Musikkollegium or composed for it. Composers who have meanwhile slipped somewhat into obscurity also enjoyed the high regard and support of Scherchen and Reinhart – men such as Heinrich Kaminski, Walter Braunfels and Franz von Hoesslin. It was not just composers who visited Winterthur at Reinhart’s invitation, for internationally renowned instrumentalists, singers and conductors also came to the city, often even enjoying Reinhart’s hospitality in his Villa Rychenberg, which today houses the offices of the Musikkollegium Winterthur.
With its “Rychenberg Competition”, the Musikkollegium Winterthur intends to forge a link from that era to the present. This Competition, made possible thanks to the Lottery Fund of the Canton of Zurich, aims to bring composers to Winterthur from all over the world, and at the same time promote Winterthur’s reputation in the broader world as an innovative city of music.

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