* Simply Stunning - Composition Competition

 Composition Competition for Violin and Piano   

Simply Stunning ...  That's what the audience will say when your piece is premiered and recorded in May 2014.  Future performers will add this exquisite piece to their repertoire.  Listeners will beg to hear it again and again.  Your piece will be discussed and studied along with Debussy's "Beau Soir", Fauré's "Après un rêve", Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise", and others as an example of expressive melody lines, gorgeous harmonies, and pieces that violinists and pianists love to play.

UPDATE 8/10/2014:  We're very excited about the Symposium which will take place on September 13, 2014, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina:   Violins and Videos   The "Violins" portion of the program will premiere short list winners from "Simply Stunning" and the "Videos" portion will feature the new film scores that win the "Remix 2014" competition.  We'll discuss writing and performing 21st-century chamber music and music for media.  A distinguished panel of performers, teachers, composers and students will respond to audience questions, and perhaps ask some of their own.  Please come join us if you can! 

   Performers' Top Choices:  Au Revoir by Kenji Fujimura from Australia,  Maroon Bells by Roger Zare from the United States, and Valse Sentimentale by Greta Funk from Switzerland
  Pubic Voting Winners:  Tango Attraction by Michael Ashjian from Lebanon and Dawn Rhapsody by Matthew Orlovich from Australia

UPDATE 3/29/14:  Final votes for Group 3 are in.  See the complete Short List: Our Judges and Voting To Date

UPDATE 3/22/14:  Final votes for Group 2 are in.  See which new pieces have moved to the Short List: Our Judges and Voting To Date

UPDATE 2/26/14:  Final votes for Group 1 are in.  Learn a little about our judges and see which three pieces have moved forward to the Short List:  Our Judges and Voting To Date

UPDATE 2/14/14: You can see a list of all the pieces which have been entered so far at: Simply Stunning Entries.  The pieces are in alphabetical order within the Group.   Judges are currently listening to Group 1.

UPDATE 2/8/14:  You suggested, we listened!  
New dropbox for uploading files:  Simply Stunning Dropbox  (Top menu, "Simply Stunning")

UPDATE 2/1/14:
We welcome your feedback, click here: 
Competitions Designed by You
Community responses:  Updated Design Feedback 

ADDENDUM 1/19/14:  You may submit either violin/piano pieces OR viola/piano pieces for this competition!   All references to "violin" below may also apply to "viola".  

Here are some guidelines for your composition:

  • 3 - 4 minutes in length
  • Violin and piano duet
  • Accessible to general audiences
  • Interesting to other composers
  • Playable by amateur and professional musicians

Competition schedule:

  • by January 25, 2014:  Announce your intention to enter by posting a comment on this page
  • by March 21, 2014:  Upload your completed .pdf score and .mp3 audio into the SimplyStunning DropBox
  • March 28, 2014:  Performers will select the short list, which will be posted on this page
  • March 28, 2014 - April 12:  Online voting for pieces on the short list
  • April 19, 2014:  Declaration of winners
  • May 10, 2014:  Public premiere in Chapel Hill, North Carolina - concert will be recorded

Instructions for entering:

Between January 25th and March 21st, upload your files as follows:

  • Create pdf files.  Create separate pdf files for violin and violin/piano.  Create an mp3 file of either a live performance or a computer-generated performance.  Please use the best possible sounds - midi playback is pure torture and won't help your chances!  Short list judges include composers, performers, and audience-type non-musicians, so just sending a perfect score won't help the non-musicians - they will need to hear it.
  • Please include duration in your score, in the format of minutes and seconds.  Example: Duration 3'40".   The .pdf files of your scores should include the name of the piece, your name (both in the standard locations) and the duration of the piece.  Preferred placement for duration is at the end of the piece.  Optionally you may include the date completed above the duration line.
  • Upload the three files (2 pdfs and 1 mp3) to the Simply Stunning Dropbox.  Instead of your name in the area that asks for your name, please use the name of your piece.  Our administrators will download the files and distribute to the jurors.

You may complete your entry at any time before March 21. 

There may be more than one winning piece performed, at the discretion of the presenters.  All pieces in the short list will receive feedback from the performers and/or fellow composers, and will be posted at VirtualArtists for listening and for voting.  

May your voice be heard!!

-- Julie Harris
Composition Teacher

Here's a list of the composers who have declared an intention to enter, so far:

  1. David Stowell from the United Kingdom
  2. Nickos Harizanos from Athens, Greece
  3. Alexander Carlisle White from Arlington, Texas, US
  4. Rodrigo Navarro from Salta, Argentina
  5. Thorsten Kuhn from Hamburg, Germany
  6. Gabriel Riccio from Chicago, Illinois, US
  7. Clare Shore from Lake Worth, Florida, US
  8. John Huenemann from US
  9. Robert Hunter from Stinson Beach, California, US
  10. Peter Goossen from Axel, Zeeland, Netherlands WITHDREW
  11. Katherine Falk from Wichita, Kansas, US
  12. Ed Harris from Madison, Wisconsin, US
  13. Brian Mark Rosen from US
  14. Michael T from London, United Kingdom
  15. Chase T. Christensen from Kearney, Nebraska, US
  16. nailah from New York City, New York, US
  17. Farid Javidan from US
  18. Nicole DiPaolo from Northville, Michigan, US
  19. Julie Sedlovsky from Bethesda, Maryland, US
  20. Greg Scheer from Grand Rapids, Michigan, US
  21. Lara Poe
  22. Shakhnoza Abulkosimova from Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  23. Stefaan Himpe from Belgium
  24. Stephen Mitton from Saratoga Springs, Utah, US
  25. Paul Roberts from Florence, Italy
  26. Waddy Thompson from New York City, New York, US
  27. Monica Xiao from South Bend, Indiana, US
  28. C. Theodore Howe
  29. Lenna Ha from Tallinn, Estonia
  30. Tony Jefferson from the United Kingdom
  31. René Mense from Hamburg, Germany
  32. Paul Ferdinand Pfaff VI from Henderson, Nevada, US
  33. Keane Southard from Denver, Colorado, US
  34. Greta Funk from Zurich, Switzerland
  35. Terence Lee from Hong Kong
  36. Rain Worthington from Nassau, New York, US
  37. Thomas Nielsen from Mt. Airy, Maryland, US
  38. Carlo Dini from Urbino, Italy
  39. Johan Halmén from Loviisa, Finland
  40. Christopher Couling from South Lyon, Michigan, US
  41. Pedro Luis Toledo-Martinez from Mexico City, Mexico
  42. Liam Moore from Saint Paul, Minnesota, US
  43. Joseph Hasper from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, US
  44. Nadav Amir-Himmel from Jerusalem, Israel
  45. Julie Mandel from Forest Hills, New York, US
  46. Nikolaï Clavier from Oslo, Norway
  47. Judd Danby from Lafayette, Indiana, US
  48. Stefanos Karaloulis from Athens, Greece
  49. Ray Leslee from New York City, New York US
  50. Nuno Peixoto de Pinho from Feira, Aveiro, Portugal
  51. Vincent Newton from US
  52. Christien Ledroit from Hamilton, Canada
  53. Michael Maiorana from Pleasant Ridge, Michigan, US
  54. Carlos Rivas from Distrito Federal, Mexico
  55. Lachlan from Australia
  56. Neisy Wilson from Montreal, Canada
  57. Johan Roeraade from Stockholm, Sweden WITHDREW
  58. Shao Suan Low from Singapore
  59. Shao Ying Low from Singapore
  60. Michael Ashjian from Rayfoun, Lebanon
  61. Kenji Fujimura from Melbourne, Australia
  62. Deborah Young from Overland Park, Kansas, US
  63. Matthew Orlovich from Sydney, Australia
  64. Tim Marko from Alvarado, Texas, US
  65. Iván Alhucema from Bogotá, Colombia
  66. Sayali Gove from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, US
  67. Roger Zare from Fairfield, Connecticut, US
  68. Paul van Geldrop from the Netherlands
  69. Thomas Fryklund from Garland, Texas, US
  70. Nissan Beilin from Ashdod, Israel
  71. Mayen Akpan from Houston, Texas, US
  72. Norbert Hoffmann from Seefeld in Tirol, Austria
  73. Shane Stever from Rexburg, Idaho, US
  74. Loren Tsang from Marietta, Georgia, US WITHDREW
  75. Christian L'amoureux from US
  76. Rhett Jaramillo
  77. Julie Newdoll from San Carlos, CA

Welcome, everyone!

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Comment by Michael Ashjian on November 30, 2014 at 3:07pm

Dear All,

THANK YOU for this great circle of sharing and collaboration: It is so beautiful. Thank you to Mrs.Colleen Chenail and to Mr.Thomas Swenson for their wonderful performance of my "Tango Attraction", first time in the States !

My deepest gratitude to precious Mrs.Harris and all the Virtual Artists' team, for their everlasting  efforts , to create all the chances we need to be motivated and encouraged...

God Bless,


Comment by Harmonia on November 29, 2014 at 9:51pm

Attention Simply Stunning composers!   All the performances and discussions from the morning session of the September Symposium are now posted at www.VirtualArtists.tv.   This includes the performances of eight of the shortlist winners from Simply Stunning.  Hope you enjoy listening and hearing the discussions!   Thanks again for all the great music.  

Comment by Michael Ashjian on August 10, 2014 at 5:15pm

We are ALL waiting for the wonderful date: THANK YOU for all of your efforts...

Comment by SoftDesigns on August 10, 2014 at 4:00pm

We're very excited about the Symposium which will take place on September 13, 2014, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina:   Violins and Videos   The "Violins" portion of the program will premiere short list winners from "Simply Stunning" and the "Videos" portion will feature the new film scores that win the "Remix 2014" competition.  We'll discuss writing and performing 21st-century chamber music and music for media.  A distinguished panel of performers, teachers, composers and students will respond to audience questions, and perhaps ask some of their own.  Please come join us if you can! 

Comment by Harmonia on July 9, 2014 at 1:28pm

Update:  CDs mailed today to our composers whose pieces were premiered on the May 10 concert.  More news coming soon:

  • Feedback and Reviews of your pieces
  • September Symposium featuring Simply Stunning short list winners and Remix2014 competition winners
Comment by Michael Ashjian on June 21, 2014 at 6:22pm

I'm so impatient...It will be a real delight to watch it.

Keep on the good news ! 

Best Regards

Comment by Harmonia on June 21, 2014 at 3:30pm

Update:  Our videographer landed a coveted part in the Raleigh Little Theater's production of "Blithe Spirit" and is playing to a sold-out house every night.  That's why the video of our May 10 concert is taking a little longer than expected.  In spite of his exciting theater schedule, he delivered the first edits to me and now it's my turn!   Hope to have them ready soon.  Sorry for the delay.

Comment by Harmonia on May 25, 2014 at 11:19pm

Thank you Michael and Kenji for your kind words.  I have the first pictures from the concert, but don't have the video yet.  Our videographer is doing edits now and will have it ready soon. 

Kenji, I must tell you - your piece was probably the biggest "hit" on the program - even more so than the gorgeous Rachmaninoff Vocalise!  Our last three pieces were Bloch's Prayer from Jewish Life (viola and piano), Roger Zare's lovely Maroon Bells (violin and piano) and your Au Revoir (violin and piano).  I asked that the audience refrain from applause between these pieces so that the set of three could create a spacious meditation of sonority and beauty.  By the time we finished Au Revoir there was hardly a dry eye in the house and the few minutes of silence that preceded the applause was so moving.  I have asked several people in the last two weeks what piece was their favorite and every one of them said either "Au Revoir" or "the last three pieces".  I hope all that wonderful energy comes through on the recording.

Michael, it will be your turn next!  I'm now in the planning and preparation stage for the summer/fall concerts which will feature the other eight short listed pieces, including your wonderful Tango!  I'll keep all of you posted as the plans proceed.  I'm so looking forward to hearing all eleven pieces performed and to sharing in the audience's enjoyment.

Comment by Kenji Fujimura on May 25, 2014 at 9:43pm

Dear all,

I am delighted to hear that the concert went well! It is a pity that I was unable to be present, but I do look forward to viewing any audio/video which may have been recorded on the night. A big thank you to the judging panel too!

Warmest regards,


Comment by Michael Ashjian on May 25, 2014 at 6:24pm

Dear Judges of The Simply Stunning Competition,

Sorry for my belated comment but I didn't want to write before reading in details about each and every one of you and only today I found plenty of time to do that.

What can I say, it is really great happiness to get to know all of you through your great achievements  and a big honor to know that my music was chosen by musicians so professional and unique, as each one of you are...

God bless you all and hope we'll remain CONNECTED through our love of Music and our everlasting search for Beauty...

Sincerely yours,

Michael Ashjian

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