In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores

About the Contest

At age 33, Hilary Hahn has already made a lasting impact on the violin repertoire, premiering a concerto by Jennifer Higdon in addition to another by Edgar Meyer and championing both well- and lesser-known works in performance and recording. Beginning in the 2011-12 season, Hahn delves deeper into the world of contemporary classical music, commissioning over two dozen composers to write short-form pieces for acoustic violin and piano. She tours these new works over the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, then will record them. The project is called In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores. 26 composers from 17 countries around the world have been commissioned; the final, 27th composer has been selected from entries to HilaryHahnContest.com.

The idea for In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores began to take shape nearly a decade ago, when Hahn noticed that new encore pieces were not being showcased as much as other types of contemporary works. Shorter pieces remain a crucial part of every violinist’s education and repertoire, and Hahn believed potential new favorites should be encouraged and performed as well. Hahn writes, “My initial goal was to expand the encore genre to embrace works of different styles. Because I was planning to play the commissioned pieces myself, it was important that the composers’ writing spoke to me in some way. I listened to a lot of contemporary classical music, for hours on end, often late into the night. I loved hearing things I had never heard before. When I cold-called composers to ask them to participate, I wasn’t sure what the reactions would be, but so many people were receptive that the project gained exhilarating momentum. Of course, no one person can canvas all of the music being written today. I may have missed terrific composers in the course of my research; there are also many student or amateur composers whose work doesn’t get heard as often as it might deserve.” To that end, she created In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores

Submissions for the contest were received on the contest site from November 15, 2011 to March 15, 2012. 409 entries were received, in the form of a PDF plus a synthesized audio file. A project assistant removed all identifying markings from the scores, to make the entries anonymous, and Hahn was the only judge, reviewing all entries over three months. The result was announced on HilaryHahn.com and on Hahn’s Facebook page, as well as on her YouTube channel, Hilary Hahn Videos, on June 15, 2012. For every entry submitted, $2 was donated to the music programs of Dramatic Need, an international charity dedicated to bringing the creative arts to underprivileged children.

  • One entry — the winner — received:
  • complete inclusion in the Encores project,
  • premieres around the world in the 2012-13 season
  • a spot on the recording of the project (to be released in 2014)
  • posting of the composer’s name on HilaryHahn.com

Up to ten Honorable Mentions will receive mention on HilaryHahn.com and on Hahn’s Facebook page, and a performance by Hahn before December 2015.

The first 26 composers in the project, in alphabetical order, are:

Franghiz Ali-Zadeh
Lera Auerbach
Richard Barrett
Mason Bates
Tina Davidson
David Del Tredici
Avner Dorman
Søren Nils Eichberg
Antón García Abril
Jennifer Higdon
Christos Hatzis
James Newton Howard
Bun-Ching Lam
David Lang
Paul Moravec
Nico Muhly
Michiru Oshima
Kala Ramnath
Einojuhani Rautavaara
Max Richter
Somei Satoh
Elliott Sharp
Valentin Silvestrov
Mark Anthony Turnage
Gillian Whitehead
Du Yun

Goals of the Contest

  • To give equal opportunity for participation in this project, which is intended to showcase the range of contemporary music being written today
  • To create a positive environment in which new encores are being written even when they are not commissioned from particular composers
  • To encourage everyone interested in expressing themselves musically to compose
  • To raise awareness of creativity in the arts

Rules & Regulations

  • The competition was open to composers of all nationalities, with no age restrictions.
  • No entry fee
  • Compositions submitted must incorporate both acoustic violin and piano, and nothing else, and should not involve any form of electronic or pre-recorded sounds or vocalizations.
  • The compositions must be between 1.5 and 5 minutes in length. Only completed works will be considered.
  • Each entry must be original music written by the composer, and only one entry per composer is allowed. If more than one entry is submitted, that composer will be disqualified.
  • No changes may be made once a piece is submitted. The Grand Prize winner will have a chance to make small revisions once the piece is chosen.
    The submitted compositions must be written specifically for this project and not submitted to any other contest, and must not have been performed, published, or recorded in any form.
  • All submissions must have been submitted to this site by March 15, 2012.

The Grand Prize winner and possible Honorable Mentions will be posted on the site as of June 15, 2012. At that time, only the composers posted will have been contacted for further collaboration.

Any entry delivered through any channel besides that which is designated for this purpose will be immediately disqualified. Hilary Hahn, contest staff and organizers, judges, and any other performers involved in the outcome of the contest, are not eligible to enter this contest. If rules are found after the announcement of any prize winning piece to have been broken by said piece or that piece’s composer, the prize will be publicly rescinded and a new winner announced. Submissions must be written solely by the composer submitting the piece. The use of copyright material is prohibited. Plagiarism is defined as taking and using another person’s ideas, writings, or inventions as one’s own. Plagiarized entries will be disqualified.

Hahn chose the final Grand Prize and Honorable Mention pieces based on multiple factors. Although many quality pieces may be reviewed, winning space is extremely limited.


  • Copyright to all works remains with the composers. By submitting their works, however, the composers grant to Hilary Hahn and her administrative associates the right to post the title of the piece and the composer’s name online; to perform and promote the work; and to record, release, promote, and distribute any form of recording of the piece. Participating composers agree that Hilary Hahn and contest staff cannot be held accountable for violations of copyright that may occur.
  • All reasonable efforts will be made to safeguard the entrants’ personal information provided through this website. However, should the information be compromised, Hahn and her associates cannot be held responsible.
  • By submitting a composition, entrants have agreed to grant exclusive performing and recording rights to Hahn through the end of June 2015, whether or not that piece is selected for a prize. Entrants guarantee the piece will not be published until that time.
  • The decision on winning pieces cannot be appealed. By agreeing to take part in the contest, all competitors undertake to accept and not contest these decisions.
  • Hahn reserves the right to modify a piece for performance. Good faith efforts will be made to work with the composer on the proposed adjustments.

Many thanks to everyone who participated!