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Inaugural Edition


To celebrate our 10th anniversary as the Cheng² Duo, we are launching our inaugural Composer Awards!

As an ensemble, three components of our artistic mission have been fundamental to us from the beginning: collaborating with composers of our time, contributing to the expansion of classical music repertoire for cello & piano duo, and engaging the next generation.


At our Carnegie Hall recital debut in October 2011 (our first official concert as the "Cheng² Duo"), we included a work by Chinese-Canadian composer Alexina Louie as part of our program. For our return recital there the following season, we commissioned and premiered two new works by Alexina. Since then, we have collaborated with a dozen wonderful international composers to not only premiere new pieces at the National Gallery of Canada, Koerner Hall, Cornell University, and more, but also present these contemporary works to a wide range of audiences in both concert venues and schools.

These trying times have forced all of us to make pronounced changes in our lives, to re-think about what it means to be artists and musicians, and to re-invent ourselves in innovative and authentic ways. Personally, as we look back at our last ten years of development as an ensemble, we are also simultaneously envisioning the transformations that the next decade will bring.


We invite composers (residing in any country, up to the age of 28) to submit a new duo work for cello and piano. The submitted compositions must never have been (either entirely or partially) published, awarded in other competitions, performed in public concerts, recorded, or broadcasted. 

We will present digital world premieres of the Laureates' works by the end of 2021 (including scheduling workshopping with the composers), and composers will have license to use the video of the new work. Selected works will also be presented as part of future concert performances.


Eligibility: Age 28 or under as of the submission deadline (no restrictions on nationality, gender, or race). There is no fee to apply.

Instrumentation: Cello and Piano duo (equal parts strongly encouraged). Solo works will not be accepted.

*Extended techniques are welcome, except any physical tapping or hitting on the cello. Electronic sounds/improvisation/multimedia can also be used in addition to the acoustic instruments.

Duration: 3-8 minutes

Theme: "Metamorphosis"


First Laureate: $2,000
Second Laureate: $1,500
Third Laureate: $1,000
Special Young Composer’s Prize (17 & under): $500

Prizes can be split in exceptional circumstances.


Winners will be notified on or before September 30, 2021.


Submission deadline: September 1, 2021 at 11:59PM EDT

Finalists notified: on or before September 30, 2021

Digital Premieres: on or before December 31, 2021 (final date TBD in consultation with Laureates)

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