Composing the Future

Central to the work of Piano+ is the continuous expansion and evolution of the repertoire available for solo piano, particularly repertoire written by Australian composers. 

There is a great wealth of compositional talent in Australia. By unearthing new composers, premiering their works by eminent soloists and offering a significant cash prize, Piano+ ensures that contemporary Australian repertoire is brought to prominence locally and internationally.  

Australian composers are invited to submit a new or unpublished solo piano piece for consideration by a panel of eminent Australian pianists, to be announced. The panel will select a winning work, which will be awarded $20,000 and receive a world premiere in 2025/2026. In addition, up to five other entries will be awarded public performances by the jury pianists during 2025/2026. 


Piano+ has a history of commissioning renowned Australian composers to write works to be played by all competitors in the Competition. In 2016, Artistic Director Piers Lane AO decided, while making the performance of an Australian work the only compulsory requirement in the solo rounds of The Sydney, to make the choice of that work entirely the competitors’ own, hoping that a wider range of Australian works would be explored and performed, meaning greater variety for broadcast and internet streaming and an ensuing better knowledge of the range of Australian music for home and international audiences. He also hoped that, if competitors researched and learned a work of their own choosing, they would be encouraged to continue performing the work long after the competition itself. An example of the success of this approach is the American pianist Lindsay Garritson: her discovery of Carl Vine’s Toccatissimo in 2016 (coincidentally composed as a commission for an earlier edition of The Sydney) led to her commissioning his fourth Sonata and subsequently recording an entire cd of his music.

The aims of the Composing the Future project are manifold: to continue the tradition of Piano+ encouraging new Australian piano compositions, albeit in a new way; to enlarge the Australian repertoire for solo piano; to encourage composers to write works appealing to performers for whatever reason; to encourage composers to write for a medium that allows for easily achieved repeat performances and access to international audiences; and to encourage performers to support the composers of their own time.




The Jury will be announced on this website early in 2024. 

Register Your Interest

Applications open on Monday 22 April 2024. Register your interest in applying here and we will send you a reminder when entry forms are available.

You've already registered!


Eligibility and Applications

1. Eligibility

  1. The Composing the Future Competition is open to Australian composers or permanent residents of any age. 

2. Jury

  1. A jury of five eminent Australian concert pianists will be assembled.
  2. Names of jury members will be published on the website as confirmed.

3. Supporting Documents

  1. All documents must be submitted online at the time of application. 
  2. Brief biography of no less than 150 words and no more than 500 words. 
  3. Copy of current Australian passport, birth certificate or Australian Residency card, clearly showing all personal details. 
  4. Current professional photographs. Must be 300dpi resolution. Colour versions only are required. 

Competition Details

4. Online Applications

  1. Applications open Monday 22 April 2024
  2. Applications close Thursday 31 October 2024 at midday AEDT 
  3. A non-refundable application fee of AUD $110 is payable 
  4. Applications must be made online at 
  5. Once an application has been submitted NO changes can be made 
  6. Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted 
  7. All scores must be notated using electronic software and submitted as PDFs. No hand written scores will be accepted
  8. All scores must be submitted anonymously. The composer’s name must not appear anywhere on the score
  9. The applicant may choose to submit a digital recording of the score
  10. Piano+ reserves the right to request additional information as required
  11. All supporting documents must be uploaded and submitted at the time of application
  12. Supporting documents, not including proof of Australian Residency, will be used to promote Composing the Future in printed and electronic forms
  13. The applicant grants to Piano+ the right to use, for the purposes of Composing the Future, any and all submitted documents supplied during the application process and any additional materials requested, free of any rights, fees or charges.

5. Competition Rules

  1. Entrants must submit a new or unpublished work, never previously performed publicly, recorded or broadcast in any form, for solo piano. 
  2. Entrants may submit more than one work, but an entry fee is payable for each submission. 
  3. The suggested duration is between 10 and 20 minutes, though there is no minimum or maximum timing requirement. 
  4. The piece may be in any style and form – a set of preludes, a set of variations, a four-movement sonata, a fantasy on a well-known theme, a virtuoso transcription, an étude or a set of études – all and more are possible, but the work should not require electronics or a prepared piano for performance.
  5. Any applicant who knowingly gives inaccurate or misleading information will be disqualified.

6. Prizes

  1. Announcement of winners will be made in February 2025. 
  2. The first prize winner will be awarded $20,000. 
  3. In addition to a cash prize the winning piece will receive a world premiere performance in 2025/206.  
  4. Up to five other compositions receiving top commendations from the jury will receive performances during 2025/2026 from the pianists/jurors who select them.

7. Voting

Voting procedures will be detailed here in due course. 

8. Broadcast and Performance Rights

  1. The applicant grants to Piano+ the right to the first performance of a prize-winning work. 
  2. Subject to, if applicable, such rights being held by the Australasian Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS), the applicant grants to Piano+ the rights free of royalties to include their work in any recital/s by a Composing the Future pianist jury member in their 2025/2026 program/s. 
  3. The applicant grants to Piano+ the right to add a dedication to the work. 
  4. The applicant retains all commercial publication rights to their work, but grants to Piano+ the rights free of royalties to include their work in any collection of works commissioned by Piano+, for the purpose of promoting the competition(s), and/or the Arts in Sydney, Australia and Internationally.
  5. Subject to the prior rights of the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and, if applicable, AMCOS, the applicant grants to Piano+ broadcast rights to film, photograph, record, broadcast, live stream, reproduce, transmit, play, show and/or televise as part of a film, online series/platform or television documentary for the purpose of promoting the current and future competition(s), and/or the Arts in Sydney, Australia and Internationally

9.  Taxation

  1. All prize monies are taxable under the Australian Taxation Office

10. Interpretation

  1. Any interpretation or disputes arising in any part will be read as the rules and conditions contained on the official website which Piano+ reserves the right to review from time to time. 
  2. The Jury’s decision is final and binding. 
  3. There will be no appeal process and no correspondence will be entered into. 
  4. The law applicable to Piano+ and contractual and other rights shall be the law of the State of New South Wales, Australia.

Composing the Future 2021

“It is extraordinary to think there are now almost a hundred new Australian piano pieces available as a result of this competition. The range of styles was striking – something for everyone – and I hope many of the works will find performers and listeners in the near future.” Piers Lane 

Composer/pianist Colin Spiers was the inaugural first-prize winner in 2021, for his composition ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’, a work inspired by a surrealist painting. Mr Spiers’ work received a world premiere by Italian/Slovenian pianist Alexander Gadjiev, the winner of the 2021 Sydney International Online Piano Competition.  

On winning the First Prize of $20,000, he remarked: 

 ‘I would like to say what an honour it has been to receive an award in the inaugural Composing the Future. As a pianist I have always been passionate about the instrument and in expanding its already considerable repertoire. So that the opportunity this competition has provided and its close links with the Sydney International Piano Competition have been an extremely important one for the instrument’s continuing evolution both in Australia and internationally in the 21st Century.’ ‘I would like to stress that, while winning competitions is a great boost for one’s sense of self worth, in this case the opportunity that the award provides to have ones music performed by a world class pianist and actually be heard by a wider audience is even more important.’ 

The jury also awarded five additional prizes, with each work being performed by a member of the distinguished jury.  


First Prize Winner – Acceptance Video