The SYN(es)THESIS Project – Third International Composition Competition

The Pancho Vladigerov House Museum, in collaboration with the Sofia Opera and Ballet and “Classic FM” Radio – Sofia, is pleased to announce the Third International SYN(es)THESIS Composition Competition!
The competition is open in two categories:

  • Category 1: Musical composition, inspired by a painting.

Participants have the opportunity to choose one of 40 pre-selected paintings and write a musical work inspired by the painting.

  • Category 2: Music to a scene in the genre of “shadow theatre”.

Participants have the opportunity to write music to a pre-selected scene performed by artists of the experimental Bulgarian troupe “Unseen Theatre”.

Rules of the competition and its categories:

In Category 1 of the competition, composers can choose a painting from a selection of over 50 works to serve as inspiration for their composition. The paintings were created by young artists studying at the National Academy of Art in Sofia in the previous sessions of the SYN(es)THESIS Project and are, in turn, inspired by other musical compositions. Category requirements: All compositions in this category must be 3-8 minutes in length and must be written for any combination (from solo works up to an ensemble of 6 performers) of the following voices and instruments (only one performer per instrument or voice):

Soprano (1), tenor (1), clarinet (1), violin (1), viola (1), cello (1), and piano (1).

In Category 2, composers are required to write music to a pre-selected scene in the genre of “shadow theatre”. The scene (approx. 5 min.) is performed by two artists of the unconventional Bulgarian troupe “Unseen theatre”, which is the only presently active troupe (in or outside of Bulgaria) comprising of people with blindness. The members of the troupe were recruited and trained by Prof. Dr. Velimir Velev (National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts – NATFIZ, Sofia) as part of the program of the “School for Vision” in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Composers can use the same ensemble options as in the previous category for their musical setting – from 1 up to 6 performers from the list above: soprano, tenor, piano, violin, viola, cello, and clarinet.

In the cases of inclusion of vocal parts with text in the compositions, the following languages may be used: English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Russian, and Bulgarian. The text(s), whether chosen or newly written, must be freely available for use, or with arranged copyright claims.

Registration: Due to the nature of the project, participation will be granted to candidates only after they register. All participants must send an e-mail
Here you can download the competition registration form: SYN(es)THESIS REG. FORM

Upon registration, the SYN(es)THESIS team will send a link to a folder with images of all paintings (for category 1) and a link to the video recording of the “shadow theatre” performance. In category 1, each participant will have to claim a painting, and each painting will be taken down once it has been claimed by 2 participants. Therefore, participants are encouraged to contact the competition staff as early as possible.

Upon request, it is possible for a participant to claim 2 paintings (for 2 different compositions) or to register for both category 1 and category 2.

No registration fee is required.

Eligibility: The competition is open to participants of any nationality and age.

Submission deadline: October 15, 2023

All entries must be submitted anonymously (scores cannot include the name of the participant), using a chosen pseudonym or the registration number given by the SYN(es)THESIS Project staff upon registration for the competition.

8-10 works (from both categories combined) will be selected to be performed at the Gala Concert of the Finalists, which will take place on December 10 at the Chamber Hall of the Sofia Opera and Ballet.


Category 1 – Winner: 1200 lv.

Catogory 1 – Runner-up: 600 lv.

Category 2 – Winner: 1000 lv.

Category 2 – Runner-up: 500 lv.

Special Prize of “Classic FM” Radio – Sofia (open to participants in both categories): 800 lv.


All registration requests and further inquiries should be directed to:

Note: Registration will be considered complete once the participant signs, scans, and submits the first page of the competition registration form (the second page is to be submitted together with the submission of the competition entry).


The SYN(es)THESIS Project aims to build  a bridge between the arts through a multitude of interconnections, mutual influences, and the juxtaposition of perceptions and experiences. Previous sessions of the project have involved components such as the creation of paintings inspired by classical music, joint musical performances with pantomime, the composition of musical works inspired by paintings, and the writing of music to film and dance scenes.


The current session of the SYN(es)THESIS Project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria.