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Christoph Cech wins "Spheres of a Genius - Honoring Leonard Bernstein“

Christoph Cech, Austrian composer and professor for jazz arrangement and composition at the Anton Bruckner Privatuniversität in Linz wins the international composition competition "Spheres of a Genius - Honoring Leonard Bernstein“ 

Almost 100 applicants from numerous nations on different countries and continents applied. The extremely high quality of many submissions meant an intensive work and decision-making process for the jury members Marin Alsop, Christoph Becher, Bill Dobbins and Marcus Ratka. We would like to thank all applicants for their participation and congratulate the winners on this outstanding success.


  • 1st prize: Christoph Cech (A) 
  • 2nd prize: Florin Gorgos (RO)
  • 3rd prizes: Gabriel Evens (USA), Adam Jones (USA), Dmytro Malyi (UKR)


Sphere of a Genius, founded by Marcus Ratka in 2017, is jazz composition competition by JAM MUSIC LAB University in cooperation with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. The prize-winning work will be premiered on October 8th, 2021 in the Grand Hall of the Konzerthaus Vienna under the direction of chief conductor Marin Alsop. The concert will be recorded by ORF and broadcasted on the Ö1 program.


As an artist, Bernstein built bridges in Vienna, and in great cities everywhere. His intelligence, charm, wit, and unimpeachable musical instincts brought people together – musicians and music lovers alike. He mediated between different musical worlds - borrowing freely from contemporary styles like jazz, blues and popular music - then shaped a “classical” sound that became his signature.

Because of his Jewish background, Bernstein held ambivalent views towards Vienna. He forged positive experiences with artists and orchestras, ever mindful of the city’s history with National Socialism.

The task of the composition competition relates to the role of Leonard Bernstein as a composer. The winning piece shall succeed in transferring the impulses given by Bernstein towards composed music beyond stylistic barriers into a demanding musical language of the 21st century and shall especially consider the ways in which Bernstein discussed jazz in the concert hall and included jazz elements in his own work

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Authored on July 5th, 2021