Online application Giga-Hertz Award 2021

Submission Period March 1 – June 25, 2021

Since 2007, the ZKM | Hertz-Lab (formerly Institute for Music and Acoustics) and the SWR Experimentalstudio have awarded the annual Giga-Hertz Award for electronic music and sound art.

The Giga-Hertz Award 2021 is endowed with a total of 20,000 € in prize money. The Giga-Hertz main award for the lifetime achievement, which is 10,000 €, will be determined by suggestion from the jury and is not selected from the applications. The two internationally oriented Giga-Hertz Production Awards, each endowed with 5,000 €, serve to initiate and promote new projects and are aimed at sound artists and composers of electronic and electroacoustic music as well as mixed music.


This year, there is a topical focus on »BioMedia«, which will be relevant for at least one of the awards. Peter Weibel outlines the topic with the following words: »After the moving machines of the 19th century and the moving image media of the 20th century, the horizon of BioMedia opens up in the 21st century. We are looking for biomimetic, especially acoustic, artworks that exhibit life-like behavior, i.e., that are autogenerative, autopoietic, responsive, AI-assisted, and algorithmically controlled. Expect the Unexpected: the unexpected, the unpredictable, the unplannable, the uncontrollable can be part of the algorithmic process.«

Beyond that, applications outside of the topical focus are also welcome.

Registration starts on March 1, 2021

Online Registration

Application deadline: June 25, 2021 (23:59 CEST) .

Red plaque with "Giga-Hertz-Award" in white letters

Candidates for the Production Awards will be judged on the basis of a composition not older than five years and a proposal for a new projected work. The focus of the Production Awards is on the exceptional quality of the submitted work. The competition is advertised publicly each year and is open to composers of all ages.

In order to reflect the diversity in the field of electronic music, we explicitly call upon all persons who feel addressed by the call to apply.

All compositions submitted should meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Composition for live electronics 
  • Fixed-Media composition
  • Mixed Music
  • Audiovisual composition
  • Concert installation
  • Transmedia composition
  • Experimental sound performance
  • Interdisciplinary performance (with relevant music or sound components)

Prize Money

The Giga-Hertz Production Award includes a grant with which the winners can realize their submitted project proposal at the ZKM | Hertz-Lab in Karlsruhe or at the SWR Experimentalstudio Freiburg. Technical support and assistance from the respective studio are included in the prize money.

Winners will receive 2,000 € paid directly as a stipend, and up to 3,000 € can be used for expenses incurred during the production and premiere of the new work. The premiere of the new work will take place exclusively within the framework of the Giga-Hertz Award Festival.

The production grant will cover travel expenses to/from the studio and the world premiere, as well as room and board during the production work. These funds are used to realize a work with the help of electronics in a studio selected by the jury. The choice of the studio depends on the aesthetic orientation of the composer and the specific details of the project to be realized.

The working stay should extend to at least two months at the ZKM | Hertz-Lab or to about two to four weeks at the SWR Experimentalstudio. It is envisaged that the new work will be premiered and possibly broadcast on the radio during the Giga-Hertz Award ceremony next year. However, with regard to the winners of the Giga-Hertz Production Awards, ZKM | Karlsruhe is under no legal obligation to provide special services or to broadcast the winning works or the new projects realized with the help of the prize money on the radio.

Conditions of participation:

  • Start of online application: March 1, 2021
  • End of online application: June 25, 2021 (23:59 CEST) 

Please read the following information carefully before you enter.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

The following are required for your application:

  • Short biography with details of artistic career (max. 1000 characters incl. spaces)
  • Portrait photograph of the artist (min. 300 dpi) including credits
  • Description of the submitted work (max. 2000 characters incl. spaces), technical information about the work, and optionally, the score and image files of the work 
  • Project synopsis of a new, yet to be realized work at the ZKM | Hertz-Lab or at the SWR Experimentalstudio, as well as technical information about this work.

The application is online.

Please note:

  • The deadline for sending in the complete application is June 25, 2021 (23:59 CEST).
  • The submitted work should not be older than five years.
  • Works awarded at other prize-giving ceremonies may be submitted.
  • Works that did not win an award at the Giga-Hertz Award may be submitted again.
  • Only one piece may be submitted per composer, regardless of category!
  • Incomplete applications will not be admitted to the competition.
  • After receipt of all necessary documents, the applicants will receive an email confirming their participation.
  • All submissions will be archived, the applicants accept this archiving by their participation.
  • In the interest of all participants, the applicants (or a representative appointed by the applicant) should be reachable at the address given on the application form.
  • The award winners agree to attend the award ceremony on November 27, 2021 to receive their award in person.  
  • No other copyrighted elements may have been used in the submitted work.
  • The authors of the Production Awards guarantee the ZKM | Karlsruhe the performance, storage, excerpted use of the work for advertising in image and sound, social media, and on the homepage of the ZKM | Karlsruhe, as well as the scientific use of the work.
  • The submitted work should have been recognizably realized with the use of electronic/technical means. At the very least, the use of electronic means should be documented.
  • A recording/production/sound file of the work must be included in the application.
  • The award winners undertake to realize the works produced within the framework of the competition during a residency at the ZKM | Hertz-Lab or at the SWR Exerimentalstudio. The duration of the residency should be at least eight weeks at the ZKM | Hertz-Lab or about two to four weeks at the SWR Experimentalstudio.
  • The project synopsis may need to be modified to fit the available production resources of the respective studios.
  • Works that do not comply with the above requirements will not be admitted to the competition and will not be presented to the jury!

Employees of the organizing institutions, sponsors, awarding bodies and patrons of the Giga-Hertz Award as well as members of the jury are excluded from participating.