OPEN CALL »Sonic Experiments«

DJane at the desk with illuminated background

Submission for the »Sonic Experiments« scholarship is closed.

With »Sonic Experiments«, the ZKM | Hertz-Lab awards scholarship for composers having a focus area in the field of electronic music and sound art as part of its artist-in-residency program.


The ZKM | Hertz-Labor offers international composers and artists the opportunity to apply in three different categories/genres and submit project proposals to realize new works. All works can be audiovisual. The categories/genres that can be selected include: 

  • Ambient 
  • Noise 
  • Drone 

The following modes of realization and presentation can be chosen for all three categories: 

  • Composition for live electronics 
  • Mixed Music (acoustic instruments in combination with electronics) 
  • Experimental performance with prominent electronic music or sound component 
  • Live coding
  • Acousmatic
  • Fixed media 

For multichannel acousmatic or audiovisual fixed media works that use spatial sound as a design tool and are conceived for performance in the ZKM_Sound Dome, the free spatialization software »Zirkonium« developed at ZKM can be used, but does not have to be.

We want to represent the diversity in the field of electronic music as entirely as possible. Thus, the competition is open to composers and sound artists of all ages from all people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, cultural, ethnic and social background. We are looking forward to a high heterogeneity of applicants.

Production conditions

The duration of the residency for realizing the production at ZKM | Karlsruhe should be 4 weeks. Possible dates for the residencies are between mid-September and the presentation at the end of October 2023 and will be arranged individually. The duration of the work to be realized should be 10 to 20 minutes. The works produced during the residency are expected be premiered in a concert on October 27 at the ZKM_Cube in the presence of the composers. 

The residencies will be held in the studios of the ZKM, each of which has multichannel monitoring (horizontal speaker circle). In addition, there is access to our minidome with its dome-shaped loudspeaker array. The concert hall ZKM_Cube also has a dome-shaped loudspeaker array, the ZKM_Sound Dome. Further information on the technical equipment of the rooms available for residencies and presentations can be found here. Guest artists will receive a detailed introduction to the ZKM infrastructure and, if needed, to the sound spatialization software »Zirkonium«. 

On top of that, we offer temporary access to a powerful AI computer. The residents should then be able to realize their projects independently. 

Financial conditions

The amount of the scholarships is € 1,500 each for the entire duration of the residency. All costs for the realization of the musical work as well as the accommodation for the period of the stay will be paid by the scholarship holders from this amount. For the one-time travel to Karlsruhe and back, travel expenses can be reimbursed up to a maximum amount of € 600, taking into account the applicable travel expenses law.

Conditions of participation

The following is required for submission:

  • Short summary of the project idea to be realized (max. 1.500 characters including spaces).
  • Project description with indication of the corresponding submission category ambient, noise or drone (max. 5.000 characters including spaces)
  • Short list of the technical means required for the production
  • Detailed biography with information on artistic education and career (max. 1,000 characters including spaces) and contact details
  • If possible, at least professional portrait photo in landscape format (min. 300 dpi) with photo credits. The photo(s) must be freely and unrestrictedly usable for internal and external press work.
  • 3 music samples not older than 3 years to illustrate the artistic work to date. Of these, 1 piece should serve as representative with regard to the application (please indicate »_main_piece« at the end of its file name). The other two pieces to be submitted will serve as additional illustration of the artistic creation.
  • Please submit the music samples as audio file (.mp3 with 320 kbps, multichannel files optional) or as video files of the complete work(s) (1920x1080 px, h264 codec, 50 fps, .mov or .mp4)
  • Supplementary material to the submitted music samples such as scores or documentary image files are welcome to be included

Complete applications may be submitted up to and including July 16, 23:59 CEST via email to exclusively with a customized email subject using the template »Sonic Experiments 2023, submission category/genre, last name« in a PDF file up to 5 MB in size. Please upload accompanying audio, images, and video material online to a file hosting service of your choice and include the non-expiring download link in the PDF file with your application materials. Incomplete applications will not be considered in the selection process.

By sending us your application documents, you are providing us with personal data. We take the protection of your personal data very seriously and have therefore taken measures to ensure that the regulations on data protection are observed.