Arrangements and transcriptions flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were the means by which amateur musicians could enjoy great operas, oratorios, symphonies, songs, string quartets, etc. With the advent of recordings and overzealousness for "authenticity," arrangements and transcriptions have fallen somewhat out of favor. In some festivals and competitions they are even disallowed, for fear that students will play tacky, watered-down versions of the great masterworks. We have, as they say, "thrown the baby out with the bath water." We seek to encourage a renewed zeal for tasteful arrangements and transcriptions by offering this award.

Note: This prize category could conceivably be a jazz/pop/rag work; it would be up to the judges and/or the festival Director to decide if the piece played can be defined as a transcription or arrangement. (In a sense, all jazz is "arranging," but we would want to see that the arranging is more than simply a standard jazz piano rendition.)

If in doubt, contact Dr. Houle

If an original transcription or arrangement is played, judges evaluate the quality of both the performance and the transcription/arrangement itself.

For lots of great ideas for repertory, check your library for:

The Pianist's Guide to Transcriptions, Arrangements and Paraphrases by Maurice Hinson, 1990, ISBN 0-253-32745-8, Indiana University Press.

For more ideas, contact:

Dr. Koji Attwood, piano faculty, Gifted Music School, Salt Lake City, UT (he has written many outstanding transcriptions in the grand tradition of the 19th century): His transcriptions are published by Abundant Silence.

Dr. Walden Hughes of Northwest Nazarene University (he has also written many arrangements and transcriptions): WDHughes@NNU.EDU.

Did you know that Franz Liszt's famous "Liebesträume: Drei Notturnos" are Liszt's own transcriptions of his own songs? Any of these -- including the most famous "Liebesträume #3 in A-Flat Major -- would qualify for this prize category!


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