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The Modern Micro-Kosmos Project




The Mikrokosmos are best known as a collection of miniature piano works by the famed Hungarian composer, pianist, and ethnomusicologist Béla Bartók (1881–1945).  Along with Franz Lizst, he is considered one of Hungary’s greatest composers, and the Mikrokosmos stand as a unique merging of his varied interests in all three fields: piano performance, composition, and ethnomusicology.  


The Mikrokosmos, which vary in difficulty from easy to advanced, were popular as miniature piano “etudes” or standalone pieces.  The translation of Mikro-Kosmos is “Micro-Cosmos”, or ‘mini worlds’’.  Though the pieces are short, they require technique valuable to every level of piano study and are beautiful miniature compositions that stand alone in the repertoire, highlighting Bartok’s unique cross-disciplinary interests that merge folk music with modern composition.

Reaching back to our beautifully rich classical tradition but looking forward, the Bold City Contemporary Ensemble is inspired to create a collection of “Modern Mikrokosmos” books and audio-visual recordings for a wide variety of instruments through its collaboration with university/conservatory composition departments nationwide.  We call it the “ModMik” Project for short!




It is our hope that these “mini” compositions, approximately 1 minute in length, will explore the technical possibility and beauty of each instrument in our ensemble. Through working with BCCE musicians to develop outstanding miniature compositions we aim to publish a series of works useful to performers world-wide.  Through dialogue with the highly trained professional instrumentalists of BCCE, composers will develop expert knowledge of how to write for the chosen instrument.  We hope that what composers learn about idiosyncrasies for each individual instrument can be shared within their composition studio as a substantial project that contributes to their education.  BCCE welcomes open discussion between performers, young composers, and professors.  


Rather than exclusively work with established composers, we are committed to help develop emerging voices within University Departments and Schools of Music nationwide. Because BCCE musicians are able to both guide composition per instrument and treat the student as a working professional, we hope the project serves as a launching pad for future collaboration between the student and performers.


As an Ensemble, BCCE endeavors to use the rich tradition of classical music to advance and promote a wide range of modern, diverse, and inspiring musical styles and voices.


End Result:


Submission of a composition through the project will be in tandem with university/conservatory programs.  The participating students will have regular access to the BCCE musicians they choose to compose for and work with, and it’s our hope that the process will be collaborative and develop long term personal and professional relationships.  The cumulation of the project will give the student a high quality video and audio recording of their submitted work and a medium through which to share their work with instrumental faculty across the nation and abroad. Because we greatly value the working relationship between composer and performer, the project will provide the composition student  the knowledge and understanding of how to write for the chosen instrument, and a clearer picture as to how notation can successfully translate to performance--a common goal in every composition program We will gather compositions per instrument to publish as part of a book per instrument, with the composer’s permission.




University composition departments or professors may choose who participates and for which instrument each composer writes.  We prefer that no two students from the same program write for the same instrument.  The following instruments are available for selection:




Alto saxophone



French horn 









Percussion - Standard percussion instruments. Mallet instruments available: vibraphone, glockenspiel, marimba, ( 4.3 octaves)


BCCE retains the right to publish the audio/video of each piece, to record in future, and to publish the etudes for free download on our website in a digital book format. 

 We will share the work on our permanent social media channels with a link to the composer’s website if provided.



From receipt of the work, the BCCE musician will work with the composer and composition professor for a period of no more than one month.  We expect and encourage prompt communication and will be as diligent in our work and efforts as the student’s are.  It is our hope that this helps to establish both personal and professional working relationships.  We prefer the project launches and completes with each department or school within a one-month period from receipt of the work, and that all works are received within a timeframe set by the faculty or ensemble. 




BCCE seeks funding of $200 per participating student.  This fee covers several working hours between the BCCE musician, the composer, and professors.  It also includes the audio-visual recording, permanent hosting of the work on the BCCE website for wide-distribution, and publishing fees if the composer elects to participate.  However, we understand that it is a unique and difficult time for departments and schools nationwide, so if there is an interest in participating with lack of funding, we welcome conversation and alternate arrangements that benefit both your program, the students, and BCCE. If you are a composer

For more information, please contact a Bold City musician or write to  We look forward to working with you.

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