Luba Zuk Piano Duo Composition Prize

The Luba Zuk Piano Duo Composition Prize was established in 2016 by Luba Zuk, LMus 1957, long-time professor of piano at McGill University and member of the Luba and Ireneus Zuk Piano Duo recognized for commissioning and performing new works, especially by Canadian and Ukrainian composers.

The Prize is awarded annually to an outstanding undergraduate or graduate student in composition in the School for the completion of a work for piano duo. Preference will be given to a work that includes references to Ukrainian or Canadian culture, landscape, history or experience. Prize value: $2,000.

Application deadline

April 16, 2022

Application process

Email your application to the chris.harman [at] (subject: Luba%20Zuk%20Piano%20Duo%20Composition%20Prize) (Composition Area Coordinator). Include:

  • One score of a work for piano (with recording, if available)
  • One score of a work of your choosing (with recording, if available)
  • Curriculum vitae (max. 3 pages)
  • Catalogue of works
  • List of recent performances
  • Letter of intention describing the proposed work

Amount and disbursement of funds

The winner receives:

  • A $2,000 commission for a composition for piano duo. A public performance of the piece will be held by the School at its discretion within two years of the completion of the composition.

The funds are awarded in two installments:

  • Half on receipt of the prize.
  • Half on submission of the final score, once this has been determined to meet acceptable professional standards by the Chair of the Composition Area or delegate and a member of the Piano Area.


This annual competition is open to composers registered as McGill students at the application deadline.

Selection process

A judging panel is formed by the Dean and includes:

  • Three members of the Composition Area
  • A member of the Piano Area
  • One external member
  • The Dean (or delegate) as president of the jury

The judging panel’s decision is final.

Award acceptance requirements

If you are awarded this prize, you must:

  • Clearly describe the technical requirements if your work involves electronics, and be responsible for providing technical support in collaboration with the Digital Composition Studios. 
  • Be responsible for the creation of all performance materials.
  • Grant the Schulich School of Music the rights to the first performance and recording (non-commercial) of the work, for five years following the awarding of the prize.
  • Acknowledge the Luba Zuk Piano Duo Composition Prize and the Schulich School of Music of McGill University on the title page of the score and in future program notes for performances and recordings.
  • Allow the Schulich School of Music and McGill University to promote this prize by publishing your name, biography and image as well as to publish audio and video recordings of performances of the work by university ensembles for non-commercial purposes in any media in perpetuity. A formal agreement to this effect must be signed. 
  • Provide one full copy of the score and parts to the Marvin Duchow Music Library.

Criteria for final work

  • Instrumentation: two pianos
  • Works may include electronics (see acceptance requirements)
  • Duration: around 10 minutes
  • Original score (unpublished and unperformed at time of submission)
  • Professional-quality performance materials
  • High standard of compositional technique and artistic value
  • Appropriate for performance by Schulich School of Music students

Timeline for preparing the composition

The prize is awarded annually in the winter term.

  • By fall term of the same calendar year, submit the score (for example, if you are awarded the prize in April 2017, deliver the score in Fall 2017).
  • Once the composition has been completed, it will be performed within two years.

About Luba Zuk

Ukrainian-born, Canadian pianist and educator Luba Zuk is a graduate of McGill University, the Conservatoire de Musique de la Province de Québec in Montreal and the Ukrainische Freie Universitåt (UFU) in Munich. She studied also at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and at the University of Alberta Banff School of Fine Arts. Currently she is an Associate Professor (part-time) at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. Professor Zuk is also active as a lecturer and piano clinician, as external examiner and curriculum consultant for state music academies in Ukraine, and as adjudicator at Canadian and international music festivals and competitions.

Luba Zuk’s solo and ensemble performances have been broadcast on CBC Radio, Radio-Canada International and Ukrainian State Radio and Television. She has performed also on Austrian Radio (ORF) and Polish National Radio. Luba Zuk has a special interest in music by Ukrainian composers and has given first performances in North America of their numerous solo and chamber works. Her doctoral dissertation and her ongoing research focus on piano works by composers of Ukrainian origin residing in Canada and the USA. Luba Zuk has performed internationally in solo recitals, as a member of the Luba and Ireneus Zuk piano duo, and with chamber ensembles. She presented solo recitals in major cities in Austria, Canada and the USA. Her performances with the Zuk Piano duo have taken her throughout North America, Europe and the Far East. The duo actively promotes Canadian and Ukrainian music and has recorded for the RCI-ACM, SNE and other labels.

Under the auspices of the Department of External Affairs of Canada, the Zuk Duo undertook an extensive European tour in 1982, performing music exclusively by Canadian composers. Their second European tour took them to Austria, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, and Scotland. In 1986, the International Year of Canadian Music, the Zuk Duo played concerts at Canadian universities across Canada. Luba and Ireneus Zuk have performed regularly at international music festivals in Europe and in major music centers throughout Ukraine. They have also participated frequently in international conferences of the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) presenting recitals or lecture-recitals in Graz, Nicosia, London, Tallinn, Budapest, Ljubljana, Oslo, and Lwiw. More recently, on invitation of the Chinese Ministry of Culture, Luba and Ireneus Zuk performed concerts and gave master classes across China. In 2012, the Canadian Embassy invited Luba and Ireneus Zuk to perform recitals in Rabat, capital of Morocco, as part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Critics have hailed the duo’s performances with headlines, such as, e.g.  “Excellent Duo from Canada” Neue Zeit, Graz, Austria; “First Class Musicianship Makes Concert for Two Pianos a Delight” The Whig-Standard, Canada; “Duet Playing at its Best” Kisalföld, Györ, Hungary. "...Luba and Ireneus Zuk played with glitter, delicacy, and shape." The Scotsman, Edinburgh.

The government of Ukraine honoured Luba Zuk with the award of a medal and the title "Merited Artist of Ukraine". The Ukrainian Canadian Congress bestowed on her the Shevchenko Medal in recognition of her promotion of music by Canadian and Ukrainian composers.


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