Opportunities

Finding opportunities as a composer can be difficult and competitive at the best of times. We thought we’d list some annual UK-based opportunities that some composers we’ve featured have found integral to their development as artists. This is by no means an exhaustive list; if you’re a music organisation and would like your opportunity listed here, get in touch — we’d love to hear from you.

All of the opportunities below adhere to Sound and Music’s Fair Access Principles. If you’re unfamiliar with these, please give them a read and understand why they’re important.

Annual opportunities

• Royal Philharmonic Society Composers Programme: a year-long dedicated programme for composers, offering a commission, premiere, and a year of professional development, alongside other professional opportunities and mentoring. Applications tend to open at the beginning of the year, with the deadline in spring. Past recipients include Rylan GleaveAndrew Chen, and Alex Paxton
Applications for the Royal Philharmonic Society Composers Programme 2024 are now open: applications close 24 March 2023. Learn more and apply

• Sound and Music’s artist development programmes supports a diverse range of composers through opportunities such as New VoicesAdopt a Music CreatorComposer-Curator, the Francis Chagrin Award grant, and more. Applications are spread out throughout the year, with New Voices usually closing in the summer. Past participants include Ben NobutoFraz Ireland, and Nneka CumminsLearn more

 The London Symphony Orchestra offers a wide variety of artist development opportunities, with programmes including the Panufnik Composers SchemeLSO Soundhub, and Jerwood Composer+. Applications are spread out throughout the year, with the Panufnik scheme usually closing in January. Past participants include Robert Crehan and Emma-Kate MatthewsLearn more

• Psappha’s Composing For… programme: a series of schemes supporting up to 24 composers per year to write a new, five-minute piece for Psappha’s players or guest instrumentalists. Applications usually open in the summer, with the deadline in either late summer or early autumn. Past recipients include Kat WallaceJake Adams, and Atefeh EinaliLearn more

 The London Philharmonic Orchestra Young Composers Programme aims to support the progression of talented orchestral composers, creating a new work for chamber orchestra to premiere with the LPO. Applications for the 23/24 programme will open in spring 2023. Past recipients include Sun Keting and Alex Tay.
Applications for the LPO Young Composers Programme 2023/24 are now open: applications close 10 March 2023. Learn more and apply

 The Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme hosts a variety of courses supporting the development of emerging artists including composers, singers, pianists, and chamber ensembles. Past participants include Jasmine Morris and Emily Hazrati
Applications for the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme 2023-24 are now open: applications close 16 February 2023. Learn more and apply

• Britten Sinfonia operate two artist development opportunities for composers — Opus 1 and Magnum Opus — aimed at composers of differing levels of professional experience and establishment. Applications for Opus 1 tend to open in the spring; applications for Magnum Opus take place every two years. Past participants include Aileen SweeneyLearn more

• National Youth Choirs of Great Britain Young Composers programme supports the professional development of composers aged 18-30 in writing for choir. Applications usually take place from spring to summer. Past participants include Ben NobutoClaire Victoria Roberts, and Sun KetingLearn more

 Cheltenham Festival’s Cheltenham Composer Academy: a week-long course for emerging composers, developing a piece with a resident ensemble to premiere at Cheltenham Music Festival. Applications tend to open in the spring. We spoke with the participants of Cheltenham Composer Academy 2021 about their music and experiences at the Academy — learn more about their approaches here.
Applications for Cheltenham Composer Academy 2023 are now open: applications close 1 March 2023. Learn more and apply

 The International Society of Contemporary Music runs an annual call for works as part of the ISCM World Music Days Festival. The British contingent is run by Sound and Music; composers based in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are also eligible to submit pieces in their own categories.
Applications to submit for ISCM World Music Days 2023 are now open: applications close 27 February 2023. Learn more and apply

Further resources

 The Sound and Music Opportunities page is a resource of opportunities for emerging composers, featuring commissions, collaborative work, jobs, and much more: https://soundandmusic.org/opportunities/

 The Ulysses-Network is a hub and network for European composers, focusing on EU-based calls and opportunities: https://www.ulysses-network.eu/

• The Composers’ Site is the predominant resource for calls for scores, composing opportunities, commissions, courses, and more: http://composerssite.com/ 

header image: Jeremy Rosenstock performing ‘Twenty stones, after Bergson’ at Taverna Maderna, Lavarone, Italy, September 2022. Photo by Giordano De Nisi. Learn more about Jeremy Rosenstock

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