Finding opportunities as a composer can be difficult and competitive at the best of times. We thought we’d list a few annual artist development opportunities that some composers we’ve featured have found integral to their development as artists. This is by no means a comprehensive 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.
• 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 Gleave, Andrew Chen, and Lucy Armstrong. Learn more
• Sound and Music’s artist development programmes supports a diverse range of composers through opportunities such as In Motion, Adopt a Music Creator, Composer-Curator, and more. Past participants include Ben Nobuto, Fraz Ireland, and Robin Fiedler. Learn more
Registrations for Sound and Music’s inaugural In Motion programme are now open – if you are interested in applying, register on the Sound and Music website before 10 January 2024. Learn more and register
• The London Symphony Orchestra offers a wide variety of artist development opportunities, with programmes including the Panufnik Composers Scheme, LSO Soundhub, and Jerwood Composer+. Applications are spread out throughout the year, with the Panufnik scheme usually closing in January. Past participants include Marcus Rock, Robert Crehan, and Emma-Kate Matthews. Learn more
Applications for the next round of the Panufnik Composers Scheme is now open – deadline is Monday 8 January 2024. Learn more and apply
• 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. Past recipients include Zhenyan Li, Sun Keting, and Alex Tay. Learn more
• 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 Anna Disley-Simpson, Jasmine Morris, and Emily Hazrati. Learn more
• 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 Sweeney. Learn more
Applications for the next round of Britten Sinfonia’s Magnum Opus are now open – deadline is 4 January 2024. Learn more and apply
• Nonclassical AiR (Artist in Residence): a biannual artist development programme for composers, including two commissions for Contemporary Music for All and Southbank Sinfonia. Applications are scheduled to open this summer. Past participants include Emily Abdy and Atefeh Einali. Learn more
• Philharmonia Composers’ Academy: a year-long programme for composers to hone and develop their skills, culminating in the commission of a 10-minute piece to premiere at part of the Philharmonia’s Music of Today contemorary music series. Applications usually take place in the summer. Past participants include Florence Anna Maunders, Mathis Saunier, and Nneka Cummins. Learn more
• National Youth Choirs of Great Britain Young Composers programme supports the professional development of composers aged 18-29 in writing for choir. Applications usually take place from spring to summer. Past participants include Ben Nobuto, Claire Victoria Roberts, and Sun Keting. Learn more
• London Sinfonietta‘s Writing the Future is a multi-year artist development programme for music creators, creating a new work for up to six London Sinfonietta musicians, performed as part of their main season. Past participants include Alex Paxton. Learn more
Applications for the next round of the London Sinfonietta’s Writing the Future programme is now open – deadline is Monday 22 January 2024. Learn more and apply
• CoMA London (Contemporary Music for All)’s Composers in Residence programme: a year-long programme for composers to create a new work for CoMA London, as well as join the ensemble as performer. Learn more
We spoke with the directors of CoMA London, alongside the participants of their inaugural composers-in-residence programme, about their music and experiences with the residency — learn more about the residency here.
• 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. Learn more
We spoke with the participants of Cheltenham Composer Academy 2021 about their music and experiences at the Academy — learn more about their approaches here.
• The Vale of Glamorgan Festival’s Peter Reynolds Composers Studio: a residential course for emerging composers, culminating in two composition play-through and recording opportunities with acclaimed performers. Applications tend to open in the spring. Bursaries are available for applicants from a lower socio-economic background. Past participants include Cameron Biles-Liddell and Chloe Knibbs. Learn more
• CERDDWN: A new opportunity for Welsh and UK/international composers in mid-Wales, culminating in an orchestral commission for Sinfonia Cymru or Aberystwyth Philomusica. Learn more
• 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. Learn more
• The Fromm Foundation Composer Fellowship at the Composers Conference (New Hampshire, USA): a two-week intensive summer fellowship including the premiere of a new work, seminars, workshops, and mentoring from two guest composers. Past participants include Victoria Cheah and Jeremy Rosenstock. Learn more
Applications for next year’s Fromm Foundation Composer Fellowships are now open – deadline is 10 January 2024. Learn more and apply
• Salastina‘s Promising Composers programme (Los Angeles, USA): an online, year-long development programme for composers aged 18-30, writing a new work to be premiered and recorded by Salastina musicians. Past participants include Kian Ravaei and Riccardo Perugini. Learn more
Applications for next year’s Promising Composers programme are now open – deadline is 15 December 2023. Learn more and apply
• 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 Alternative Classical Newsletter compiles monthly opportunities for emerging composers, as well as news on contemporary classical concerts, events, jobs and more: https://www.alternativeclassical.co.uk/newsletter
• 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/
*International opportunities featured are open to composers of any nationality.
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