Cheltenham Music Festival Composer Academy

April 2, 2015 in All Opportunities, Composers, residencey and summerschool by newmusicscotland

Applications are now open for composers who would like to participate in the third Cheltenham Music Festival Composer Academy. We are inviting early-career composers to apply for a course in which participants will have their compositions workshopped, performed and recorded; attend a range of premiere performances and have access to industry professionals in a series of panel discussions, that will discuss craft and contemporary aesthetics along with career development.

Workshops will be steered by a range of composers whose new works are being heard during the Festival. The Academy is organised in association with the Institute of Composing and under the direction of Peter Wiegold, the director of the Institute.

Participants will arrive on Thursday 2 July, and depart on the morning of Tuesday 7 July. Public showcases of works created during the Composer Academy will take place on Sunday 5 July and Monday 6 July.

Who would I be writing for and working with?

For the first time this year, participants will have the choice or working with either an instrumental or vocal ensemble. Applicants can opt to write for a quartet of players from saxophonist Trish Clowes’ Emulsion Sinfonietta, and then work closely in rehearsal with them directing a ’realisation’ of the material, or write for 24-piece vocal ensemble Genesis Sixteen .

What can I write?

It is expected that music for the Genesis Sixteen is fully notated, but not necessarily completely finished – each year some composers chose to present fragments and ideas for new work which they have since premiered in full. Vocal works should be written with the ‘good amateur choir’ in mind – time pressures during workshops mean this is the best way of achieving a good performance – and should not divide into more than 8 parts. More detailed guidelines will be sent to those composers selected to write for each group.

Music for the Emulsion Quartet should not be fully written! We are hoping for strong materials that then go into an exciting collaboration with the performers, directed by the composer themselves, and with improvisation forming a part of the work. The players (sop./tenor sax., ob, vn, cb) are all experienced at working in this way.

Finished performances can last up to six minutes.

How much will it cost?

A small charge will be made to contribute to running costs and there will be a charge for accommodation as required. Applicants who are unsuccessful will be invited to attend as observer composers.

Participants will attend a range of concerts featuring works by Richard Causton, Rolf Hind, Joe Cutler, Thomas Strønen, Trish Clowes, Iain Ballamy, Calum Gourlay, Luke Styles, Chris Mayo, Hywel Davies, Nicholas Morrish Rarity, Peter Wiegold, Charlotte Bray and Thomas Hyde, as well as the two showcases of new work created at the Composer Academy.

How do I apply?

Follow the link to our website to fill out an application form. You will be asked to tell us a bit about yourself, why you’d like to take part, what you’d like to write and upload some examples of your recent work. Please note that you don’t have to submit what you would have workshopped if selected. The closing date for applications is Thursday 9 April.

When will I find out if my application is successful?
We aim to contact all applicants by Monday 27 April.

What will I gain from taking part in the Academy?
As well as a high-quality performance and recording of your new work, contact with specialists in the performance of new music and those working in the industry and a chance to discuss ideas, issues and questions with like-minded peers, everyone who’s taken part so far has had a lot of fun!

If you have any further questions, email Megan Watt at