March 7, 2016 in All Opportunities, Composers by mwhiteside

The Composers’ Fund is a new opportunity which recognises the need for composers to have direct access to funding at pivotal stages in their career. It invites composers to make the case for support of any activity that would enable them to make a significant step change in their career.


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  1. Support the creative and professional development of composers with a clear track record of success, enabling access to finance at critical moments in their careers
  2. Contribute to the long term recognition, in the UK and overseas, of the UK’s best composers
  3. Establish an effective funding model which is shaped by our contact with individual composers who are empowered to take more control of their career development in the short and long term


  • Composers with a strong track record in their field who are at a point in their career where access to funding could help move forward their career.
  • Composers who are already making a significant cultural contribution in the UK and have the potential for greater impact overseas.
  • Composers writing primarily for live performance.
  • Composers must be based in the UK and must be members of PRS for Music* or in a position to join.
  • Both published and self-published composers are welcome to apply.

*Please note composers who are members of another performing rights society e.g. ASCAP, SACEM are not eligible.


When assessing applications to this fund, we will be considering the impact of the proposed activity on the development of the composer’s music and profile, and the track record and quality of the applicant composer.

  • Applicants should focus on demonstrating how the proposed activity will support the longer term development of their career and their music.
  • In every case, decision panels will consider the step changing potential of the activity proposed, and the impact it will have for the composer in question.
  • The long term prospects of the composer will be considered along with the determination and passion the composer has for this next step in their career.



Composers can apply at any deadline for the Composers’ Fund as long as they are not already a recipient of the fund. This means if you have been unsuccessful at a previous deadline you are eligible to apply again (although it may be worth seeking guidance from PRSF to check whether you are at the right level to apply).

This fund is in the first instance a three year pilot scheme, if you are successfully funded at any point during this time you cannot apply for the fund again within the three year pilot (2016 – 2018).

You can apply for the fund if you are currently involved in no more than one other of our funding schemes including Beyond Borders, The Open Fund for Organisations, The Open Fund for Music Creators and Women Make Music.

If you have received funding from the Composers’ Fund you cannot apply directly to The Open Fund for Music Creators or Women Make Music until twelve months after the activity for which you applied has been completed.

Whilst a recipient of the Composers’ Fund, you are able to be named by an organisation as main music creator for The Open Fund or Beyond Borders, so long as the project does not link to Composers’ Fund activity.

Composers currently being commissioned to write a piece for the New Music Biennial in 2017 cannot apply to the Composers’ Fund until this project is complete. (Therefore are eligible to apply in 2018).

NOTE: The Composers’ Fund is not for early stage composers; consistency of critical acclaim and a demonstrable performance track record will be considered in the assessment of each proposal.

Applications must be made by the composer and all grants awarded via this fund will be paid directly to the composer.



Our Open Funding for Music Creators and Women Make Music schemes are normally used for one-off short term activities such as touring, recording or creation of new works and are available to composers at any stage in their career. Up to £5000 is available via these schemes. The Composers’ Fund is targeted at composers with an existing profile looking for funding to make a career step change.

The Composer Bursaries are a joint funding opportunity for early stage composers who can apply for up to £750 for professional development, including travel to attend performances of their work, non-academic study and equipment purchase up to £500. The Composers’ Fund is targeted at more established composers.

Our New Music Biennial and Beyond Borders programmes are mainly targeted at organisations who are commissioning composers or touring existing repertoire. The Composer’s Fund is for composers only and is not open to commissioning or touring organisations. Activity supported by the Composers’ Fund is determined by the composer. While it is possible this may include commissions or tours, the potential uses of the Fund are far wider.


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Applicants will be able to apply for up to £10,000; the costs of the proposed activity music be clearly presented.


We envisage being able to fund between 10-15 composers per year, depending on project scope and available funds.


We will consider every application on a case-by-case basis. We are inviting composers to propose any activity or intervention that would make a significant difference to their long term development. We are envisioning that this might include the following activity, though we will also welcome other ideas if a strong case for support can be made:

  • Recordings
  • Promotion/performance of existing works – to get existing pieces performed again/toured in UK and internationally
  • International co-commissions – empowering composers to establish relationships with commissioning bodies overseas
  • International development – travel to build relationships or spend time overseas, working with festivals or ensembles
  • Performer collaboration – time to work more closely with performers of note
  • Residencies/sabbaticals – with clearly defined artistic end result(s)
  • Work space – to improve working conditions and opportunities to develop music ideas (e.g. in studio or as part of cross art form complex)
  • Self-commissioning – time to work on a new piece for which the composer has secured performing/promoter partners
  • Training / skills development
  • Other forms of creative/professional development – defined by composer (where a direct link to career development can be demonstrated)
  • Time to experiment – time away from public view to work on new material without compromise
  • Purchase of equipment/ instruments
  • Admin support – Support to hire someone to do admin (e.g. emails, social media, PRS for Music, promotion)
  • Childcare costs
  • A combination of some of the above



  • Organisations seeking funding for commissions via a composer applying on their behalf
  • Ideas for new pieces that don’t yet have any performance plans or interested performers (except where a convincing case for experimentation (as above) is made).



We advise you only to make a start on the application when (a) you are sure that you’re eligible for this fund; (b) you have a clear case for why the expenditure is so important; and (c) you have a clear rationale as to why the expenditure you want to make is crucial at this stage in your career.

Deadlines occur twice a year. The first deadline for The Composers’ Fund is Tuesday 12th April 2016 and you can APPLY HERE. The next deadline will be in October 2016. We aim to communicate back to all applicants with a decision within twelve weeks. All of our funding decisions for the Composers’ Fund are made by an expert group panellists.

Please contact / for more information and any questions about the application form or process for applying.

PRS for Music Foundation gratefully acknowledges Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for supporting The Composers’ Fund.