Sound and Music, the national organisation for new music, today launches a new programme framework which renews its vision and brings the development of talented composers to its heart.

Sound and Music will focus its activities on three linked priorities: composer development, audience development, and creating a powerful national story about the value of new music, backed up by compelling evidence. These priorities were strongly identified through the public consultation undertaken by the organisation over the last 6 months.

Sound and Music will work with partners across the country to achieve the ambitious goals of its new programme framework, which they believe is capable of transforming the future of new music in the UK.

The new framework provides development opportunities and guidance for composers right the way through their careers, with a particular emphasis on support for emerging composers. 36 emerging composers each year will benefit from one intensive development opportunity through Sound and Music’s programmes. There are also resources which are available and open to any composer.

The new framework includes a new co-ordinated approach to audience development, with action research taking place with local partners in Birmingham, Bristol, London and the Northeast of England, designed to increase the number of people who regularly attend new music events.

It opens up new national and international opportunities for composers, and commits Sound and Music to increasing and sharing what it knows, including expanding and widening access to the unique resource of the British Music Collection.

The framework includes four new programmes launching today, which address gaps in the current landscape for new music and complement other activity, including the best of Sound and Music’s existing programmes.

Sound and Music’s new programme framework take a significant step towards realising its vision of helping new music prosper, transforming lives, challenging expectations and celebrating the work of its creators.

Susanna Eastburn, Chief Executive of Sound and Music, commented on the new framework:

‘Sound and Music has reformed itself, and now, with this framework, we can work with others to transform the future of new music. It features the best of what the organisation has developed in the past, together with new programmes that address gaps and open up new areas of opportunity.The new programme framework offers many ways for individual composers and partners to work with us and help build a vibrant new music community. At the same time it is designed to open new music up to a wider audience. We believe the plans we have announced today lay the foundations for a bigger and brighter future for new music.’

New Programmes

  • Higher Education Programme - a development programme for exceptionally talented composers in higher education. Every higher education institution in the country will be able to nominate a composer for the chance to join the programme and compose a piece to be showcased at the 2014 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. A selected number of these new works will be recorded for release on NMC.
  • Portfolio – a recently launched development programme for 14 emerging composers a year to create new work with and for some of the UK’s leading ensembles and presenters of new music. In 2013 this includes Ensemble 10/10, vocal trio Juice, the OAE’s Night Shift and Manchester Camerata. The works will be developed through a series of workshops during which the composers will work in close collaboration with the performers supported by an experienced composer mentor. The process culminates in a public performance of the new works within the ensemble’s performance schedule.
  • Composers as Curators – a national programme of light touch support for composers based in England who programme and curate new music events and festivals and are developing new audiences and engagement in new music in the process. There will be three opportunities to apply per year, with the first open call for proposals launching on 30 April 2013.
  • Museum Partner programme - a programme engaging museums and heritage organisations including Tyne and Wear Museums to work with composers in new ways. This will provide composers with paid opportunities as well as help to drive new audiences for new music.
  • Audience Development Programme - a programme of action research into how new music can transform its approach to building and sustaining audiences, with pilot activity with partners in Birmingham, Bristol, London and the Northeast of England.

    Existing Programmes

  • Adopt a Composer – an annual programme through which up to six amateur orchestras, choirs or bands ‘adopt’ an up-and-coming composer.
  • Embedded – a programme for 10 composers a year to be ‘in residence’ with major creative organisations including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, and the Forestry Commission. For the first time Sound and Music will offer an international residency with one composer placed with the Electronic Music Studio in Stockholm.
  • Minute of Listening – a software application delivered into schools that encourages listening and reflection by primary school children.
  • Listen Imagine Compose – a nationwide action research programme looking at how composition can be better taught in schools, and more generally, how it can be beneficial to pupils in terms of their creative and social development. ·
  • Go Compose – three day composition workshops for composers aged 11-18 working with professional musicians.
  • The Summer School – the only course of its kind for talented composers aged 14-18: residential, and offering a range of compositional options all of which are supported by experienced professional composers and musicians
  • Sounding Out – a rolling programme of panel discussions and presentations providing insights into professional practice across new music.
  • ISCM - Sound and Music administrates the British section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) and more generally seeks to open up international opportunities for British composers and new music organisations.
  • The Francis Chagrin Awards – a recently relaunched rolling programme of awards to support composers with the costs of making new work.
  • The George Butterworth Prize – a recently relaunched annual prize for an emerging composer, in recognition of an outstanding work created through one of Sound and Music’s programmes.
  • The British Music Collection - a unique collection of physical and digital materials, which will be expanded and developed, including a focus on widening access.

    Sound and Music’s Public Consultation

    Sound and Music launched a consultation process to inform the development of the new programme. An online survey ran from 31 October until 13 December 2012 with a total of 1,201 responses from composers, performers, producers, educators, audience members and partner organisations. The organisation also ran a series of public events, and worked with an advisory group of composers. Full details of the consultation can be viewed at


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