PRS for Music Foundation reveals first recipients of The Composers' Fund

PRS for Music Foundation reveals first recipients of The Composers' Fund

PRS for Music Foundation has announced the first nine composers tol be supported through the new Composers’ Fund, established by PRS Foundation earlier this year to support the UK’s most talented composers to develop their work in the UK and overseas. 

The nine composers receiving support are:

  • Cheryl Frances-Hoad – to promote her repertoire in North America with US orchestras, ensembles and choirs
  • Gabriel Jackson – to develop his writing for instruments his compositions are not usually written for
  • Gavin Higgins – to cover costs of using a studio space
  • Joanna Lee – to cover costs of childcare, enabling her to compose full-time to write a new commission for BBC Proms and an opera for ENO
  • Joe Cutler – to cover costs for sabbatical from full time university post, freeing up time for a major commission
  • Ken Hesketh – to cover costs of recording his orchestral works spanning 12 years
  • Laura Bowler – to cover costs for a commission and collaboration with Phil Venables
  • Luke Bedford – to cover costs for research and development for a new opera and collaboration with playwright David Harrower
  • Luke Styles – to cover research and development for a Neo-Baroque opera

PRS Foundation has partnered with classical music streaming platform Grammofy on a specially curated collection.

The fund, which aims to give composers more control of their next steps by offering them direct access to funding at pivotal stages in their careers, was launched by PRS for Music Foundation at City Hall, London in April 2016 with additional support from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. The fund offers £150,000 annually to support composers and enable them to realise projects and ambitions that may not be possible through traditional commissioning models.

It was created following PRS for Music Foundation’s research in 2014 exploring the challenges composers meet when controlling their career direction. The research highlighted that composers faced limited access to funding, low commission fees, lack of any support structure, pressurised working conditions and for established and mid-career composers in particular, a decrease in commissioning opportunities.

This first round revealed that composers require support for a broad range of needs, demonstrating the importance of an open and flexible fund like this. Across the applications received, 33% were looking for support to fund the writing of a new piece, 28% the research and development of new work, and 26% seeking support for work space, childcare, sabbatical cover, and equipment costs to give more time and space to aid composition. 

Vanessa Reed, executive director for PRS for Music Foundation said, “Congratulations to the nine composers selected from this competitive first round of applications. We’re proud to be supporting these talented and distinctive composers, to take more control of their own destiny.  I very much look forward to following their progress and seeing how this support enables them to develop their music and take their career to the next stage.” 

Alison Holdom, grants manager, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation added: “We support the development of emerging artistic talent – usually through established arts organisations. Supporting composers directly is a new way of funding for us, and we’re grateful for the expert guidance of the PRS Foundation in directing our funding. We’re excited to see where this model takes us, and the composers themselves.”

Supported composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad commented: “I am so thrilled and grateful to have been given this support by the PRS for Music Foundation’s Composers Fund. It will make a huge difference to my composing life.”


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