2021 Young Composers Scheme

Applications for the 2021 Young Composers Scheme are now closed


The scheme is open to aspiring young composers aged 18+ on 1 September 2020 and under 30 on 31 August 2021 who demonstrate clear ability, potential, and a passion for creating high-quality, imaginative new music for vocal ensembles. It is open to applicants who will be resident in the UK for the duration of the programme and who are eligible to train/work in the UK.

The scheme supports composers in the early stages of their career, who are committed to developing as professional composers and who have a passion for creating high-quality, imaginative new music for vocal ensembles. 

The scheme is particularly designed to support emerging composers from a broad range of musical backgrounds and genres. We are keen to encourage applications from individuals who are underrepresented in composition for vocal ensembles, including people of colour and disabled people. Applicants do not have to have undertaken formal education or training, be a published composer, or to have music qualifications e.g. a Music degree or A-Level to apply and we welcome applications from young composers who may not have a traditional composing background or formal training in composition. We want to work with composers from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences and actively encourage applications from those working in ways which are not ‘traditionally choral’ or acoustic.

In order to fully participate in this programme and experience its full benefits, applicants should not be in full-time formal education during the course of the programme. We would consider studying on a full-time degree or other higher education programme to be full-time formal education. We recognise that some education, for example a programme of research-based study may be organised on a part-time or more flexible basis, and if someone is taking part in this type of programme and can commit to the schedule of Young Composer Scheme activities, they would be eligible to apply.

We will prioritise candidates who we think are at the right point in their development for the scheme to provide most benefit.  

If you have any questions about the scheme including around your eligibility to apply, you can contact us at any time by emailing: [email protected]


Applications for the 2021 scheme are now closed

Candidates must submit an application form, including details of two portfolio items, by Friday 4th September 2020 at 5.00pm.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a half-day workshop and interview with NYCGB Artistic Director Ben Parry, NMC Executive Director Anne Rushton and representatives from our partner organisations. **Please note that the interview date has now changed from Friday 18th September 2020 to Thursday 24th September 2020.** The four successful composers will be notified by email as soon as possible after the interview.


We want the scheme to be accessible to the widest possible range of creative approaches. If you are not sure whether your portfolio items are suitable, please contact [email protected]  


Candidates must complete an application form and submit it together with at least two and maximum four portfolio items.

  • At least one portfolio item must be a notated or otherwise visualised score* and attached to the online application form.
  • At least one portfolio item must be an audio or video recording of your music.
  • Portfolio item 1 must include vocal ensemble (two or more vocal parts occurring simultaneously), and portfolio item 2 must feature a voice or voices in some way.
  • Video portfolio items should be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo and linked in the online application form.
  • Audio portfolio items should be uploaded to YouTube, Soundcloud, a personal website or other freely accessible platform, and linked in the online application form.

*We do not wish to restrict applications by composers working in non-notated forms, for example beatboxing or sequencing. However, we will require you to demonstrate that you can communicate your musical ideas in some sort of written or diagram form. Please contact [email protected] if you are unsure.

Download the application form.

Click here to download the equal opportunities monitoring form.


Shortlisted candidates will attend an interactive workshop where you will learn more about the choirs and the organisation, our approach to singing and, most importantly, the parameters for producing completed scores for the choirs to sing from. The interview will take the form of a short conversation in which candidates will be asked to give an overview of their composing portfolio to date, and to discuss their particular interest in writing for vocal ensembles. 


The NYCGB Young Composer Scheme is a free training programme, with all expenses paid. Each composer will also receive a personal Innovation Grant of £500 which they may use to fund creative endeavours linked to their work on the training programme.


If selected, you must be available for all scheduled programme activities. Please see the draft 2021 schedule.

Download the draft schedule.

Download Key Facts Document

If you have any questions about the scheme including around your eligibility to apply, you can contact us at any time a[email protected]

NYCGB Young Composers Scheme Funders & Supporters:

Programme Digital Partner: NMC Recordings

Programme Innovation Grant Sponsors:

Steinberg Media Technologies (Technology Partner) and Stainer & Bell (Publishing Partner)


Supported by Principal New Music Sponsor & Programme Innovation Grant Sponsors (Technology Partner) Steinberg Media Technologies, Programme Innovation Grant Sponsors (Publishing Partner) Stainer & Bell, RVW Trust, The Finzi Trust, Lord and Lady Lurgan Trust, The Michael Tippett Musical Foundation, Britten Pears Arts and PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund for Organisations.