ORA Singers, the award-winning vocal ensemble, is launching an Emergency Composers’ Fund to provide work for composers who have been so disastrously affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Celebrated for its commissioning of new works, ORA Singers will offer eight choral commissions as part of an exciting collaboration with Tate Modern.

This visionary initiative coincides with the announcement of a new Chair for the ensemble, the Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt.

The £12,000 Emergency Composer Fund is open to any composer who is resident in the UK and the eight chosen composers will each receive a £1,500 commission to write a new choral work inspired by works of art, specifically chosen by Tate Modern from their international collection:

Agnes Martin, Morning 1965

Helen Frankenthaler, Vessel 1961

Ibrahim El Salahi, Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams 1961-5

Henri Matisse, The Snail 1953

Lorna Simpson, Then & Now 2016

Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Untitled (Alhalkere)1989

Cildo Meireles, Babel 2001

Haegue Yang, Sol LeWitt Upside Down – Structure with Three Towers, Expanded 23 Times, Split in Three 2015

Artistic Director, Suzi Digby OBE, commented:

“Coronavirus has had a catastrophic effect on the lives of composers, as it has for all freelance artists and musicians, clearing their diaries of work and any chance of an income for the foreseeable future. We put commissioning at the heart of our work at ORA Singers, and our commitment to composers is more fervent now than ever before. Without their work and creativity brought to life at this time there is a danger that this extraordinary period of human history will be artistically mute.”

Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern, commented:

“We have welcomed a dialogue between music and art on many occasions at Tate Modern and are especially delighted to encourage new work at a time of acute hardship.”

ORA Singers is also delighted to announce the appointment of its new Chair, the Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt. Her illustrious career in politics and her long-standing love of classical music is sure to stand ORA in good stead as the group approaches its fifth Anniversary. She replaces the outgoing Chair, Paul Edlin, who did so much to bring ORA into existence, and to support its mission in promoting choral music and composition.

Patricia Hewitt commented:

“I am delighted to be succeeding Paul Edlin as Chair of the Trustees of ORA Singers, an inspirational group that I have supported since its inception.”

Matthew Beale, Chief Executive of ORA Singers, commented:

“We could not be more pleased that Patricia has agreed to take on the role of Chair, her obvious skills and abilities for the post go without saying! ORA has had an extraordinary journey from inception until now, with 6 albums released, a major industry award, a residency at LSO St. Luke’s and much more besides. We simply could not think of a better person to lead us into the next stage of our development. We would also like to give sincere thanks to Paul Edlin, as ORA’s first Chair his leadership and wisdom has been a critical factor in the group’s success.”