From left to right: original Balancing the Score composers Anna Appleby, Cecilia Livingston, Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade and Ailie Robertson (photo: James Bellorini)

25 August 2022

Glyndebourne’s Balancing the Score scheme for composers opens for applications

Balancing the Score, Glyndebourne’s development scheme to support composers from underrepresented backgrounds, is now open for applications. 

This is the second iteration of the scheme, which originally launched for applications in 2018 and began in 2019, at which time it was open exclusively to female composers. The four inaugural participants, Anna ApplebyNinfea Cruttwell-ReadeCecilia Livingston and Ailie Robertson, spent several years immersing themselves in life at Glyndebourne and developing new work. This culminated in them collaborating to compose Pay the Piper, an acclaimed youth opera featuring a cast of professional singers and a chorus of 70 young people from across Sussex, which premiered at Glyndebourne in February 2022. 

The remit of the Balancing the Score scheme has now been broadened, to invite applications from composers from a range of different backgrounds currently underrepresented in the world of operatic composition.

Glyndebourne Learning & Engagement Manager Tom Rice-Oxley said of the scheme’s new focus: ‘As an organisation, Glyndebourne is aware that operatic repertoire being performed on stage often does not reflect the diversity of the UK population, and the expansion of our Balancing the Score scheme is part of the sector’s continuing efforts to address this.’

The scheme will offer two composers the chance to spend three years immersing themselves in life at Glyndebourne, attending rehearsals and performances and meeting professional opera makers. Participants will be introduced to commissioning opportunities at Glyndebourne, access development opportunities with high profile partners (including its resident orchestras, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment), and receive mentorship from Glyndebourne’s Artistic Director Stephen Langridge. Throughout the programme, there will be continued engagement with the young people and local communities who take part in Glyndebourne’s Learning & Engagement programme. 

This part-time residency will start in February 2023 and last for three years. The successful candidates will receive an annual bursary of £1,000 to cover expenses and time spent at Glyndebourne and also have the opportunity to apply to a Research & Development fund to create works during the period of the residency.

Anna Appleby, one of the composers from the first Balancing the Score intake, said of her experience of the scheme (which was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic): 

‘It has been an honour to work with Glyndebourne over the past few years on this residency, alongside such talented composer colleagues. The memory that will always stay with me is that of the premiere of Pay the Piper, a production that truly was a miracle emerging from the various lockdowns and all of the creative challenges we faced together. It really is a credit to Glyndebourne, its Learning & Engagement team, the Glyndebourne Youth Opera and all artistic staff involved that everything came together so beautifully in the end.’

Full application criteria and details of how to apply can be found on the Glyndebourne website here

The closing date for applications is Sunday 30 October, with successful participants informed in December 2022.