RVW Trust and Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust join forces

12 October 2022

Over the years RVW funding has been there for me, and countless other composers – a steadfast supporter for the creation of new music. This dedication to investing and supporting projects has been invaluable for so many creatives and has allowed me personally to explore and progress my own craft.            Daniel Kidane, composer

A person and person standing next to each other on stairs

Description automatically generated with low confidenceA new grant-giving charity, the Vaughan Williams Foundation, was launched last night (Wednesday 12 October).

The new charity is born from the merger of two existing charitable trusts, founded by the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams and his wife Ursula, and funded by the royalties earned by his music.
Celebrating at LSO St Luke’s, on the occasion of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s 150th birthday (RVW150), the trustees of the RVW Trust and the Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust affirmed that the new Foundation will honour RVW’s commitment to supporting his fellow composers. VWF will also continue to help make RVW’s own work more widely accessible and support projects which contribute to the legacy of both Ralph and Ursula.

Applications for funding opened today to organisations and individuals, and the first grants
will be announced in March 2023.  Full details are at

The Vaughan Williams Foundation represents the estates of Ralph and Ursula Vaughan Williams and holds a copyright share in their musical works and writings (together with the original publishers). Ursula’s photographs and papers reside in the British Library.
The Foundation’s website makes available some of VWF’s unique resources to throw greater light on the composer:

  • Transcripts of over 5,000 items of RVW’s annotated correspondence – with his friends, family, pupils and fellow musicians – paint an intriguing portrait of the man, as well as providing fascinating insights into his major preoccupations: musical, personal and political.  The letters are fully indexed and searchable and can all be read online free of charge.
  • An extensive catalogue of the composer’s works guides users through the maze of his different publishers to the appropriate edition of each work.

At the launch, Sally Groves MBE, Chair of the new Foundation said:
Ralph Vaughan Williams was the most quietly generous of men, with an unquenchable interest in all music. We are delighted that the Vaughan Williams Foundation will allow his generosity of spirit to continue and will benefit composers and performers well beyond the life of his musical copyrights.

About the RVW and the Vaughan Williams Charitable Trusts
The RVW Trust was set up by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1956 with the intention that all future income from the performing rights in his music should be used for the benefit of his fellow composers and those who came after him. After Ursula Vaughan Williams’s death in 2007, under the terms of her will, the composer’s publishing rights were used to establish the Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust with the primary aim of promoting knowledge of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s work.

Both Trusts have played a significant role in the UK’s musical landscape over many years, supporting music-making the length and breadth of the country with combined grants averaging £300,000 pa. RVWT funding has focussed on new work, as well as the performance and recording of unfamiliar repertoire by composers of recent generations. Beneficiaries have included festivals, orchestras, ensembles, opera companies, national organisations, composers, individual performers and recording companies. VWCT has funded the production of many definitive editions and recordings of the RVW scores, as well as investing in performances, research and resources, including the digitisation of the letters.

The nationwide RVW150 celebrations in 2022-3 were instigated and co-ordinated by the VWCT, and have encompassed performances of his symphonies, ballets, and operas; travelling folk music and concerts with cathedral choirs; and engaged musicians from amateur groups to international soloists.  Particular RVW150 projects initiated and supported by the VWCT include two nationwide programmes in cooperation with the Music Teachers Association and the Royal Schools of Church Music. The MTA has set up a new schools’ programme to provide free resources for the teaching of RVW’s work across all levels of education which is currently being rolled out to schools across the UK; and the RSCM coordinated choirs across the world for In Every Corner Sing, which encouraged the inclusion of Vaughan Williams in programming during the week of his birthday.

The RVW Trust’s contribution to RVW150 was to support a series of commissions inspired by the ideas and music of Ralph Vaughan Williams: Sarah Cattley’s song cycle A square and candle-lighted boat was given its London premiere at the Foundation Launch by baritone Roderick Williams and pianist Susie Allan. Looking ahead to 2023, Grace-Evangeline Mason is writing a new choral piece suitable for both professional and amateur choirs; James B Wilson writes for the CBSO at the Cheltenham Festival; and the Three Choirs Festival will present a new community led creative programme What the Lark Saw, with a central new score by Liz Lane to conclude the RVW150 anniversary.