The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (NYCGB) is calling all aspiring young composers interested in writing for voices to apply to take part in its Young Composers Scheme 2021. Now in its third year, the scheme provides four composers aged 18-29 with a fully funded, year-long programme of professional development including the unique opportunity to write music for its choirs.

The Young Composers Scheme aims to challenge perceptions of, and support the development, innovation and diversity of new choral music. 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 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 a higher education qualification to apply and we welcome applications from young composers who may not have a traditional composing background or formal training in composition. However, 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.

The scheme offers residential courses, creative retreats, workshops, peer and professional mentoring and performance showcases including a high-profile launch event at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Most residential courses are shared with the National Youth Choir and the NYCGB Fellowship, allowing composers an exceptional opportunity to work in partnership with and have their music brought to life by two outstanding ensembles of young singers of their own age.

The composers receive expert advice and tuition from distinguished composers. Professional mentoring is led by NYCGB Artistic Director Ben Parry, a highly sought-after composer with many years’ experience in writing for a variety of media. Previous guest mentors include Errollyn Wallen, John Rutter, Roxanna Panufnik, Richard Allain, Anna Meredith, Alexandra Harwood, Jonathan Dove and Eleanor Alberga.

Professional training and insights, and a professional recording and release for their work will be facilitated by NMC Recordings, the scheme’s digital partners. Young Composers also receive free licenses and training in Dorico Pro notation software by Programme Innovation Grant Sponsors (Technology Partner) Steinberg Media Technologies, and will have the opportunity to have a work published and promoted by Innovation Grant Sponsors (Publishing Partner) Stainer & Bell. An annual retreat takes place at the prestigious Red House, Aldeburgh, home to composer Benjamin Britten, in partnership with Britten Pears Arts.

NYCGB Chief Executive Anne Besford said: Our Young Composers Scheme is gaining momentum each year. The first ever cohort completed the scheme in January 2020, and their recordings have garnered impressive levels of media and industry attention. New and exciting partnerships with Steinberg Media and Stainer & Bell offer significant additional professional development opportunities and together with the fantastic support of our Digital Partner NMC Recordings this scheme is the best of its kind. We strongly encourage those from all musical genres and backgrounds to apply – including those who may not have a traditional composing background.”

NMC Recordings Executive Director Anne Rushton said: NMC is committed to developing the talent of composers from all backgrounds and musical styles and in this our partnership with NYCGB offers a significant and exciting opportunity. We’ve loved working with the wide range of young composers selected over the last two years, bringing their work to an international audience. I look forward to seeing the breadth of talent and ambition displayed by those who apply for the scheme this year and to working with them and the wonderful singers from NYCGB to explore new exciting paths together.

Applications are now open.  Full details of how to apply can be found at /young-composers-how-to-apply. Closing date:  Friday 4th September 2020 at 5pm.