Current Opportunities


Composing For – call for 2017/18 Schemes

During 2017-18 Psappha will be running four “Composing For…” schemes: two solo schemes, for French horn and for guzheng (or Chinese zither); and two duo schemes, for violin and cello and for flute and clarinet. The closing date for applications is 1 September 2017.

The schemes will support and develop 24 emerging composers who are interested in learning more about writing for solo French horn,solo guzheng, violin and cello duo, or flute and clarinet duo.

Composing For is open to UK-based music creators who have completed their first degree or equivalent, and/or who have left higher education within the last three years (please see eligibility section below for further detail).

Aim of the project

The aim of the project is to give the selected composers direct contact with our highly experienced French horn player (Andrew Budden), guzheng player (Zi Lan Liao), violinist and cellist (Benedict Holland and Jennifer Langridge), and flautist and clarinettist (Conrad Marshall and Dov Goldberg).

Each composer will be supported to write a new piece for one of: French horn, guzheng, violin and cello duo, or flute and clarinet duo or for the instrument/s listed above plus electronics (please see electronics section below for further detail).

All works will be filmed and sound recorded by Psappha. The films will be hosted on Psappha’s YouTube channel and the audio files on Psappha’s SoundCloud channel so they can be embedded in the composers’ websites or shared (click to watch the films we have created through our previous “Composing for…” schemes – Composing for violinComposing for celloComposing for pianoComposing for percussionComposing for fluteComposing for clarinet and Composing for trombone). The works created through the process will also be considered for inclusion in a future Psappha performance.

How will it work?

Up to 24 emerging composers will be selected to work with Psappha between September 2017 and May 2018. Each composer will receive three sessions with the musician/s plus a final rehearsal/recording session. The timeline is as follows:

– Session 1 – the day will start with a group session for all the composers on your scheme (1 hr). This will be followed by individual sessions for each composer (1/2 hr each) where you will meet with your musician/s to discuss and test out initial ideas and concepts. This will take place at Psappha’s Manchester base – St Michael’s, Ancoats – and must be attended in person.

Following this session composers will be required to submit initial ideas and manuscripts via email two weeks prior to session 2.

– Session 2 – each composer will have an individual session (40 mins each) with their musician/s to explore the work done between sessions. We are willing to experiment with remote working with Facetime, Skype etc for this session but we strongly recommend that you attend in person if possible (we pay a modest bursary that is intended to cover travel costs etc – please see below for details). The session will take place in St Michael’s, Ancoats.

Following this session composers will be required to submit final drafts of their work two weeks prior to session 3.

– Session 3 – each composer will have an individual session (40 mins each) to work through the piece and receive feedback from the musician/s ahead of the submission of the final score. Again we recommend that you attend this session in person if possible. The session will take place at St Michael’s, Ancoats.

Following this session composers are required to submit final works in hard copy four weeks (or eight weeks in the case of the guzheng scheme) prior to the recording session.

– For the final filming/recording session all composers are required to be present in Manchester for the full day. The filming/recording day will take place at St Michael’s, Ancoats.

Use of Electronics

For the avoidance of doubt, this is not, at heart, a composing for electronics scheme so any use of electronics should be proportionate and appropriate. Psappha will provide two PA speakers. All other electronics, mics and cabling must be provided by the composer; Psappha cannot provide technical support. Any electronics/tape parts must be provided in a format that can be used by the Psappha musician/s for practice purposes between the sessions. If you choose to include electronics please bear in mind that any set-up/de-rig time will be within your session.

Who is eligible?

This is a development opportunity for music creators who have completed their first degree or equivalent, and/or who have left higher education within the last three years and who are at an early stage of their composing career. Music creators taking part in the scheme must be based in the UK. The scheme is not open to undergraduate students or to composers who have been establishing their post-HE careers for longer than three years. Nor is it open to composers who have worked with us on previous “Composing For…” schemes. MA and PhD students are eligible. We encourage applications from music creators from different musical genres. Psappha seeks to attract applications from candidates that reflect the diverse society in England and the UK.

What is required from the composers?

– A genuine commitment to the project.

– To write a work that lasts a maximum of 5 minutes and to agree to participate in the sessions outlined above meeting the required deadlines.

How to apply?

There is no standard application form. Written applications should be sent by email as a single PDF to by Friday 1 September 2017. The deadline is 5.30pm. Late applications will not be considered.

The following information should be included within your application:

  • your name.
  • your full contact details (postal address, mobile phone, email address and website if applicable). Please note that we will communicate with you by email so do ensure that the email address you provide us with is correct and up to date.
  • a concise summary of your composing experience, including a note of whether you are currently studying (at what stage) or whether you have left education within the last three years (max 200 words).
  • a link to a short example of your music (score or mp3 or ideally both) – please ensure that this is not password protected.
  • a brief description of how you believe this opportunity would support your development (max 300 words).

When we receive your application we will send you an acknowledgement email and you will be prompted to complete an equal opportunities form. This will be used for monitoring purposes only and will not form part of the recruitment process for the scheme.

All applicants will automatically be considered for all Composing For schemes that are currently open. If you would only like to be considered for a particular scheme or schemes please clearly state this (and the instrument/s) at the start of your application.

Psappha is happy to offer this development opportunity to composers for free and each of the selected composers will receive a bursary of £325. We expect this to support your travel costs and other expenses associated with the scheme.