Psappha Composing For… 2022-23 applications are now closed.

Psappha Composing For… 2022-23 During 2022-23 Psappha will be running four Composing For… schemes. The four schemes will focus on pipa, double bass, percussion, and clarinet. The closing date for applications is Friday 2nd September 2022 at 23:59. Applications can only be made through Psappha’s online portal at schemes support 24 music creators to develop their compositional process. We will assign six participants to each instrument. By the end of the scheme each participant will have produced a new 5 minute work. We will record and film each of the new pieces.

Who is eligible?

This opportunity is for music creators who are at an early stage in their composing career, and we encourage applications from music creators working in different musical genres.

We recognise that pathways into a career in composition vary. To open up access to our schemes we have relaxed some of our previous application criteria. Applicants should have already developed their practice for a significant period of time and be able to clearly demonstrate this, however the schemes are not intended for those who are already professionally established. The schemes are not open to composers who have completed a previous “Composing For…” scheme within the last two years.

Applicants must live in the UK for the duration of the scheme, though applicants currently living outside of the UK can apply.

We particularly welcome applications from disabled, d/Deaf and neurodivergent people, and those from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds, as they have been underrepresented in previous Composing For… schemes. 

Aim of the project

The aim of the project is to give the selected composers direct contact with four highly experienced musicians: pipa virtuoso Cheng Yu; double bassist Toby Hughes; Psappha percussionist Tim Williams; and Psappha clarinettist Dov Goldberg.

Composers on the pipa scheme will learn about and research the traditions from which the instrument comes, and will write an idiomatic work that responds to those traditions. Composers who would like to focus on exploring extended techniques will be more suited to our other schemes.

We will support each composer to write a new, five-minute piece for the above instruments.

All works will be filmed and sound recorded by Psappha in 4K. The films will be hosted on Psappha’s YouTube channel so they can be embedded in the composers’ websites or shared. Click HERE to watch the films from our recent Composing for Flute & Harp scheme and HERE to watch films from our recent Composing for Piano.

The works created through the process will also be considered for inclusion in a future Psappha performance. Numerous composers who have participated in our schemes have gone on to be commissioned by the ensemble.

How will it work?

We will select up to 24 emerging composers to work with Psappha between October 2022 and May 2023. Each composer will receive three sessions plus a mid-scheme workshop day led by a composer of national standing. The high-quality audio and video recording of the new works will take place in the final session. We will produce the recordings in collaboration with each composer.

All sessions will take place in Manchester at our base in Ancoats, at either Hallé St. Peter’s or Hallé St. Michael’s. We will expect you to attend the first session, the mid-scheme workshop day, and the final recording session in person. We will support remote attendance of the other sessions on request. We will provide a high-quality audio and video feed to support this.

The timeline is as follows:

Session 1 (early October 2022)

The day will start with a group session for all the composers on your scheme (1 to 2 hrs). This will be followed by individual sessions for each composer where you will meet with your musician to discuss and test out initial ideas and concepts. Participants must attend session 1 in person. Following this session composers are required to submit initial ideas (and hard copies where appropriate) two weeks prior to session 2.

Pipa scheme: Session 1 will be a group session for all the composers on this scheme (5 hours including break). This will include demonstrations of the instrument, an introduction to writing for pipa using Chinese notation system and the opportunity to ask questions and test ideas.

Session 2 (early December 2022)

Each composer will have an individual session (40 mins each) with their musician to explore the work produced between sessions. Composers may attend this session remotely if necessary. We strongly recommend that you attend in person if possible – we pay a modest bursary to cover travel and other costs, please see below for details. Following this session composers are required to submit drafts of their work two weeks prior to the Intervention Day.

Feedback and support day (early February 2023)

The six composers on each scheme will meet for a group workshop session. This will be an opportunity for participants to see and hear each other’s work and to support each other by sharing what they have learnt so far. The workshops will be structured and guided by a composer of national standing.

Session 3 (late March 2023)

Each composer will have an individual session (40 mins each) to work through their piece and receive feedback from the musician ahead of the submission of the final score. Composers may attend this session remotely if necessary. We strongly recommend that you attend in person if possible.

Following this session composers are required to submit final works in hard copy and electronically six weeks prior to the recording session.

Session 4 (late May 2023)

For the final filming and recording session we require all composers to be present in Manchester for the full day. Please note that this is a recording day where the pieces will be recorded and filmed in sections; it is not a performance day.

We will share session dates with successful applicants and participants will be asked to confirm their availability at the time when an offer to take part is made.

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.
  • • Composers on the sitar scheme must be willing to learn to write using the Bhatkhande notation system – we will support your learning to do so.

How to apply?

Applications are accepted via Psappha’s online application portal only at deadline to submit your application is Friday 2nd September 2022 by 23:59. The automated application form will ask you to:

  • • Select the scheme or schemes you are applying for.
  • • Provide your full contact details (postal address, mobile phone, email address, website, and YouTube and SoundCloud links (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.
  • • Provide a concise summary of your composing experience (max 2000 characters, approximately 300 words)
  • • A brief description of how you believe this opportunity would support your development (max 2000 characters, approximately 300 words)
  • • Upload up to two examples of your music, either as a PDF score or mp3, or ideally both.
  • • When you press ‘Submit’ it might take a minute or so to register your application – please be patient!
  • • You will then be prompted to complete an equal opportunities form. This anonymous data will be used for monitoring purposes only and will not form part of the recruitment process for the scheme. Please help us by completing it.

Please ensure that you submit your application in good time – please don’t submit at 23:58 on 2nd September as technical issues are possible! The application portal will close at 23.59 on Friday 2nd September 2022. When you have submitted your application, you will receive an acknowledgement email. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

If you require any assistance with completing your application then please contact us at allowing at least a week prior to the application deadline if possible.

Psappha is happy to offer this development opportunity to composers for free, and each of the selected composers will receive a bursary of £400. We expect this to support your travel costs and other expenses associated with the scheme.

Psappha is a small organisation and we do not have the resources to provide individual feedback to unsuccessful candidates.

Psappha is a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner. For more information about the PRSF and the support that it provides for music creators visit their website HERE.