International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) British Section

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ISCM in partnership with Sound and Music

About the ISCM

The International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) is an important international organisation comprised of an Executive Committee and a network of around fifty member countries (or 'Sections'). It is a "premier forum for the advancement, dissemination and interchange of new music from around the world. Through ISCM, [its] members promote contemporary music in all its varied forms, strengthening musical life in their local contexts and making their music and its creators known to world."

Since the ISCM was founded in 1922 in Salzburg, their network has grown to include more than "60 organisations in over 50 countries, on every continent," with its headquarters residing in Paris, France. The Society's primary purpose is to continue the running of its annual associative festival, World Music Days.

The ISCM promotes a strong receptiveness to aesthetic and stylistic diversity. Today, more than ever, with the incredible diversity which exists in contemporary musical expression around the world, this ideal is still strongly supported by ISCM members.

About World Music Days Festival

The prestigious annual ISCM World Music Days Festival is the "principle vehicle" through which the organisation pursues its mission, which can be described as a "platform for musical exchange and a showcase of world contemporary music without prejudice or bias on differences in musical expressions, styles, genres or media". It is organised and funded by the member Sections (countries) each year, and acts as a meeting place for organisations, performers and composers from around the world.

The member countries of the ISCM each take turns in hosting the festival. Recent festivals have taken place in Hong Kong, Lithuania, Sweden, Australia, Croatia and Belgium (for a list of past events, please visit the ISCM's World Music Days webpage).

The festival takes places in consecutive days, however, the host nation has some flexibility in determining the individual themes that drive the programming of the festival, either presenting a showcase of activity from around the world, or applying other criteria for the selection and programming of works. The festival strives to represent all legitimate members of the ISCM in one way or another through the activities of its programmes, such as: performances, seminars, exhibitions, etc.

To constitute the music for the event, one composer from each member country has the opportunity to have their work performed, after applying via their countries' Section and being selected from a shortlist by the Associate Members' panel. The selected composer also has the opportunity to attend accompanied by one of the countries' Associate Members.

The Section for Britain is Sound and Music, thus all applications for the festival must be submitted within.

The festival also provides an opportunity for the ISCM members to meet in their annual congress, to discuss issues affecting the organisation.

Last Year's World Music Days Festival - 2016

Patrick Friel Once upon an alphabet

Category 8a. Music for children (piano solo) max. 5 mins

Patrick studied Composition with Philip Grange at The University of Manchester, graduating from the Masters course with distinction in 2014. 

Patrick Friel 's compositions – described as ‘arresting, mesmerising, expansive, ambitious, kaleidoscopic’ – have been performed by Lionel Handy, Richard Casey, and the Fidelio Trio, and his Endangered Species Band was featured in the 2014 Southport International Jazz Festival. In 2015 he has produced work for Royal College of Art, Česká televize, and FAMU, Prague, and composed new music for young musicians through UCL Institute of Education. Patrick is passionate about teaching composition and will take up a post at St Michael’s Catholic Grammar School, Finchley, in 2015-16.



Read about previous years, here


15/09/2016 - The call for works for World Music Days Vancouver 2017 is now open.


ISCM British Section Panel Members:

  1. Naomi Belshaw
  2. Mark Bowden (Chair)
  3. Felix Carey
  4. Susanna Eastburn 
  5. Lore Lixenberg
  6. Annie Mahtani
  7. Pierre Alexandre Tremblay
  8. Serge Vuille
  9. Richard Whitelaw


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