The COVID-19 Composer Awards have been created by Sound and Music to support UK-based composers and music creators who have lost work due to the COVID-19 crisis to undertake creative or professional development.  

In April 2020, Sound and Music temporarily repurposed its existing Francis Chagrin Award in order to respond to the needs of the composer community during the unprecedented pandemic emergency to create the COVID-19 Composer Awards. 

Can you support the COVID-19 Composer Awards?

If you have the means, please make a donation to enable us to offer more awards to more composers. Not only will 100% of your donation go directly to the selected composers, but the value of your donation will be doubled thanks to match funding from a generous donor. Visit this page to make a donation, or contact us if you would like to support in any other way. We are actively seeking support for this award to ensure we can increase and sustain this essential support. In the first round, we were able to offer 13 awards thanks to the generosity of our donors. Read about the composers we selected here.
Applications now open

How does it work?

The awards are not a hardship fund. They seek to award 10 small-scale grants of £500 to composers and music creators looking to purchasing essential equipment or develop skills during this time of quarantine and tiered restrictions, particularly with a view to supporting composers and music creators longer-term ability to sustain themselves.

Examples of costs for which the Award may be used:

  • an online course
  • a programme of coaching or mentoring sessions
  • acquiring and learning a new software package
  • acquiring technical equipment integral to the creation of a specified new work or livestreaming opportunity (e.g. LED lighting panels or camera)
  • a self-directed learning project (e.g. learning performance skills)
  • undertaking a recording of existing work

We are looking for applicants who have a clear idea of the activity they would like to undertake and who will be able to pay for both the activity and their own time with the award.

What is the selection process?

Decisions will be made and awards will be granted by members of the Sound and Music team and in line with our Fair Access Principles.

The same criteria will be used to review all applications:

  • the impact this support will have on your future career
  • value for money (to maximise the impact of these awards)
  • diversity of recipients, a breadth of types of work and geographical locations will also be taken into consideration

When will I hear back?

We will let people know by mid-December. Precise timing will depend on the number of applications we receive and we will inform all applicants if we anticipate a much later date due to an unusually high number of applications.

Due to the expected high numbers of applicants and the exceptional nature of this fund, we unfortunately will not be able to offer personalised feedback on your application. If you are not successful we will send you information on how many people applied, plus any general advice if you plan to submit another application in the future.

Deadline: This deadline has now passed.

If you have any access needs with regards to applying for this opportunity which are not covered on this page, please get in touch with Alex Noble ( )

Who can apply?

Composers, music creators and artists working in sound are eligible to apply who:

• are based in the UK (for at least 2 years) or a British Citizen
• are not studying full or part-time
• are not currently participating in a Sound and Music programme (or a previous recipient of the COVID-19 Composer Award in 2020)

How do I apply?

Applications are now open, please submit an application. Applications must be received by 7th of December 2020, 12pm.

The application process is simple and should take less than 30 minutes.

In the application form you will be asked:

  • to upload a short biography (< 100 words) 
  • whether you need financial support for access-related costs in addition to the standard £500 award, and details of this
  • to upload a statement (in Word or PDF format – no more than ½ a side of A4) OR a video or audio application of no more than 2 minutes in which you:
    • briefly describe the activity you want to undertake
    • briefly describe why it is important to you right now; what difference will it make to you as an artist in terms of being better equipped to support yourself in the future?
    • provide a full breakdown of costs that make up the full grant of £500
  • to complete our Equal Opportunities monitoring form

See also

Photograph from a performance, in a dusty ound hall dancers pull sheets of fabric in a circle

This annual award is given to a UK-based composer for an outstanding new work created through one of our artist development programmes.

Read more about our George Butterworth Award and meet the recipients

A white man with dark hair and a white shirt is making notes on a score while a white woman with glasses makes corrections

All applicants to our New Voices programme who have been shortlisted and interviewed are awarded a targeted package of support, including coaching sessions and a small grant.

Find out more about our Seed Award

Shamima Ruddock, a Francis Chagrin Award winner

Sound and Music run a range of artist development programmes, including New Voices, Adopt a Music Creator, and Composer-Curator.

Explore our programmes and how to apply