Applications are now closed

How does the Covid-19 Composer Award work? 

These awards are not designed as a hardship fund or to supplement projects which have confirmed grant support already.  

We seek to award 15 small-scale grants of £500 to composers and music creators in the UK, looking to gain vital artistic and practical insight and experience in working with professional musicians, ensembles or other artistic collaborators.  

Following this period of tiered restrictions, quarantine and uncertainty, we are focusing Round 4 of the Covid-19 Composer Award on collaborative music making. This is a direct response to the feedback we received from our Covid-19 Composer Impact Survey earlier this year, where 79% of the composers we asked stated that the ‘ability to work with musicians (as a direct result of Covid-19 restrictions)’ was the most significant barrier to working and opportunities during the pandemic. 


What can the Award be used for?  

Below is an example, not an exhaustive list, of the types of activities this Award can support:  

  • a self-directed composition project that would benefit from a period of rehearsal, workshopping or collaboration with a musician(s), ensemble or other artistic collaborator (e.g., visual artist, other performing artist)  
  • undertaking a recording of existing work with one or more musicians 

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

There is no requirement to complete a new work or have a performance date secured. Activity can be in-person (following government guidelines) or online.


How does the selection process work?

Decisions will be made and Awards will be granted by an external panelist and 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 



To maximise the chances of your application being considered, please consider the following: 

  • Your application should not exceed £500  
  • Costs should be itemised 
  • Where artistic collaborators are being paid, fees are expected to be in alignment with rates as set by unions or similar bodies (e.g., Musicians’ Union, Equity, etc.) 
  • “Being selected for a Covid-19 Composer Award is incredibly exciting. With the grant, I’m being afforded the opportunity to learn and develop a new and promising aspect of my artistic practice."

    Lottie Sadd

  • “It’s a great honour to have been selected for this award! It means that not only can I add a new skill to my repertoire and spend time developing it into my work, but I can also create brand new works too.”


  • “I’m so grateful as 2020 was one of the hardest years for us all mentally and psychologically – every grant like this makes such a difference considering the loss of income from cancelled tours and gigs this year."

    Flora Yin-Wong

  • "I feel grateful to be one of the recipients of the Covid-19 Composer Award. In these turbulent times on a personal and global level, it is important to continue creating, evolving, and discovering new ways of existing."

    Jeph Vanger

  • “I’m made up. I feel very honoured. It’s timely for a multitude of reasons – it’s encouraging, validating – I’m excited about expanding my compositional tools to experiment with new styles.”

    Steph Walker

  • “This award has perfectly set me up to streamline and deliver projects from home. By purchasing a pair of condenser microphones I have been able to finalise my home studio, equipping me for covid-compatible professional life! Thank you Sound and Music!”

    Narotam Horn   

Who can apply?

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

  • 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)
  • are based in the UK (for at least 2 years) 

We particularly encourage applications from composers who are D/deaf, disabled or neurodivergent.



When will I hear back?

We will aim to let people know (if you have or have not been successful) by the end of July.  

Precise timing will depend on the number of applications we receive and we will inform all applicants if we experience delays in this process. 

Due to the expected high numbers of applicants, unfortunately, we 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. 

If you have any access needs or access related costs with regards to applying for this opportunity, which are not covered on this page, please contact: Alex Noble ( 

How do I apply?

Applications are now closed. 

Applications must be received by 23:59 on 15 July 2021. 

The application process should take less than 30 minutes. 

In the application form you will be asked: 

  • to upload a short biography (< 100 words)  
  • 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 and your approach to composing for the musician, ensemble or other performing artist 
  • 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 

Find out about our previous winners here 

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