About the ISCM

The International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) is an international network of members from around fifty countries, devoted to the promotion and presentation of new and contemporary music. Sound and Music represents the British Section of the ISCM and supports British composers to have work performed at the annual ISCM World Music Days Festival. This takes place in a different member nation each year, most recently in New Zealand, Estonia, and China.

World Music Days Festival

The prestigious annual World Music Days Festival is the principal vehicle through which the ISCM 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 festival takes places on 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.

One composer from each member country has the opportunity to have their work performed and attend, after applying via their countries' Section and being selected from a shortlist by the Associate Members' panel.

ISCM World Music Days Festival 2021 will take place in Shanghai (17-20 September) and Nanning (21-25 September), China.

Previous ISCM British Section representatives

2020: Joe Cutler
2019: Claudia Molitor
2018: Ryan Latimer


How do I apply?

1. Read the full Call Document including Works Categories.

2. Submit an online application by using the online application form here. Please note composers are limited to one submission only.

Deadline for applications: This deadline has now passed

We will let you know no later than 17 March 2021 whether your work has been shortlisted for submission. Feedback will be offered to those not shortlisted.

Any questions? Email Alex Noble (alex.noble@soundandmusic.org)


If you have access needs which would mean additional financial support is needed in order for you to undertake work as part of this award, please let us know in your application. If you require access support in order to fill out the application form, please get in touch using the email address above.


How are the shortlisted works selected?


Two members of the ISCM British Section will review submitted pieces and select six works for submission to the International Jury. Our submissions need to cover at least four of the listed categories. Provided Sound and Music meets these requirements, it is guaranteed that at least one work submitted by ISCM Britain will be included in the World Music Days Festival. 

Composers from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland


Composers from Wales are eligible to apply to either the Welsh Section or the British Section, bearing in mind the stipulation that composers may only submit one work in total. Anyone living and working in Wales is encouraged to apply via the Welsh Section which is administered by Ty Cerdd 

Composers from Scotland are eligible to apply to either the Scottish Associate Section or the British Section, bearing in mind the stipulation that composers may only submit one work in total. Anyone living and working in Scotland is encouraged to apply via the Scottish Associate section which is administered by the Scottish Music Centre and New Music Scotland. 

Composers from Northern Ireland are permitted to apply to either the Irish or the British Section, bearing in mind the stipulation that composers may only submit one work in total 

ISCM British Section 2020 - profile photos

The ISCM British Section 2021 Shortlist: (clockwise from top left) Carmen Ho, Conrad Asman, Simon Le Boggit, Grace-Evangeline Mason, Robin Haigh, Fintan O'Hare.

ISCM British Section 2020 - profile photos

ISCM British Section 2020

The ISCM British Section 2020 Shortlist: (clockwise from top left) James Moriarty, Joe Cutler, Matthew Kaner, Naomi Pinnock, Manuella Blackburn, Tom Coult

ISCM British Section 2019

ISCM British Section 2019

The ISCM British Section 2019 Shortlist: (clockwise from top left) Cameron Graham, Claudia Molitor, Lillie Harris, Oliver Leith, Michael Betteridge, Alex Groves


McNulty - Joe Cutler

Joe Cutler's McNulty was selected for the ISCM 2020 British Section.

"The piece takes some inspiration from the American TV drama series ‘The Wire’, concerning itself with ideas of what is pertinent and non-pertinent material, 2nd generation heritage (in this case Irish-American), and musical structures that go off the rails."
Joe Cutler
ISCM 2020

Auricularis Superior - Claudia Molitor

Claudia Molitor's Auricularis Superior was selected for the ISCM 2019 British Section.

"To experience Auricularis Superior the listener is encouraged to find a comfortable, stimulating or intriguing place to sit, lie down or amble through whilst the 30 minute piece weaves together stories, field-recordings and music. Ideally the piece is heard through headphones."
Claudia Molitor
ISCM 2019

Have a question about this programme or projects? Wondering if this programme is right for you? Unsure about how it works?

If you have any questions, please contact: info@soundandmusic.org

We are grateful to The Bliss Trust for the Arthur Bliss Travel Award, which supports composers to travel to ISCM.

Sound and Music encourages our audiences to join the Bliss Society.

See also

Collage of composer-curator projects

Composer-Curator is a composer-led and curated national touring programme which supports outstanding live and digital music projects and events.

Find out more about Composer-Curator and how to apply

A white blonde woman workshopping a piece with an ensemble

Adopt a Music Creator is a unique scheme, developed in partnership with Making Music UK, that pairs composers with leisure-time music ensembles and groups to collaborate on the creation of a new piece.

Explore Adopt a Music Creator and how to apply

Shamima Ruddock, a Francis Chagrin Award winner

This is a small grant to support composers and their work through self-learning projects, equipment, mentoring, and other direct costs for a project or artist development.

Read more and apply to the COVID-19 Composer Awards