Today, we are very excited to introduce you to our new regional partners Back to Ours, Hull, and Sunderland Culture who will be joining us for this year’s Composer-Curator programme.

Applications for Composer-Curator 2021 are now open and will close on Sunday 4th April at 11:59pm.

Composer-Curator supports outstanding projects across the UK that are curated and produced by composers and music-creators. These are centred on live (when possible) and digital performances, events, festivals and installations which celebrate any form of experimental new sound and music.

You can find out more about the type of projects we support and previous Composer-Curators here.

In line with our commitment to bringing new music to more people, who may not normally have access, in more places locally, we have developed this year’s programme in partnership with Back to Ours and Sunderland Culture. Our aim is to support composers, music-creators and collectives, who have a meaningful connection to these regions, to build a more thriving, sustainable and inclusive communities for their work and new music in Hull and Sunderland.

This is a brand-new trial for Composer-Curator and we will share our learnings along the way. If you have a question about this or about the partnership, please contact Heather Blair, Creative Project Leader.


Meet the Partners

Back to Ours, Hull

Hull’s musical  heritage is magical; The Beautiful South, the Housemartins, Fine Young Cannibals, The Paddingtons and Everything But The Girl all hail from the city, and who could forget Mick Ronson and Trevor Bolder, two of Bowie’s Spiders from Mars? We’ve hosted some huge bands over the years in venues such as Bonus Arena and Hull City Hall, iconic smaller independent venues such as Welly, Adelphi and Polar Bear have seen artists like PJ Harvey, Pulp, Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine, The La’s and Radiohead cut their teeth there, and if you haven’t been to Sesh, flooding Humber Street with over 200 artists every August, you haven’t lived.

We’re really proud and excited to partner with Sound and Music and Sunderland Culture on Composer-Curator 2021, supporting artists to create new work and experiences with audiences firmly at their heart.”

Learn more about Composer-Curator with Back to Ours

Sunderland Culture

We are delighted to be partnering with Sound and Music and Hull’s Back to Ours on a new round of the Composer-Curator programme for regional musicians to curate new music projects. Sunderland has a rich music history, producing household names such as Bryan Ferry, Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics and Emile Sande and enjoys a particularly vibrant indie scene including such bands as Field Music, The Futureheads, Frankie and the Heartstrings and Nadine Shah.

The city has several small venues supporting grass roots music development like Pop Recs and Independent and encourages emerging musicians with We Make Culture’s Young Musician’s Project. However, it has lacked a large enough venue able to attract well known touring artists, causing local audiences to travel to other north east cities to see their favourite musicians. This is all set to change when we open The Fire Station’s auditorium, Sunderland’s first mid-scale, multi-purpose venue, later this year.

Aiming to attract over 100,000 people each year to enjoy a vibrant and packed programme of music, theatre, dance, comedy and spoken word, we expect to present the Composer-Curator projects in our new venue to showcase the fabulous talent we have in our region.”

Learn more about Composer-Curator with Sunderland Culture

About Composer-Curator

Starting in May 2021, Composer-Curator offers a bespoke package of financial support along with practical guidance on areas such as fundraising, marketing, audience engagement and event production led by Sound and Music, with more focussed regional-specific insight provided by Back to Ours and Sunderland Culture.

Mentoring support will also be available from Lisa Meyer, Artistic Director at Supersonic Festival.

What are we looking for?

If you’re thinking of applying for this opportunity or know someone who might be interested, you may be wondering: What do they mean by a ‘meaningful’ connection to Hull and Sunderland?

Firstly, we don’t mean that the composers and music creators need to live or be based in these regions, although that would be brilliant, but we are looking to support people who have some connections to these places – maybe through family, study, previous work or similar – but we do want people who understand these regions, their current scenes and their audiences. We believe this is essential to this programme’s success.

Applications open on Thursday 18th February

Head of Digital and Audience Engagement, Victoria Johnson-Henckel, said:

As a national organisation, we are committed to supporting all composers and music creators across the UK to realise their visions, and bring their extraordinary works and events to new communities – no matter where those communities are. To do this, we need to understand regional connections and contexts, to put our ears to the ground, to spend time in these places and to understand their sounds. Through this wonderful new partnership with Back to Ours and Sunderland Culture we will be able to do just that, to understand the needs of both artists and audiences locally and bring them together to experience something truly memorable.


New Music Network

Composer-Curator 2021 and this new way of working also marks the creation of the New Music Network, a new initiative from Sound and Music to support new music nationally. Through national and cross-regional networking, skills-sharing and peer learning between organisations, the New Music Network aims to create an increased and consistent new music offer for both audiences and artists across the UK. 

If you are interested in joining the New Music Network or finding out more, please contact Sophie Morrison, Head of Development.


Thank you to Composer-Curator's funders