Development opportunity for Scotland-based composers

Chris Joseph

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sound is a new music incubator based in North East Scotland, initially set up to give local audiences access to new music. It is now renowned in and beyond Scotland for producing and promoting high-quality work, for its support to composers of all generations and for attracting new audiences through its varied programming and inclusive nature.

sound’s objectives are to:

  • Increase access to new music and build audiences
  • Encourage excellence and experimentation
  • Nurture talent


We achieve these through a variety of activities including an annual festival, year-round collaborative events and learning and engagement activities, many in partnership with a range of local, national and sometimes international arts organisations.

This development opportunity for Scotland-based composers is part of our soundcreators programme, which focuses on nurturing creative talent. soundcreators is funded by Creative Scotland, Help Musicians UK and the PRS for Music Foundation as well as by Idlewild Trust, the Hugh Fraser Foundation, the Leche Trust and Aberdeen City Council.


It is organised in partnership with Red Note, Scotland’s Contemporary Music Ensemble. Since its formation in 2008, Red Note Ensemble has taken up a leadership position as Scotland’s contemporary music ensemble, performing and developing both an extensive, highly-varied and critically-acclaimed programme of new music.

Five composers will have the opportunity to develop works of around 5 minutes for double bass and marimba working alongside Iain Crawford (double bass) and Tom Hunter (marimba) from Red Note and composer mentor (tbc). The new works will be performed during the 2021 soundfestival.



Draft schedule:


Session 1: Introduction to double bass and marimba, 12 August 2021

Where: Zoom

This first session will primarily be an introduction to writing for double bass and marimba, and will be led by Iain Crawford, Tom Hunter and composer mentor (tbc)


Session 2, late-August 2021 tbc

Where: Zoom

1-to-1 mentoring sessions with composer mentor (tbc) and musicians. The composers will submit short (approximately 30 second sketches) in advance.

Following this, the composers will work up full pieces for the third session.


Session 3, 12 September 2021

Where: tbc (Central Belt)

The composers will work alongside two musicians from Red Note Ensemble to develop new works. It is expected that composers will bring work in progress with them. The session will last a whole day.

The composers will then have until mid-October to make any last adjustments.

Rehearsal, mid-October (date tbc)

Where: tbc (Central Belt)
The pieces will be rehearsed with the composers in attendance.

Performance, end of October (date tbc)

Where: Aberdeen
A performance of the new works as part of the 2021 soundfestival. There will also be a rehearsal prior to the performance.



The five successful candidates will be talented composers resident in Scotland. They can be at any stage in their career, however they should be able to demonstrate a number of years of compositional experience, and must be able to articulate their development needs and how the opportunity would benefit them.


Please note that we are committed to working with and supporting composers with additional support needs. Composers from under-represented groups and especially composers with disability are encouraged to apply.


Financial support for the opportunity is limited to related expenses for travel/accommodation. There will also be a small commission fee of £200 per composer for a delivered piece to be performed at soundfestival.


For more information and how to apply, see our website:

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