Ludlow Song Young Composers' Workshop 2024

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Ludlow Song are looking for young composers, aged 16 to 25, who are facing financial barriers to their musical practice, to take part in a free, expenses-paid workshop with leading composer and teacher Professor Julian Philips in September this year. The workshop is an opportunity to explore English song in its widest sense: music for voice with text in the English language.

The workshop is generously supported by the Gerald Finzi Trust, and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

What we are offering
– 4 or 5 composers will be selected to take part in a 1 day workshop in Birmingham on Saturday 14th September. Please see ‘How to Apply’ below for details.
– In August, the successful applicants will be asked to share a work in progress to be workshopped: a song or groups of songs with a text in the English language.
– At the workshop in September, they will work on their compositions with Professor Philips, along with an experienced singer and pianist, and will also learn from each others’ ideas and processes.
– The day will end with a free public performance, including a chance to share the new works in progress with a supportive audience.
– We will cover travel (and where necessary accommodation) costs, and will also pay a per diem to cover other expenses on the day (such as food).
– We are committed to making the workshop as accessible as possible. This includes using accessible spaces. We have also put aside an access budget to make sure we can meet disabled and neurodivergent composers’ needs. If selected you will be invited to share your access requirements with us, but if you have questions feel free to contact the administrator Toria Banks on
– The workshop is an opportunity for young composers to meet each other and the Ludlow Song team, including Artistic Director Iain Burnside. We hope that at least one
participant will be offered a paid commission for Ludlow English Song Weekend 2025, with additional mentoring, and support to attend the festival in Shropshire next April.

“It gave me a very early opportunity to start truly workshopping pieces. We weren’t expected to come with finished pieces, we came with drafts, we came with ideas, and we worked through them with the performers and really looked at their potential…It was not just the platform itself but all the friendships and connections I made through it, and I felt that it really shaped the course of my career as a composer.” Christopher Churcher

About Ludlow Song
Ludlow Song is led by Artistic Director Iain Burnside, and is the organisation behind the Ludlow English Song Weekend, an annual three day festival in South Shropshire. The festival
celebrates English Song, both familiar and unfamiliar, including new compositions and young composers, through a carefully curated mix of concerts, panel discussions, masterclasses,
and films. You can read more here. In 2024, the festival included songs by 30 composers, including 2 premieres, and singers including Roderick Williams and James Newby.
This new project builds on the success of our Young Composers’ Platform. Past participants in the Young Composers’ Platform include Michael Betteridge, Carmel Smickersgill, Lara Agar, Hugh Morris, Leoni Hughes-King, Derri Joseph Lewis, Will Harmer, Emily Pederson, Dominic Wills and Christopher Churcher.

“The opportunity to choose any text I liked and have it brought to life by the most amazing artists was such a fabulous opportunity… it really set off my love of writing songs, so you should definitely apply.” Derri Joseph Lewis

Who this opportunity is for…
– composers who will be aged 16-25 on 14th September 2024*.
– who are facing financial barriers to pursuing their musical practice.

We recognise that this currently applies to a lot of young people in a wide range of circumstances. The application form asks a couple of simple questions, and gives you an opportunity for you to tell us about the barriers you are facing. This information will be used to check your eligibility and will not be seen by the shortlisting panel.

– It is equally open to composers who are in or out of formal education, and to those just beginning their journey as a composer, or those already embarked on a professional career. Applicants will initially be shortlisted based on an anonymous assessment of a submitted score.

*Please note: participants who are under 18 will need to be accompanied by an adult.

“I got a lot out of both the process of working with a new poet, and the opportunity for some feedback. It was also particularly important as a first large project outside of an educational context for me. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in writing for voice!” Hugh Morris

How to Apply
To apply please fill in the online form here by 23:59 on 10th June 2024.

The form is very straightforward and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to complete. It asks you for:
1. Some basic details about yourself.
2. To confirm your eligibility, by answering a few simple questions about your age and financial circumstances.
3. To attach ONE PDF score which reflects your current compositional practice. This DOES NOT need to be an English song. If possible you should choose a vocal work, but if you cannot it will not negatively affect your application. Please note, your score will be assessed anonymously and MUST NOT include your name. Named scores will NOT be considered.
4. You will have the option to attach a sound file of the same piece (either a recording or a software-generated sound file), but if you cannot this will not negatively affect your application. Please note, we cannot accept web links to recordings, in order to preserve anonymity in the assessment process.

If you have any problems with the form, or any questions please contact Toria Banks at

– We will notify all applicants of the result of their application before the end of Friday 28th June 2024.
– Successful applicants will be asked to submit a song – or group of songs – in progress, for the workshop, by 5th August 2024. Further guidance on this submission will be given to successful applicants, but if you have questions you can contact Toria on
– Ludlow Song Young Composers’ Workshop will be held at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on Saturday 14th September 2024 in the afternoon (time tbc), followed by a free public performance which will finish at or before 7.30pm.
– Ludlow English Song Weekend will take place from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th April 2025.

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