Young Composers 2024

Ella Fradgley

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Young Composers 2024 


What is National Youth Choir Young Composers? 

National Youth Choir Young Composers scheme supports composers in the early stages of their careers, who are committed to developing as professional composers and who have a passion for creating high-quality, imaginative new music for vocal ensembles.

When does the programme take place?

January 2024 – January 2025

The National Youth Choir Young Composers will engage in an annual programme. The 2024 Young Composers will first meet for the Introduction Weekend in January 2024 alongside National Youth Choir Fellows. They will then come together throughout the year, culminating in the National Youth Choir Showcase in early 2025.

Who can apply?

The scheme is open to aspiring young composers aged 18+ on 1 September 2023 and under 30 on 31 August 2024 who demonstrate clear ability, potential, and a passion for creating high-quality, imaginative new music for vocal ensembles. It is open to applicants who will be resident in the UK for the duration of the programme and who are eligible to train/work in the UK.

The scheme is particularly designed to support emerging composers from a broad range of musical backgrounds and genres. The National Youth Choir is striving to build an inclusive community. We want to help achieve meaningful and balanced representation in the areas of composition for vocal ensembles. To this end, we strongly encourage young people of Black, Asian & ethnically diverse backgrounds to apply for this programme. We also welcome applications from disabled people as well as those from lower income households. The Young Composers scheme is a free training programme and expenses are covered by National Youth Choir.

Applicants do not have to have undertaken formal education or training, be a published composer, or have music qualifications e.g. a Music degree or A-Level to apply and we welcome applications from young composers who may not have a traditional composing background or formal training in composition. We want to work with composers from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences and actively encourage applications from those working in ways which are not ‘traditionally choral’ or acoustic.

In order to fully participate in this programme and experience its full benefits, applicants should not be in full-time formal education during the course of the programme. We would consider studying on a full-time degree or other higher education programme to be full-time formal education. We recognise that some education, for example a programme of research-based study may be organised on a part-time or more flexible basis, and if someone is taking part in this type of programme and can commit to the schedule of Young Composers scheme activities, they would be eligible to apply.

We will prioritise candidates who we think are at the right point in their development for the scheme to provide most benefit.

If you have any questions about the scheme including around your eligibility to apply, you can contact us at:

What is the application process?

Candidates must submit an application via the electronic form, which includes 2 portfolio items, by 4pm Friday 1st September 2023.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a half-day online workshop and interview with National Youth Choir staff, composer Joanna Marsh (lead mentor) and a representative from our partner organisation NMC Recordings.

Interviews will be held on Thursday 14th and/or Friday 15th September 2023 over Zoom. The four successful composers will be notified by email as soon as possible after the interview.

What are the portfolio item requirements?

We want the scheme to be accessible to the widest possible range of creative approaches. If you are not sure whether your portfolio items are suitable, please contact  

Candidates must complete the electronic application form and submit it together with at least two and maximum four portfolio items.

  • At least one portfolio item must be a notated or otherwise visualised score* and attached to the online application form.
  • At least one portfolio item must be an audio or video recording of your music.
  • Portfolio item 1 must include vocal ensemble (two or more vocal parts occurring simultaneously), and portfolio item 2 must feature a voice or voices in some way.
  • Video portfolio items should be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo and linked or embedded in the online application form.
  • Audio portfolio items should be uploaded to YouTube, Soundcloud, a personal website or other freely accessible platform, and linked or embedded in the online application form.

*We do not wish to restrict applications by composers working in non-notated forms, for example beatboxing or sequencing. However, we will require you to demonstrate that you can communicate your musical ideas in some sort of written or diagram form. Please contact if you are unsure.

What will happen at the workshop and interview?

Shortlisted candidates will attend a group workshop where they will learn more about the organisation and our approach to collaborative music creation. The interview will take the form of a short conversation (with the panel) in which candidates will be able to give an overview of their composing portfolio to date and discuss their particular interest in writing for vocal ensembles.

What does it cost to take part?

National Youth Choir Young Composers is a free training programme, with all expenses paid. Each composer will also receive a personal Innovation Grant of £750 which they may use to fund creative endeavours linked to their work on the training programme. In addition, each composer will receive a £500 fee for the pieces they write during the year on the scheme. This is all subject to funding.


Apply now via this link. 

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