Black Composers Open Call

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Black Composers Open Call – British Music Collection


Today we are seeking to support Black composers, artists, music creators and collectives from the African and Caribbean diaspora based in the UK but are particularly interested in receiving proposals from Black Women and Black non-binary composers, to create new works as part of our third series celebrating Black histories, sounds, and stories.

Here at Sound and Music and particularly on the British Music Collection, we feel it is important to capture moments in our history; to create a space to reflect, to celebrate individual voices, and to address the under-representation of Black composers and their works.

The opportunity:


Black Composers Open Call: 2 x £500 grants for new sonic works.

These new works will be hosted uniquely on the British Music Collection website and featured as part of Minute of Listening (in full or as an extract), introducing children and young people to new musical creators, inspiration, and a wider listening experiences. Find out more about Minute of Listening here.

These works will also be shared widely via our social channels and newsletters.

The brief for this project is intentionally open and isn’t tied to any specific themes, as we want to support Black composers to make the works they wish and feel need to be heard. Previous projects have covered themes such as ‘identity and the anxiety of influence’, notions of ‘identity and aesthetic’ and issues surrounding the breadth of new music produced by Black composers across the UK.

These works can be created either alone (solo) or with collaborators of your choice (this could be another composer / musician / visual artist / filmmaker / animator / writer etc.)

For the fee, we are looking for 1-5 minute creative, sonic, responses. If you would like to produce a longer piece of work, you are welcome, but Sound and Music is keen to ensure everyone is paid fairly and properly for their time and work.

The named applicant must be based in the UK.

Please note that chosen works will only be included in Minute of Listening as long as they are appropriate for a young audience and subject to agreement with the selected artists

How to apply:


Apply here: Link to application form

Deadline for applications: 1st December 2020

To apply you will need to provide:

  • Your email (so we can get in touch with you)
  • 250 words or a 2 minute video about your idea for this work
  • 250 words or a 2 minute video about your experience including links to previous work if possible
  • You will also be asked to complete Sound and Music’s Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

Please note that videos do not need to be you talking to camera. Please apply in whatever way best suits your needs.

If you have a question, you can contact: Heather Blair, Creative Project Leader –

All applicants will hear back from us by the 15th of December 2020

Selection process:


A panel of Sound and Music staff will select the successful applicants.

Sound and Music is committed to equality, inclusivity and diversity across all our programmes. We actively encourage applicants who are D/deaf; disabled; LGBTQI+; working class; who have experienced racism; and applicants who feel they have had less access to opportunity, or who have experienced barriers or discrimination, due to a protected or other characteristic.

You can find out more about our commitment to creating open and inclusive opportunities by reading our Fair Access Principles.

If you have any questions or would like this document in another format, please contact Alex Noble, Executive Administrator

Previous works:


The first edition, in this series, featured video work by composer Des Oliver and musician and researcher Clifton Harrison, addressing the complex interplay of identity, history and musical style for composers of colour today.

Des Oliver curated documentary series by, explores issues surrounding Black identity with the breadth of new music produced by Black composers across the UK, under the theme ‘identity and the anxiety of influence’. My digital gallery is a showcase for the diversity of thought, attitude, creativity, and musical language among musicians who are black.

Clifton Harrison explored the notions of identity and aesthetic and the relationship between the two. This project looks at this relationship with five incredible and distinctive composers, Eleanor Alberga, Hannah Catherine Jones, Hannah Kendall, Dr. Shirley J. Thompson OBE, and Errollyn Wallen MBE.

You can see more about these projects here:

The second edition, composer Daniel Kidane, sparked by a call for curation by the British Music Collection, created, Daniel Kidane’s Composer Club, involved three students, nominated by their violin teachers. Over the course of a few weeks, and working on their pieces at home, each student wrote a short piece for their instrument. Not only were these pieces eventually scored, but the children participated in live rehearsals with LMM Ambassador Agata Szymczewska, who helped them understand how their music could be lifted from the page and into performance.

You can see more about this project here:

Black Musical Histories on Minute of Listening


As part of Black History Month we launched a brand new mini-collection on Minute of Listening, Black Musical Histories, which offers a taste of the impact Black musicians and artists have had across so many forms of instrumental music. We created a bespoke set of reimagined teaching resources dedicated to the topic.

To escape the confines of genre, which often pigeonhole artists into political and social binaries, in this collection we chose to focus on these artists’ varied use of instruments, re-imagining our understanding of sound and history in a new context.

You can see more about this project here:

Find out more #BlackHistoryMonth

Black History Month 2020: Our Data

On Black History Month 2020 by Susanna Eastburn

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