Composer-Curator 2021: Sunderland Culture

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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 will open on Thursday 18th February.

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.

Here, we chat to our new friends and partners Sunderland Culture, to offer an overview of what Composer-Curator 2021 in Sunderland might look like.

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


Sunderland is going through a period of regeneration and the cultural sector is viewed as key to this, especially in the revival of the city centre. To support this, Sunderland Culture was formed in 2018 to bring together the investment of the three main drivers and funders of arts provision in the city, Sunderland City Council, University of Sunderland and Music, Arts and Culture Trust into a single, independent and resilient delivery model. We are an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and our programme delivers across the main venues in the city: National Glass Centre, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Arts Centre Washington and The Fire Station, as well as cross-city projects such as Sunderland Stages and our Great Place programme. Our mission is to improve life for everyone in Sunderland using arts and culture. We aim to do this by delivering an excellent and diverse cultural programme; encouraging everyone to get involved and by securing a revitalised and resilient cultural infrastructure.

Sunderland Culture said: “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.”


Thank you to our funders

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England         


Discover Composer-Curator in Hull with Back to Arts

Learn more about applying for our Composer-Curator 2021

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