Today, we are delighted to announce that we have been awarded significant funding from the Boltini Trust to lead the development of Music Patron, an ambitious new online platform that will connect composers directly with patrons. Alongside the appointment of Sonia Stevenson as Head of Music Patron, who will be joining our team.
Music Patron will be an online platform like no other, creating new and direct sources of funding for the vital creative work of today’s composers – work which is all too often held up by a lack of funding. Music Patron is motivated by the ambition to support more composers to have more time to focus on composing, as well as to attract new audiences and patrons to engage directly with composers and the music they create. Funding through Music Patron will complement established funding models for composers in the UK, including commission fees, royalty payments, commercial income, project funding and awards.
Music Patron is the brainchild of philanthropist and composer Anthony Bolton, who is also funding the development through his family trust, the Boltini Trust. Music Patron will be made possible with substantial annual grant funding from the Boltini Trust over the next 5 years, at the end of which time it is hoped that the platform will be self-sustaining as well as channelling significant donations to hundreds of composers across the UK.
Commenting on the need for Music Patron, Anthony said:
“Music Patron has never felt more important. The impact of the pandemic means that many composers are living with huge daily pressure to access the financial support and opportunities they need in order to create and compose music. There are also additional challenges such as cancelled or indefinitely postponed commissions, and even greater competition for funding, to name but a few. The future looks even more precarious and uncertain.
Although these issues have been escalated by COVID-19, the challenges facing composers in the UK to develop and maintain a sustainable and successful professional career are well established and long-recognised.
We don’t believe that Music Patron will solve all of the challenges composers face today. But we do believe it can have a positive impact and potentially transform the culture of giving in the UK. And we believe that many more people will support new music, if we create a space for them to do so.”
As incoming Head of Music Patron, Sonia Stevenson commented:
“I’m enormously excited to be taking up this new role creating, crafting and launching Music Patron. Much of my career has been spent helping composers in one guise or another, and I’m acutely aware of the challenges that they face. Composers are extraordinary people, but their work is often undervalued. Now more than ever they need support, and it’s my sincere hope that Music Patron will help to address that need.”
Music Patron was conceived via consultation with a range of composers, organisations and individuals. As this project develops we are committed to a collaborative approach – to bring in further consultation, to create an equal space for success and to open up this journey to others.
Our Chief Executive, Susanna Eastburn MBE, commented:
“Now is the time for Music Patron to come to life, as it responds both to the ever greater pressure on income sources for composers, and to the huge potential opened up by the growth in digital engagement. It is a great honour and responsibility for Sound and Music to be taking on the development of Music Patron. Anthony’s vision is an inspiring and generous one, bringing together his wish for a long-term change in how composers are supported with a belief that many more people will support them if given the opportunity to do so directly. From our earliest discussions, we have felt great synergy with the ambitions of Music Patron, and look forward to welcoming Sonia to the team and to making this vision a reality.”
Alongside the above, we will be conducting an additional piece of research to better understand the needs of UK based composers, how they have and continue to be affected in 2020 and how we can help them to remain in the industry. The insight gained will directly inform the development of Music Patron.
About Sonia Stevenson
Sonia Stevenson grew up in St Andrews. She studied at St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh and King’s College London, where she gained a BMus and MMus. Her work has spanned many different aspects of the music business.
In 2012 she founded her own festival, St Andrews Voices, dedicated to vocal and choral music. She has also worked as a Composer Agent, Project Consultant at Macbeth Media Relations, Artistic Director of Lichfield Festival, Promotion Manager at Faber Music, PA to the conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, Artist Manager at Connaught Artists and Concerts Department Assistant at the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Since 2015 she has been on the board of the British Arts Festival Association, and in 2019 she was elected Chair.
Sonia is a keen oboist, singer, ballet dancer and runner.