Call for composers

Composers’ Workshop: Writing for Horn
Thursday 4 February 5pm-7pm

Call for composers

sound is a new music incubator based in North East Scotland, initially set up to give local audiences access to new music. It is now renowned in and beyond Scotland for producing and promoting high-quality work, for its support to composers of all generations and for attracting new audiences through its varied programming and inclusive nature.

sound’s objectives are to:

  • Increase access to new music and build audiences
  • Encourage excellence and experimentation
  • Nurture talent

We achieve these through a variety of activities including an annual festival, year-round collaborative events and learning and engagement activities, many in partnership with a range of local, national and sometimes international arts organisations.

The second part of the annual Composers’ Workshop takes place on Thursday 4 February on Zoom. The composing theme is writing for endangered instrument the French horn.
This session will consist of a talk led by leading composer Tansy Davies and a masterclass of solo pieces by an instrumentalist. The aim of the workshop is to give composers an insight into writing for the French horn as well as developing more general compositional ideas.
The renowned French horn player Ben Goldscheider will be joining us to lead a masterclass and he will select new pieces to workshop as part of this session. We are inviting composers to submit repertoire for this element.
Please note that we are committed to working with and supporting composers with additional support needs. Composers from under-represented groups and especially composers with disability are encouraged to apply.


  • Your piece must be for solo horn
  • Your piece should be no longer than five minutes long
  • You can write something new, or send in an unperformed work from your existing repertoire

How to Apply

Please note that you must be able to attend the masterclass on Thursday 4 February.

Please note we normally charge £10 for our Composers’ Day in-person. As this has moved to an online workshop split over a couple of days, you may attend for free, but we do ask for a contribution if you are able to do this. Full details about both parts of the Composers’ workshops will be announced soon.

We will let you know if your composition has been selected for the masterclass by 15 January 2021.

If you have any questions or need further information please contact

Selection process
As mentioned above sound is committed to working with and supporting composers from under-represented sections of the population. To enable this, there is a two-stage application process: an initial selection is made, and then this is narrowed down in a second stage selection process. If you are a female, disabled and/or BAME composer, you can self-select to be put forward automatically to the second round if you want. The selection panel will be made up of Ben Goldscheider and a representative of sound (either a staff member or the Chair).

Notes to composers applying

Selection for new music opportunities is inherently subjective and the criteria used can differ from project to project. We are frequently over-subscribed and often the quality of applications is extremely high from a wide range of composers, which usually means making difficult decisions.
Reasons for selecting one composer over another are not always to do with skill level or experience. We may, for example, be looking for the right fit for us as an organisation at a particular point in time e.g., we may be looking to develop specific strands or activity or genres of music.
For development opportunities that happen in a group setting, it may be that we need to take into consideration the coherence of that group e.g., we may prefer to have composers of a similar experience-level. We thus sometimes end up turning down composers with more experience or skills, or giving opportunities to composers who we feel would benefit most from a particular opportunity at that stage in their career, and faced with difficult choices we may sometimes turn down composers who may have already benefitted from a number of opportunities in the past.

We would however encourage composers to apply for any opportunities that interest them and for which they fit the specification, and not be discouraged if they are not selected for a particular opportunity, as it does not mean that they are not “good” enough. Please do continue to apply for any opportunity that interests you!

This opportunity is part of our soundcreators programme, which focuses on nurturing creative talent. soundcreators is funded by Creative Scotland, Help Musicians UK and the PRS for Music Foundation as well as by the Foyle Foundation, the Hugh Fraser Foundation and Aberdeen City Council.