Development opportunity for emerging Scotland-based 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.

Our 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.

Con Anima is a chamber choir based in Aberdeen. Since its formation in 1995, Con Anima has performed and developed an extensive, highly-varied and critically-acclaimed programme of new music.

Opportunity description

This development opportunity for Scottish-based composers is a collaboration between sound and Con Anima.

Three to four composers will have the opportunity to develop short works for unaccompanied chamber choir working alongside Con Anima and with the guidance of composer James Weeks. The new works will be performed by Con Anima during the 2023 soundfestival.

Draft schedule:

Session 1: Introduction to Con Anima and writing for chamber choir, early July date tbc
Where: Zoom
This first session will primarily allow you to meet with Con Anima, listen to examples of previous performances and get some pointers from composer James Weeks.

Session 2: Saturday 30th September
Where: Aberdeen
Con Anima singers will workshop the new pieces (drafts of which should have been delivered end of August) with James Weeks and the composers. The composers will then have a week to make any adjustments.

Performance: Saturday 28th October
Where: Aberdeen Art Gallery
A performance of the new works as part of the 2023 soundfestival. Details of the final rehearsal will be given to the composers as soon as it is fixed.

The composers will be offered an online mentoring slot with James Weeks during the writing of their piece.

The successful candidates will be emerging composers resident in Scotland. They can be at any stage in their career, however they should be able to demonstrate a number of years of compositional experience, and be able to articulate their development needs and how the opportunity would benefit them.

Please note that we are committed to working with and supporting composers from under-represented groups. Female, trans, gender-diverse and ethnic minority composers as well as composers with a disability are encouraged to apply.

Financial support for the opportunity is limited to related expenses for travel/accommodation. There will also be a stipend of £200 per composer for a delivered piece to be performed at soundfestival.

How to apply:

To apply for the opportunity please complete this Google form:
If further information is required, please contact Kadri Soerunurk on

Deadline for applications: Wednesday 14th June 2023
We are offering a 2-day “grace period” until Friday 16th June at 11am for applicants who can’t reach the deadline due to health, having to care for family members and other reasonable and/or unexpected circumstances. Please state your reason in the application form.
We will inform you whether you are successful or not by the 23rd June 2023.

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 or gender-minority composer, disabled, from an ethnic minority and/or from a low-income background, you can choose to self-select to be put forward automatically to the second round. The selection panel will be made up of a representative(s) of Con Anima, the composer mentor and a representative of sound.

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 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 the 2023-2024 soundcreators programme, which focuses on nurturing creative talent.

soundcreators is funded by the PRS for Music Foundation,
Creative Scotland, Fenton Arts Trust, Hugh Fraser Foundation, William Syson Foundation and Aberdeen City Council.

This opportunity is also funded by Hope Scott Trust.