Legato: Call for Early-Career Composers

sound and the Contemporary Music Centre Ireland are looking for applications from four talented early-career composers: two from the island of Ireland and two from the UK, to take part in an exciting 14 month international composer development programme called Legato.

Legato will run from September 2024 to early November 2025. It was devised by partner organisations from France, Ireland and Scotland: Contemporary Music Centre Ireland, New Music Dublin,  Sound Festival and Festivals Ensemble (comprising Ensemble 2e2m, Cairn, Court-circuit, Multilatérale and Sillages). 

The aim is to give 6 early-career composers (2 from each country) the opportunity to discover new music from each other’s countries, to write new work under the guidance of two composer mentors (Jérôme Combier and Laura Bowler) and to have their works performed at festivals in Bagnolet, Dublin and Aberdeen. 

The timeline will be:

Session 1 18th - 22nd September 2024: Festival Ensemble(s) in Paris

Attending festival & workshops with composer mentors

In-between: Start working on pieces for 5 musicians: from French ensembles (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano)

Session 2 late April 2025: New Music Dublin 

Attending festival, working on pieces with musicians and composer mentors.

Sharing of work at New Music Dublin.

In-between: Finalising of pieces.

Session 3 September 2025 (dates tbc): Festival Ensemble(s) in Paris

Premières of new works

Session 4 Late October/ early November 2025:

Attending soundfestival and second performances of new works


The successful applicants will be expected to attend all the sessions, in order to discover more about New Music in each other’s countries, and to develop their practice by working alongside each other as well as with the composer-mentors and professional musicians.

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


The successful candidates will be paid a stipend of 600 euros each and their travel and accommodation costs will be covered for all parts of the project.  


You will need to submit the following information:


Motivational statement: Why you want to take part in this particular opportunity? How this opportunity will develop your compositional skills and advance your career? How will the international and intercultural element benefit you?

How will you develop an artistic vision for the new work? Do you already have any ideas?

2 scores and/or 2 recordings max.

To apply for the opportunity, please complete this Google form:

Deadline for applications: Monday 26th February 11.59pm 

We are offering a 2-day “grace period” until the end of day on Wednesday 28th February for applicants who can’t reach the deadline due to health challenges, having to care for family members, or other reasonable and/or unexpected circumstances. Please state your reason in the application form. 

We will inform all candidates of the outcome by the 22nd of March 2024.

Selection process

As mentioned above, we are 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 all the partner organisations.

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 benefited 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 to 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!