PRS for Music Foundation has announced the first nine composers to be supported by its new Composers’ Fund.

Supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the fund aims to give composers more control of their careers by offering them direct access to funding.

It will offer £150,000 annually to support composers and enable them to realise projects and ambitions that may not be possible through traditional commissioning models.

The first nine supported composers are:

  • Cheryl Frances-Hoad – to promote her repertoire in North America with US orchestras, ensembles and choirs.
  • Gabriel Jackson – to develop his writing for instruments his compositions are not usually written for.
  • Gavin Higgins – to cover costs of using a studio space.
  • Joanna Lee – to cover costs of childcare, enabling her to compose full-time to write a new commission for BBC Proms and an opera for ENO.
  • Joe Cutler – to cover costs for sabbatical from full time university post, freeing up time for a major commission.
  • Ken Hesketh – to cover costs of recording his orchestral works spanning 12 years.
  • Laura Bowler – to cover costs for a commission and collaboration with Phil Venables.
  • Luke Bedford – to cover costs for research and development for a new opera and collaboration with playwright David Harrower
  • Luke Styles – to cover research and development for a Neo-Baroque opera.

Click here to access a specially curated Grammofy collection featuring music by the nine composers.

The creation of the fund was prompted by research in 2014 which highlighted that composers require support for a broad range of needs.

This was manifest in the applications received: 33% were looking for support to fund the writing of a new piece; 28% the research and development of new work; and 26% seeking support for work space, childcare, sabbatical cover, and equipment costs to give more time and space to aid composition.

Vanessa Reed, executive director for PRS for Music Foundation said: ‘We’re proud to be supporting these talented and distinctive composers, to take more control of their own destiny. I very much look forward to following their progress and seeing how this support enables them to develop their music and take their career to the next stage.’

‘Supporting composers directly is a new way of funding for us, and we’re grateful for the expert guidance of the PRS Foundation in directing our funding,’ said Alison Holdom, grants manager for Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. ‘We’re excited to see where this model takes us, and the composers themselves.’

Describing herself as ‘thrilled and grateful’, composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad said that the grant would make ‘a huge difference’ to her composing life.