PRS for Music Foundation announces the first nine recipients of The Composers' Fund

Nine talented composers receive grants of up to £10k to help them take more control of their careers

PRS Foundation Composers' Fund logo lock up

PRS for Music Foundation today (28 June 2016) announces the first nine composers that will be supported through the ground breaking Composers’ Fund established by PRS Foundation earlier this year to support the UK’s most talented composers to develop their work in the UK and overseas. 

The nine composers receiving support 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.

PRS Foundation is excited to be partnering with up and coming classical music streaming platform Grammofy allowing you to listen to all the composers on a specially curated collection from today here.

The fund, which aims to give composers more control of their next steps by offering them direct access to funding at pivotal stages in their careers, was launched by PRS for Music Foundation at City Hall, London in April 2016 with additional support from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. The fund offers £150,000 annually to support composers and enable them to realise projects and ambitions that may not be possible through traditional commissioning models.

The Composers’ Fund was created following PRS for Music Foundation’s research in 2014 exploring the challenges composers meet when controlling their career direction. The research highlighted that composers faced limited access to funding, low commission fees, lack of any support structure, pressurised working conditions and for established and mid-career composers in particular, a decrease in commissioning opportunities.

This first round revealed that composers require support for a broad range of needs, demonstrating the importance of an open and flexible fund like this. Across 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. 


Congratulations to the nine composers selected from this competitive first round of applications. 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.

Vanessa Reed, Executive Director - PRS for Music Foundation

We support the development of emerging artistic talent – usually through established arts organisations. 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. We’re excited to see where this model takes us, and the composers themselves.

Alison Holdom, Grants Manager - Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

I am so thrilled and grateful to have been given this support by the PRS for Music Foundation’s Composers Fund. It will make a huge difference to my composing life.

Supported composer, Cheryl Frances-Hoad

PRS for Music Foundation gratefully acknowledges Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for supporting The Composers’ Fund.


Notes to editors

PRS for Music Foundation is the UK's leading charitable funder of new music and talent development across all genres. Since 2000 PRS for Music Foundation has given more than £23.6 million to over 5,300 new music initiatives by awarding grants and leading partnership programmes that support music sector development. Widely respected as an adventurous and proactive funding body, PRS for Music Foundation supports an exceptional range of new music activity – from composer residencies and commissions to festivals and showcases in the UK and overseas.

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK both now and in the future. We do this by funding the charitable work of organisations with the ideas and ability to achieve positive change. The Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK. We make grants of £30 - £35 million annually towards a wide range of work within the arts, children and young people, the environment and social change.  We also operate a £26 million Finance Fund which invests in organisations that aim to deliver both a financial return and a social benefit.

About PRS for Music

Here for music since 1914, PRS for Music is a world-leading music collective management organisation representing the rights of more than 175,000 talented songwriters, composers and music publishers. Redefining the global standard for music royalties, PRS for Music ensures songwriters and composers are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. 

For 110 years it has grown and protected the rights of the music creator community, paying out royalties with more accuracy, transparency and speed. In 2023, PRS for Music paid out £943.6m in royalties and collected a record £1.08 billion in revenues.

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