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Development opportunity for Scotland-based composers

We are offering five composers the opportunity to develop works of around 5 minutes for trumpet and guitar working alongside Mark O'Keeffe (trumpet) and Sasha Savaloni (guitar) from Red Note Ensemble and Karen Power as composer mentor. 

The new works will be performed during soundfestival 2023.

This development opportunity for Scotland-based composers is part of the soundcreators programme, which focuses on nurturing creative talent.
soundcreators is funded by PRS for Music Foundation, Creative Scotland, Fenton Arts Trust, Hugh Fraser Foundation, William Syson Foundation and Aberdeen City Council.

This opportunity is organised in partnership with soundsound 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.


Draft schedule:

Session 1: Introduction to trumpet and guitar, Monday 10th July 
Where: Zoom
This first session will primarily be an introduction to writing for trumpet and guitar and will be led by both musicians and Karen Power.

Session 2: 11th and/or 14th August
Where: Zoom
1-to-1 mentoring sessions with Karen Power and/or musicians. The composers will submit short (approximately 30 second sketches) in advance.
Following this, the composers will work up full pieces for the third session.

Session 3: Saturday 9th September
Where: tbc (Central Belt)
The composers will work alongside two musicians to develop new works. It is expected that composers will bring work in progress with them. The session will last a whole day.
The composers will then have until mid-October to make any last adjustments.

Rehearsal: Sunday 8th October
Where: tbc (Central Belt)
Half-day rehearsal of finished pieces with the composers in attendance.

Performance: Thursday 26th October
Where: Aberdeen
A performance of the new works as part of the 2023 soundfestival. There will also be a rehearsal prior to the performance.



The five successful candidates will be talented 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 must 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: https://forms.gle/JfYDDwugMPJV6Kfs6
If further information is required, please contact Kadri Soerunurk on admin@sound-scotland.co.uk.

Deadline for applications: Friday 16th June 2023
We are offering a 2-day “grace period” until end of day on Monday 19th 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 30th 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 the composer mentor, a representative of sound and of Red Note.


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!


22 June, 2023 - 0:00 to 23:59


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