What is Composer Academy?

  • Composer Academy forms part of Cheltenham Festivals Spotlight Talent Development Programme.
  • Spotlight aims to support artists at all stages of their careers to take the next step.
  • Composer Academy specifically supports early-career composers (aged 18+ years) who are looking to gain professional advice and mentoring to further their career.
  • The programme is stimulating, wide-ranging and has proved highly influential in its first seven years.
  • During the programme, the six participants have their compositions work-shopped, performed and recorded; attend a range of premiere performances at the Cheltenham Music Festival, and have access to industry professionals in a series of panel talks that discuss craft and contemporary aesthetics along with career development.
Arthur Keegan-Boyle, Composer Academy Alumni & Future Blend Project Winner 2017 

Arthur Keegan-Boyle, Composer Academy Alumni & Future Blend Project Winner 2017 

"The immersive nature of Composer Academy was fantastic – working and socialising with such good musicians and composers over the course of the week was, aside from being great fun, fabulously developmental to my practice. The extra sessions (alongside the core activity of composition workshops) were an unexpected bonus too."

Sarah Rimkus, Composer Academy Alumni & 2018 Music Festival Commission

Sarah Rimkus, Composer Academy Alumni & 2018 Music Festival Commission


"The Cheltenham Music Festival Composer Academy allowed me to work more closely with expert instrumentalists than I ever have had the opportunity before. It was an excellent learning and professional development experience."

How much will it cost?

The programme is heavily subsidised by generous funders which means course fees are kept low.

In 2023 the course will cost £90 per person. This includes coaching, talks, concert tickets and lunch each day. 

Single room bed and breakfast accommodation is available and paid for separately by participants. Costs will be confirmed with participants, and are expected to be around £40 per night.   

A limited number of bursaries are available for participants on a low income or feel they genuinely cannot participate in the course for financial reasons.   

Applicants not selected as full Academy participants will may be invited to attend as one of a limited number of observer composers. The observer rate is £50 per person (plus accommodation).  

How do I apply?

Applications are now closed

We aim to contact all applicants by the end of March.  

Participants will be chosen by a selection panel. When making the selection, the panel will be looking at: the quality of music submission and the strength of the overall application. The panel will also consider: access to previous development opportunities, and the overall diversity and representation of the final selection.  

Composer Academy applications are now closed

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