RPS Elgar Bursary

The Elgar Bursary supports the work of mature composers by funding the creation of a new work.

About the Fund

The Elgar Bursary was set up by the surviving members of Sir Edward Elgar’s family using the royalties of Anthony Payne’s elaboration of Elgar’s sketches for the unfinished Third Symphony. Elgar enjoyed a long and fruitful association with the Royal Philharmonic Society, which now administers the bursary. The Elgar Bursary provides financial support to a composer over the age of 29 to allow for the creation of a new work which may push back musical boundaries, but not at the expense of accessibility.


The Bursary will be awarded biennially, or when sufficient funds are available, to a composer over the age of 29 resident in Britain.


The Bursary is not open to application. The choice of recipient rests with the Elgar Bursary Committee.

Anthony Payne comments:

“Life as a composer can be a particularly bumpy ride. At the start of the journey, there are a number of awards and bursaries available which help smooth the way for talented younger composers. However, to a large degree, older composers are left to navigate their own way: a process which I know from experience can be particularly tough, and not always conducive to the creative process. The Elgar Bursary has, therefore, been instituted specifically to offer much needed additional support to mature composers and assist the continuing development of their work.”

The Elgar Bursary is part of the RPS New Music Programme. We are extremely grateful to the trusts, corporate sponsors and individual donors who support the programme. Click here to find out more.

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In October 1970, Lutoslawski's Cello Concerto received its world premiere, having been commissioned by the RPS. The soloist was Rostropovich, who received our highest honour, the Gold Medal, the same year.