The 2024 RPS Composers (clockwise, from top left): James Albany Hoyle, Anjelica Cleaver, Fergus Hall, Sarah Frances Jenkins, Jasper Dommett, Sun Keting, and Aileen Sweeney.

Introducing the 2024 RPS Composers

31 Oct 2023

We are pleased to announce the seven composers set to embark on the 2024 RPS Composers programme, representing some of the brightest, most exciting voices in the UK.

In the year ahead, each will receive a commission and premiere with a valued partner organisation: Cheltenham Music Festival, Music in the Round, Presteigne Festival and Wigmore Hall with whom we have previously collaborated, and newly Hebrides Ensemble, The Hermes Experiment and The Marian Consort.

Alongside this, we will support the composers with a programme of sessions and activities to develop the skills, confidence and contacts they need to establish further commissions and premieres. In this, we are hugely grateful to Schott Music and a range of professional composers and industry experts who will be sharing their expertise.

Click on each composer’s name to visit their page on our website where you can read more about them and listen to some of their music. We particularly invite programmers and commissioners to take a closer look at their work and please be in touch with us if you would like to connect with them. Our 2024 Composers are:

Aileen Sweeney – writing for Music in the Round. Aileen is a composer whose music is rooted in the traditional Scottish folk music she grew up with learning the accordion. Her music is often influenced by her interests in fields such as cosmology, nature, folk music and folklore.

Anjelica Cleaver – writing for Wigmore Hall Learning. Anjelica uses music to create community and change. She aspires to the ideal of the artist as activist. Her work is often a meditation on the philosophical, the spiritual and the political, and on stage she encourages the audience to dream of new worlds free from oppression. As a Resident Artist at St George’s hospital in Tooting, she has used music and composing to help bring joy and relief to patients and staff.

Fergus Hall – writing for The Hermes Experiment. His creative practice is concerned with how a musician can act as a creative facilitator, constructing frameworks within which musical interactions can take place. Fergus is also active as a music educator, both teaching piano and as a conductor with the Inverclyde Music Service.

James Albany Hoyle – writing for Presteigne Festival. James has recently completed his doctoral research at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, investigating time and temporality through music composition. He is committed to supporting the next generations of young composers, teaching composition at the Royal College of Music Junior Department and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Jasper Dommett – writing for Hebrides Ensemble. Embracing a sense of uniqueness has, over many years, become a source of pride for Jasper. Lately, they have been exploring these feelings in their music, finding poetic connections and using them to create emotionally charged works. Their journey has been all about experimenting, innovating, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

Sun Keting – writing for Cheltenham Music Festival. Keting’s artistic vision is deeply rooted in her passion for merging diverse musical styles and traditions, resulting in truly distinctive and captivating experiences for audiences. Her compositions predominantly focus on the performing arts and instrumental sound exploration, drawing inspiration from Eastern cultural, spiritual, and philosophical elements.

Sarah Frances Jenkins – writing for The Marian Consort. Sarah strives to use the different facets of her musical identity to nurture meaningful connections and collaborations and to communicate with as wide a range of people as possible. Heavily influenced by the natural world, she is driven to create striking, atmospheric and immersive sound worlds that ebb, flow and mutate.

With these seven composers, the RPS continues to commission and support composers and bring enlivening new music to the stage. This commitment is part of a tradition that dates back to Mendelssohn, whose well-loved ‘Italian’ Symphony was commissioned by the RPS when Mendelssohn was in his early twenties. Since 2000, the RPS has supported over 100 composers in their early careers.

If you’re inspired by this legacy, please consider supporting our work by becoming an RPS Member. Every subscription helps us to help performers and composers at key stages in their careers, ensuring classical music continues to thrive for years to come. Find out more here.

We care that opportunities like this are open and attainable to composers from all backgrounds. We are proud to adhere to Sound and Music's Fair Access Principles and to PRS Foundation’s KeyChange initiative to achieve 50:50 gender parity in the composers we support. Following Sound and Music’s example, we are pleased to disclose the diversity data where provided by our applicants for this programme, as follows:

21% of applicants identified as ethnically diverse (3% Black, 11% Asian, 9% any other ethnically diverse group).

9% of applicants identified as disabled.

27% of applicants identified as female, 9% identified as non-binary, trans or genderfluid, 54% identified as male. 10% did not specify their gender.

Collectively, we continue to seek and encourage more candidates from diverse backgrounds to apply to our programmes. Over 100 composers apply annually for this programme, so many of them deserving recognition and needing support. We signpost further opportunities and provide individual feedback to all applicants, and we continue to devote time to address what we can do to support such talents with colleagues sector-wide.

You can read more about the RPS Composers programme here.

We are dearly grateful to a range of donors for supporting the RPS Composers programme, including RPS Members, Delius Trust, The Fidelio Charitable Trust, Presteigne Festival, PRS Foundation's The Open Fund, the Radcliffe Trust, the Susan Bradshaw Composers' Fund, the Vaughan Williams Foundation, and several anonymous donors. Every year the RPS invites professional composers, alongside representatives from some of our partner organisations, to play a valued part in reviewing applications for the programme, and we are grateful this year to Deborah Pritchard, Tom Coult and Raymond Yiu for their time and care in this.