Applications open for new RPS Audience Fund

05 Sep 2019

We are now welcoming applications for a major new fund that aims to give classical music organisations the means to think afresh about ways to attract, engage and retain new audiences.

All of us working in classical music believe in its power to inspire and enrich people’s lives. While this is evident to those who cherish attending performances and listening to music at home, the challenge remains in sharing that conviction with others, encouraging the population at large to get involved and discover its rewards for themselves.

‘Audience Development’ is a familiar term to all arts organisations. Too easily, however, we can regard it as the responsibility of a sole figure in the marketing department, undertaking initiatives that may only have a modest effect with just a sliver of the overall marketing budget. Nonetheless, ensuring a future audience for our music is a shared responsibility for us all, on stage and behind the scenes.

The RPS Audience Fund aims to give classical music organisations the means to think afresh about ways to attract, engage and retain new audiences.

The fund is generously granted by the Rachel Baker Memorial Charity, with whom the Royal Philharmonic Society is pleased to be joining forces in its delivery. This is particularly fitting as the Philharmonic Society itself was – in essence – one of the first ever audience development initiatives in classical music. It was established in 1813 by a group of musicians who wanted to share their music with a wider public, seeking to rouse curiosity and patronage by presenting regular concerts, showcasing a wealth of exciting new repertoire, and drawing celebrated musicians like Mendelssohn and Wagner from the continent for the first time. Their endeavours not only developed an audience but established a culture that others were then to emulate, and that continues to this day.

What big ideas have you always dreamed of? With the new fund, we invite colleagues across the profession to contemplate bold new initiatives – in the spirit of our founders – that you believe could draw a new audience to classical music today.

What funds are offered?

The fund constitutes a total of £180,000. It is anticipated this will be divided the following ways:

  • Three grants of around £50,000 each to fund larger-scale projects
  • Two smaller grants of £15,000 to fund smaller-scale projects

In all cases, projects are expected to run for two to three years and each grant will be given in instalments according to the applicant’s timeline and budget.

Please note, this is a one-off funding opportunity, so do seize this moment to apply for it.

Who can apply?

Trustees of the Rachel Baker Memorial Charity specify that the fund is open to classical music ensembles (of any size from quartet to symphony orchestra) based in the UK, and UK venues where classical music is principally programmed. Such organisations can apply independently or as the lead party in a shared bid with other partners, but the fund is not open to applications submitted by individual performers, festivals, opera companies or record companies.

For more information about the RPS Audience Fund and how to apply, click the button below.


Sir Simon Rattle, principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic: RPS Gold Medal Awarded in 1999.


Queen Victoria attended a Philharmonic Society concert conducted by Mendelssohn in 1844.