Clockwise from top left: Blasio Kavuma, Electra Perivolaris, Florence Maunders, Ben Lunn, Soosan Lolavar, Michael Betteridge, Amy Bryce, Philip Dutton

Introducing the 2023 RPS Composers

01 Sep 2022

We are pleased to announce the eight composers set to embark on the 2023 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, Manchester Camerata, Music in the Round, Presteigne Festival, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s Ensemble 10/10 and Wigmore Hall with whom we have previously collaborated, and newly ORA Singers and the Solem Quartet.

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 of their own. 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 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 2023 RPS Composers are:

Amy Bryce - writing for the Solem Quartet. Amy's compositions are defined by interactivity, social commentary, and playfulness. Amy describes their approach to music-making as 'inherently queer', and draws from a wide variety of sonic influences. Amy's manuscripts are often handwritten, semi-graphic, varying in shape, size, and interactive capabilities. Amy's pronouns are they/them.

Ben Lunn - writing for Music in the Round. Ben's love of music came from playing in brass bands. Raised in Sunderland and living in Glasgow, his work often focuses on matters of class and disability. Such issues also resonate through his advocacy, his programming of concerts solely comprising disabled composers, and hosting events discussing class politics and music.

Blasio Kavuma - writing for Manchester Camerata. Blasio has collaborated with artists from a range of genres, including jungle/EDM, gospel and jazz, as well as hip-hop dance, black theatre and animation. He aspires to keep working with musicians and artists from diverse mediums, whilst exploring how to unite Afro-diasporic and Western classical musical traditions.

Electra Perivolaris - writing for Presteigne Festival. Raised on the island of Arran, Electra's music focuses on the natural world as a fragile living organism, engaging with natural processes and how these can inspire new compositional processes. She has undertaken numerous educational and community projects, and is currently Ambassador for the BBC Young Composer programme.

Florence Maunders - writing for Wigmore Hall as the Rosie Johnson Wigmore Hall Learning Composer. Florence's composition is influenced by a variety of styles, including jazz, medieval music, EDM, and the music of the Middle East. She is interested in exploring and developing the ways in which acoustic instruments can recreate the timbres of electronic instruments, and is undertaking a PhD at Cardiff University.

Michael Betteridge - writing for Royal Liverpool Philharmonic's Ensemble 10/10. Michael's compositions span a variety of settings and influenced by the different contexts in which he works. Much of his output is vocal, often working collaboratively with communities to bring their ideas to life. In 2016, Michael formed The Sunday Boys, a nationally-acclaimed open access LGBTQ+ choir.

Philip Dutton - writing for ORA Singers. Philip aims to expresses his love of storytelling through music that is vivid and direct, drawing upon his British-Czech heritage and past experiences for inspiration. He is especially passionate about helping younger composers, particularly those from a working class background like him.

Soosan Lolavar - writing for Cheltenham Music Festival. Susan explores diaspora, hybridity and the boundaries between Iranian and western musical traditions in her work. She explores the dislocations that many people feel, and that she herself has felt as a British-Iranian woman. She describes her influences as 'very old or very new'.

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. Our 2023 cohort comprises exceptional talents who are disabled, ethnically diverse, working class, transgender, gay, and non-binary. Following Sound and Music’s example, this year we are pleased to disclose the diversity data where provided by our applicants for this programme, as follows:

21% of applicants identified as disabled.
26% of applicants identified as ethnically diverse (5% Black, 14% Asian, 8% any other ethnically diverse group).
27% of applicants identified as female, 6% identified as non-binary, trans or queer, 58% identified as male. 9% did not specify their gender.

Collectively, our work continues to seek and encourage more candidates particularly who identify as female, as well as non-binary, trans and queer to apply. Over 100 composers apply annually for this programme, so many of them deserving recognition and needing support. While we signpost further opportunities and provide individual feedback to all applicants, we are keen to devote more time to addressing with colleagues sector-wide what more we can we can collectively do for such talents.

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 Elgar Bursary Fund, Garrick Charitable Trust, PRS Foundation's The Open Fund, the Radcliffe Trust, the RVW Trust, the Susan Bradshaw Composers' Fund 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 are grateful this year to Dobrinka Tabakova, Emily Hall and Laurence Osborn for their time and care in this.

If you would like to consider supporting our work, please do consider joining as an RPS Member. Every subscription helps us to help musicians and composers at key stages in their careers, ensuring classical music continues to thrive for years to come. Find out more here.