LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme: Applications now open

Are you a composer? Would you like to rise to the challenge of writing for a world-class symphony orchestra? This opportunity may be for you…

The London Symphony Orchestra is delighted to announce that applications for the 2020/21 LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme are now open. Find out more about the scheme and how to apply below.


About the scheme

Each year the Panufnik Composers Scheme offers six emerging composers the opportunity to write for a world-class symphony orchestra. Devised by the Orchestra in association with Lady Panufnik, in memory of her late husband, the composer Sir Andrzej Panufnik, and generously supported by Lady Hamlyn and The Helen Hamlyn Trust, the programme has now supported 87 composers since its launch in 2005.

Guided by renowned composers Colin Matthews and Christian Mason, with additional tailored support, the scheme enables composers to experiment with orchestral writing skills through developing a three-minute composition over twelve months. Collaborative relationships are developed with LSO players and the resulting compositions are performed and discussed by the LSO and its Principal Guest Conductor, François-Xavier Roth, in a public workshop rehearsal at the culmination of the scheme.

Two of each year’s composer cohort are commissioned to write an additional 5- or 10-minute piece, to be played by the LSO on the Barbican mainstage in the following season. Additional commissions from LSO Discovery are sometimes offered for other programme strands such as the Community Choir.

The scheme begins with a two-day induction called 'Reality Days' on Sunday 16 and Monday 17 February 2020 at LSO St Luke’s. Attendance is essential for selected composers, so please keep these dates free until hearing the results of your application.

Each composer receives a bursary of £1,000, and travel costs are available to those living outside London.

What we're looking for

We are recruiting six composers from a wide range of musical approaches and backgrounds, and are looking for:

  • individual compositional voices with a high level of skill in writing notated work in contemporary classical or any other musical genre
  • composers with the potential to write a 3-minute full orchestral work for the public workshop
  • applicants who have not previously had a work performed in a concert by a professional orchestra

Am I eligible?

The scheme welcomes applications from composers with a diverse range of musical approaches and backgrounds who are interested in writing for full symphony orchestra, but have never had a work performed in concert by a professional orchestra before.

We are particularly interested in applications from composers from historically under-represented groups such as BAME (black, Asian or minority ethnic) composers, women composers, disabled composers and composers from non-classical musical backgrounds who would like to learn to write for a classical symphony orchestra.

In addition, applicants must:

  • be over 18
  • have the right to reside in the UK, and be based in the UK for the duration of the scheme (ending March 2021)
  • not be on another LSO composer scheme and have sufficient time to dedicate to the opportunity
  • never have had a work performed in concert by a professional symphony orchestra (previous experience working with instrumental ensembles is beneficial, but not essential)

How to apply

For full details, please read the application guidelines. To apply, you will need to submit an online application form plus the following by 4pm GMT on Monday 6 January 2020.

1. A CV
2. Two contrasting scores (ideally including one for larger ensemble)
3. Links to stream online audio of the two works (if available)
4. Answers to two questions, found in the information pack

We also ask that you will fill in our online Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form. This is not used in the selection process and is kept in an anonymous format for monitoring purposes only.

Applications are now open.


 The LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme is generously supported by Lady Hamlyn and The Helen Hamlyn Trust.

Helen Hamlyn Trust 50