Art Music Fund launches a fourth year of funding for composers

Wednesday, 05 Dec 2018

2018 Art Music Fund recipient Bree van Reyk (photo by Heidrun Lohr)

Funding brave new work that lives on: find out how

For the fourth consecutive year, Australian and New Zealand art music composers are encouraged to apply for a share in A$100,000 worth of funding to create new commissioned work thanks to the APRA AMCOS Art Music Fund.

The funding pool of A$100,000 is available for the creation of commissioned work that is innovative, displays professional compositional craft and represents a benchmark of excellence in its field. The intention is to support composers to create works with a long artistic life.

The previous 30 recipients have come from a range of art music backgrounds, from improvisational jazz to sound art to children's opera. The works have been performed and reached audiences in Australia, New Zealand and all around the world.

More info on guidelines, previous recipients, and further criteria here.\

Key dates:
Applications close: 20 February 2019, 5pm AEDT
Successful applicants notified: End of April 
Acquittal: Grants must be acquitted within five years

APPLY NOW

Before applying have a read of Cameron Lam's Insider Information on the Art Music Fund

Are you not *quite* sure if you’re ready to apply for a share in the A$100,000 fund? APRA AMCOS’s Art Music Specialist and administrator of the Art Music Fund, Cameron Lam, answers the common applicant questions and gives his tips on how it all works.  

What is the Art Music Fund? Why are you running it?

The Art Music Fund, now in its fourth year, is a commissioning grant drawing from A$100,000 to support Australian and New Zealand composers. The Fund supports our members to create new music that is supported by presenting partners and has a solid presentation plan in place.

We’re looking for works that will have multiple performance opportunities, so that you, the composer, can get as much out of the project as possible.

On a personal note, the Art Music Fund launched in 2016 and it has been my absolute pleasure to administer it from its inception. I believe in addition to providing important financial support to our composers in a time where funding sources are highly competed over, the fund also moves focus into long term planning in a genre that often only gets a premiere of a work before it is shelved.  

What styles/genre? Who can apply? What can I write?

A couple of housekeeping matters first, you MUST be a member of APRA AMCOS to apply (join here – it’s free!) Australian composers also need to be a financial member of the Australian Music Centre (you can do so here).

The Art Music Fund covers classical, Jazz and experimental electronics over a broad ranges of forms including:

  • Notated composition
  • Electroacoustic music
  • Improvised music, including innovative, original jazz
  • Sound art
  • Installation sound
  • Multimedia, web and film sound and music
  • Theatrical, operatic and choreographed music  

As our previous applicants have shown, our members have a broad and amazing practice we’d like to support. Examples range from Hindustani-Jazz fusion to sound art installations to children’s operas to major percussion works to string quartets.

How much can I get?

The Art Music Fund is not intended to fund an entire project. It is intended to cover the cost of commissioning the work, thus reducing the overall project cost and providing certainty to composers. You may apply for any amount of funding. However as a general rule, grants between A$10,000 and A$30,000 will be awarded, the total pool of funding available across all grants is A$100,000.

Can you tell me what is a reasonable commission fee?

Unsure of what a commission fee should be? I normally direct people to this amazing article written by Matthew Lorenzon and featured on the Music in Australia Knowledge database. 

In the first three years we have funded 27 diverse projects to value of $320,251.00. We’re also very excited that 48% of those recipients identify as women.

It had to be really thought through and couldn't be written and then put on a shelf, and there was a lot of things in play to ensure this was going to reach a wide audience and a wide cross-section of the community as possible. (Art Music Fund recipient Lisa Cheney)

What Do I Need to Apply?

There are a few things you’ll need for your Art Music Fund application:

A planWhat do you want to write? What are you going to do with it? How are you going to do that?

Presentation partnersWho have you built relationships with that will help you create and present your work? This could be performers, broadcasters, festival organisers, record labels, publishing companies, artistic directors of ensembles and venues.

Recordings of previous workWe want to hear what you’ve done and understand how you work. If you’ve organised performances and recordings before, tell us about it.

When do I need to submit by?
Applications close at 5pm AEDT (Sydney time for those around the country and abroad) on Wednesday the 20th of February 2019.

How do I find supporting partners?

Talk to people and build relationships, this grant is a great icebreaker for starting a conversation with people you’ve always wanted to work with. Viv Fantin gives some great advice in her Networking for Introverts article here.

Any other advice?

Firstly, check out this video by 2016 recipient Sandy Evans and  Also, read our Tips of the Trade: Grant Applications.

Read the excellent tips interview with 2017 recipient Lisa Cheney

It was really helpful to call Cam and talk about whether, firstly, if the project was relevant. And, also what it was in particular that the Art Music panel really wanted to see the money go to, and it became clear it was about creating work and not about staging work, and that making sure this work had a really well-thought out plan for the future and a long life plan. It had to be really thought through and couldn't be written and then put on a shelf, and there was a lot of things in play to ensure this was going to reach a wide audience and a wide cross-section of the community as possible. (Lisa Cheney)

As for my own advice:

Be brave. Make those phone calls you’re nervous about, ask the questions you need. Talk to the ensembles you love and people you admire, make plans and lock everything in – everyone’s been a young artist before too!

Start now. This is a big application. It requires lots of thought, planning and most importantly other people’s confirmations. Don’t leave this to the last minute.

Read the guidelines. Make sure you’re ticking all the boxes, print off a copy and write all over it - make sure you understand everything!

Secure other funding. As a commissioning grant, the Art Music Fund only covers the costs associated with composing the work. Ensure the other costs in your plan are covered by other grants or funding sources.

Maximise your return. The crux of the Art Music Fund is getting as much as you can out of creating a new musical work. Are you recording your piece? What more can you do with that recording? Who else could play this work?

Proof your work. Make sure you haven’t missed sections. Spell check and get someone else to read it. Are your dates correct? Does your budget add up?

Email me. Confused about something? Shoot me a line at clam@apra.com.au / general queries to: 1800 642 634. That’s what I’m here for and we like to hear from applicants through the process.


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