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We answer your Art Music Fund FAQs

Tip Published Friday 12 January 2024
Alexandra Spence, 2021 Art Music Fund recipient

The Art Music Fund is open now for applications!
Are you an art music composer looking to have your work performed? Why not apply? Here we answer your top FAQs.

1. What is the Art Music Fund?

The Art Music Fund is an annual $7,500 AUD grant for Australian and New Zealand art music composers. The fund supports innovative new works and was created in recognition of the limited opportunities for art music composers to have new works performed. In 2024 there are 11 grants available – 9 for Australian composers and 2 for composers from New Zealand. The Art Music Fund is a joint initiative of APRA AMCOS, the Australian Music Centre and SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music.

2. Who should apply?

Australian and New Zealand art music composers at any stage of their career are welcome to apply. You must be a member of APRA AMCOS to apply. If you’re not already, sign up! It’s free.

"I am particularly grateful for the Art Music Fund for its history and mission to support more experimental art music works, thus giving an opportunity to such a vibrantly diverse collection of works to breath into music, and making a financial investment for emerging and early-career composers such as myself." - Victoria Pham, 2023 Art Music Fund recipient.

“Support from the Art Music Fund came just at the right moment, helping me to find my feet as I transitioned out of my studies into full-time work as a composer.” – Connor D’Netto, 2023 Art Music Fund recipient
Photo: Ray Roberts

3. What kind of music is eligible?

A broad range of music compositions have been funded in the past. This includes solo works, chamber music, large-scale ensembles and orchestral works, theatrical and operatic works. Choreographed works, improvised music and sound art are also eligible.

The Art Music Fund is not intended to support popular contemporary music, nor folk music.

4. What does the application process involve?

The Art Music Fund is a big application for a big project, so it’s best to get started as early as possible.

Applications are assessed by:

  • Innovation (How the work develops the applicant’s practice)
  • Excellence & Compositional Craft (The quality of the work)
  • Viability (The viability of the proposed project)
  • Reach & Impact (The quality of the presentation and exposure plan)

Enhancing the lifespan and longevity of your work is a core part of this fund. Therefore, applicants will be expected to demonstrate partnerships between the composer and ensembles, performers, presenters, producers, recording companies and so on.

"The pool of commissioning money in Australia isn't very big, so every bit helps. The Art Music Fund is particularly important because it brings in performing and funding partners - especially international partners." - Andrew Ford, 2023 Art Music Fund recipient.

“The APRA Art Music Fund grant offered me both important assistance and space to create my new work, as well as providing a framework to cement my relationship with the ensemble I wrote for.
In retrospect, this particular time formed the foundations of an ongoing, and thriving relationship with those musicians, which the APRA award enabled.” – Dylan Lardelli, 2017 NZ Art Music Fund recipient

As an applicant, you will also be asked to explain how your arts practice aligns with the qualities identified in the Art Music Fund (innovation, compositional craft, and excellence), regardless of style. Read the full requirements thoroughly, and give yourself plenty of time to gather support material. The guidelines for applying are here for Australia and here for NZ. Once you’re ready, click the buttons at the bottom of this page which will take you to the SmartyGrants application link.

“Applying for the Art Music Fund allowed me to plan my project and the release to achieve longevity and sustainability. Receiving the funding helped me create and plan for the future during the financial hardship of the lockdown in 2020.” – Maria Moles, 2020 Art Music Fund recipient
Photo: Nick McKinlay

5. How long does the application take?

Applications close on 13 February, so time is of the essence! Lining up letters of support for the project’s partners can take some time, so plan accordingly. It’s a great idea to get started ASAP to give yourself the best chance of success.

"Often less is more - be succinct, clear about what your objectives, output and outcomes are, and put your best foot forward." - Connor D'Netto, 2023 Art Music Fund recipient.

"I put a lot of thought into [the application]; I did extensive historical research, I planned a possible structure and developed some initial ideas, contacted several performers to discuss possibilities for them to perform and record this work, and spent many hours editing the application." - Brooke Green, 2023 Art Music Fund recipient.

6. What is the money intended for?

These grants are intended as a contribution towards the commissioned fee of the proposed work, with the plan for multiple performances with presentation partners. The money funds your composing time.

"There are also very few grants that support artists in making new work. Often the grants are focused on the expenses associated with delivering a product like hiring a film crew, or recording costs. There a very few ways for musicians to have income for the time they invest in creating." - Nadia Freeman, 2023 Art Music Fund recipient

7. Who are the judges?

The Art Music Fund is assessed by an external panel of musicians. With an aim to represent a complete view of the industry, we are particularly aware of ensuring the panel of experts includes diverse voices across culture, gender, geography, generation, and genre.

8. Who are the previous winners?

You'll find a full list of previous Art Music Fund winners HERE.