Emerging Professional Artist programmes

The National Youth Choir exists to provide exciting and inclusive creative opportunities for all young people. 

As part of this remit, our Emerging Professional Artists programme, supports young singers, composers and conductors as they emerge into the professional world. It aims to address inequalities in the music industry by creating professional development pathways for those who are under-represented in choral music. Participants in our Emerging Professional Artists programmes work closely with the National Youth Choir (18-25 years) and our other choirs.

The National Youth Choir offers three exciting and innovative development schemes for Emerging Professional Artists each year:

  • The FELLOWS programme offers professional training for young choral performers, educators and leaders.
  • The YOUNG CONDUCTORS programme creates opportunities for young music leaders to get professional training and hands-on conducting experience.
  • The YOUNG COMPOSERS programme supports young people who are committed to developing as professional composers, and who have a passion for creating high-quality, imaginative new music for vocal ensembles.

What can I expect?

  • A one-year bespoke training programme, built around you.
  • An opportunity to learn and develop your work with top professionals and educators in your field, and to get hands-on experience working with the National Youth Choirs and programmes.
  • Support in building a career as a choral specialist, developing your networks and your knowledge of the industry.
  • Opportunities to take part in activity across all three programmes and to learn and work with your fellow Emerging Professional Artists, giving you broad and in-depth experience of choral education, performance and creation.
  • Education and support from our incredible range of industry partners, including Dorico, Stainer & Bell, Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Association of Teachers of Singing, Association of British Choral Directors and NMC Recordings.

Fellowship programme
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  • We are looking for four young people who are passionate about choral music, including those who wish to develop their skills as singers, educators, leaders - or all three.
  • Fellow will receive a breadth of top-level training and have opportunities to work with National Youth Choir teams on courses, education projects, recordings, ensemble work and more.  
  • The Fellowship programme is designed to support young musicians from a broad range of backgrounds. You do not need a formal or classical training, but do need a passion for singing and working in a choral setting.  
  • Candidates should be aged aged 20+ on 1st September 2024 and under 28 on 31st August 2025.

Young Conductor programme
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  • We are looking for two young musicians, from backgrounds that are under-represented in choral music, who are passionate about singing and interested in pursuing a career in musical leadership.
  • Our Young Conductors will work with professional conductor-mentors, spend time conducting the National Youth Choirs, and gain invaluable experience working with young singers.
  • You may or may not have conducting or leadership experience; we will build the programme uniquely around you and your experience, interests and aspirations.
  • You do not need to have a background in choral music, but interest in working with vocal groups is essential. We would particularly like to hear from anyone who has lived experience of barriers to choral music, and in 2025 we are particularly looking to work with Disabled musicians, and young musicians from Black, Asian and other global majority backgrounds.
  • Candidates should be aged 20 to 29

Young Composers programme
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  • We are looking for four young composers in the early stages of their career who are passionate about writing for vocal ensembles, and are excited about working with young voices.  
  • Our Young Composers will work with professional composer-mentors, alongside our partners at Dorico, Stainer & Bell, ABRSM, NMC Recordings and Britten Pears Arts, and write new works for the National Youth Choirs.  
  • The scheme is designed to support emerging composers from a broad range of musical backgrounds and genres, and we actively encourage applications from those working in ways which are not ‘traditionally choral’ or acoustic. 
  • Applicants do not have to have undertaken formal education or training, be a published composer, or have formal music qualifications.
  • Candidates should be aspiring young composers aged 18+ on 1 September 2024 and under 30 on 31st August 2025

What's the time commitment?

  • Each programme will run from February 2025 to February 2026.
  • There will be regular in person and online sessions, which you should be able to fit around other commitments. 
  • You will take part in residential activities with our choirs during the spring and summer holidays

Will it cost me anything?

  • No! This is a fully funded programme, so it won't cost you a penny to take part.
  • We will cover travel expenses for all in person activities, and overnight accommodation where necessary.
  • There may also be opportunities to engage in paid work through the programme. 

Notes for all candidates

  • The National Youth Choir is committed to building an inclusive community. We are particularly keen to encourage young people from backgrounds currently underrepresented in choral music to apply. This includes, but is not limited to, musicians from Black, Asian and other global majority backgrounds, and Disabled musicians.  
  • You do not need to have any previous affiliation with National Youth Choir.
  • All Emerging Professional Artists must be based in the UK. 
  • Candidates should not be in full-time formal education during the programme. This includes full-time undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. We recognise that some education e.g. research-based study may be more flexible, and candidates on such programmes are eligible to apply.
  • When shortlisting, we will prioritise candidates who we think are at the right point in their development for the scheme to provide most benefit.  
  • Our aspiration is that Emerging Professional Artists can be engaged professionally with National Youth Choir, following successful completion of the schemes.  

How do I apply?

  • When applications open, we will ask that you complete an online application form an submit any supporting materials by the end of August 2024. For some programmes, we request you submit video(s) so we can get a better idea of you as a musician, but we do not expect the videos to be professionally made:
    • Fellows will be asked to submit video footage of them singing (solo, unaccompanied or accompanied). They will also be encouraged to submit a video of them leading a music session, rehearsal or concert.
    • Young Conductors will be asked to submit a video of them leading a music session, rehearsal, workshop, concert, gig or similar to explore their conducting and facilitating experience. 
    • Young Composers will be asked to submit a portfolio of 2-4 compositional works to include notated or otherwise visualised scores, audio or video recordings, music for vocal ensemble or voice/voices.
  • Application information can be submitted in either written or video format.
  • If you have any access needs we are happy to accommodate these. Please contact us to discuss your specific requirements.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend an in-person workshop and/or interview:
    • Fellows & Young Conductors will be invited to attend an in-person workshop and interview in early autumn 2024.
    • Young Composers will be invited to attend an online interview in September 2024.

Got questions?

If you have questions about elegibility for the programmes, access needs or anything else, please get in touch with Rebecca Anderson by emailing [email protected] or calling 0191 820 0276