Performance Opportunities

If you are looking for performance opportunities and support at the start of your professional career, you will find lots of useful information in this section.

Support for musicians at the start of their professional careers


Career Development Bursaries (Help Musicians UK)
Help Musicians UK has set up a scheme to fund exceptional career development opportunities for instrumentalists, singers, conductors, composers, songwriters, and small groups, aged between 21 and 30. Grants range from £500 to £2,000 and are intended for exceptional artists who can demonstrate that they are already making an impact on their field and have the potential to build a sustainable professional career. Full information about the scheme, including the online application form and guidelines, can be found on the website.

Fenton Arts Trust Grants
One of the trust's objectives is to provide grants that will support or reward work or performance by individuals early in their careers. The Fenton Arts Trust Grants are available to support individual works, activities, performances, or prizes in the fields of drama, painting, sculpture, ballet, music, and poetry. An application may come from a group, company or institution, or from an individual as long as the application does not involve support of academic study.

Hattori Foundation
The aim of the Foundation in the field of music is to encourage and assist exceptionally talented young instrumental soloists or chamber ensembles who are British Nationals or resident in the UK and whose talent and achievements give promise of an international career.

Schemes for musicians at the start of their professional careers

Genesis Sixteen
Do you have a passion for choral singing? Are you aged 18 to 23? Would you like to make a career in ensemble singing? Genesis Sixteen is The Sixteen's fully-funded choral training programme which aims to nurture the next generation of talented young voices and specifically to bridge the gap from student to professional practitioner. During the course of a year, a series of intensive weekend and week-long courses for singers will be led by key artists from The Sixteen, including founder and conductor Harry Christophers. Participants in the programme will receive a bursary for UK travel, accommodation, and board costs while participating on the scheme's four courses, around the UK.

The Merry Opera Company
Merry Opera aims to widen the audience for opera and at the same time provide a training ground for up-and-coming professionals of any age and nationality.

Monteverdi Apprentice Scheme
The Monteverdi Apprenticeship Scheme was set up in 2007 to address the problems faced by young singers attempting to embark on a professional career. The aim of the programme is to give the most promising young musicians on the verge of entering the profession, direct experience of the musical tradition of the Monteverdi ensembles and the working practices of Sir John Eliot Gardiner during a year-long apprenticeship scheme. It offers the participants a unique experience of music making at a world-class level within a high-powered and multi-national group of colleagues, making them exceptionally well-equipped to perform and teach at the highest level and to take up international professional careers.

Orpheus Foundation
The Orpheus Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation working to provide professional opportunities for some of the finest young musicians in London. By enabling young artists to showcase their achievements in a central London concert platform and by providing a mechanism for intercollegiate collaboration while working in their orchestra, the Orpheus Sinfonia, they deliver a broad range of opportunities to soloists, conductors, ensembles, and orchestral players to further their professional development. Audition details for the Orpheus Sinfonia, orchestra of the Orpheus Foundation, are available on the website.

Park Lane Group (PLG)
The Park Lane Group provides a platform for outstanding young musicians and performances of special interest. PLG performances help to establish the careers of generations of vastly talented young artists. Many of the PLG's carefully selected performers are among the famous names on the international concert and opera circuit. More hold principal chairs in many leading orchestras and ensembles in the UK and on the Continent. The PLG's annual Spring auditions are in the Southbank Centre's Purcell Room. The PLG concert series are presented in the Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall, and other prestigious venues, plus sets of events across the UK. Programming often includes works by living and young composers.

Live Music Now! (LMN)
A charitable scheme that promotes concerts in community venues and aims to assist young professional musicians at the outset of their careers by providing paid performance opportunities and training and professional development in the field of music outreach.

Foyle Future Firsts
The London Philharmonic Orchestra's Foyle Future Firsts annual apprenticeship programme helps to bridge the transition period between college and the professional platform. The scheme has a small bursary attached to it, which does not equate to employment by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE)
The Ann and Peter Law OAE Experience for young players
The aim of the Ann and Peter Law OAE Experience for young players is to give exceptionally gifted young period instrument players the opportunity to participate in OAE concert projects as well as receiving ongoing mentoring from OAE musicians. The year-long scheme is aimed at students in the final stages of study, bridging the gap between music college and a professional career.

Southbank Sinfonia
Southbank Sinfonia provides an intensive and wide-ranging nine month programme of performance and professional development for talented graduates embarking on an orchestral career. Every player is awarded a bursary to help towards the cost of living in London, which players supplement with income from their own performing and teaching activities.

Young Classical Artists Trust (known as YCAT) 
YCAT provides a unique stepping stone for exceptional young artists who have the potential for international performing careers. Outstanding young classical soloists and chamber ensembles are nurtured and promoted for a minimum of three years, after which YCAT aims to introduce the artists to suitable commercial management to further develop and maintain their international profile. Auditions take place once a year, in three stages. The auditions are open to all instruments, but the categories vary each year.

European Union Youth Orchestra
Musicians must be aged between 14 and 24 inclusive at the time of applying and must hold passports from one of the 27 European Union member countries. 

Making Music Award for Young Concert Artists
Making Music supports the best young musicians by providing them with vital concert and recital experience across the UK through their Awards for Young Concert Artists scheme. The award provides up-and-coming classical musicians with performing opportunities with Making Music's 3,000 member groups.

Performing in community and health settings

Live Music Now! (LMN)
A charitable scheme that promotes concerts in community venues and aims to assist young professional musicians at the outset of their careers by providing paid performance opportunities and training and professional development in the field of music outreach.

Music in Hospitals  
Music in Hospitals organises concerts for audiences of all ages in hospitals, hospices, day care centres, special needs schools, and nursing and residential homes. Musicians engaged by Music in Hospitals are carefully chosen by audition.

Finding performance venues

British & International Music Yearbook
Lists concert venues including Churches and other venues in London that host recitals
Available to students and graduates of Trinity Laban in the reference section of the Jerwood Library

Auditions and performance vacancies and opportunities

Musical Chairs
Advertisements for classical music performance employment opportunities throughout the world
A portal for job vacancies in the cultural sector and the world's largest job board for orchestra musicians

Jobs in German orchestras

Rhinegold Online Jobs
Various jobs in music including some performance opportunities

The Association of British Choral Directors (abcd)
For musical director/choir director vacancies

The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) 
For director of music/organist vacancies

British Choirs on the Net
For choral vacancies & associated opportunities

Church Times 
For organist and choral positions

For choral music vacancies (conductor / musical director / accompanist vacancies)

The Opera Stage
Opera audition and singers jobs information from around the UK and Europe
Offers a student subscription rate, as well as free 30-day trial membership 

Promoting yourself as a performer

Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)
Listing in the ISM Register of Performers and Composers is free to those with full membership of the ISM.

Opera Talent
Opera Talent provides exposure for talented opera singers at the beginning of their careers by publishing photos, biographies, and recording samples. They also have details of auditions (see 'events' section). 

Finding performance opportunities

Music Clubs

Music clubs and societies include singers and instrumentalists in their annual programme of recitals. These societies and clubs are generally members of Making Music, and details can be found on their website. Look for a music club (select 'promoter/festival').

The British & International Music Yearbook (available in the Jerwood Library) also lists clubs and societies and gives details about the concerts they promote.

Resources for performers

Opera and Music Theatre Forum  
The representative body for opera and music theatre in the UK; a directory of members is available on the website                    

Opera Stuff 
Includes links to opera companies worldwide

Sound and Music
For performers looking for contemporary repertoire

Musicians' Diary Services

Freelance orchestral and session musicians may chose to sign up with a diary service to help manage their future engagements and commitments and to negotiate contracts. A diary service will maintain and update a musician's work diary, so that if an offer of work comes through, the diary service team can immediately accept it (or not) on the musician's behalf. Most diary services also offer career advice and assist with the creation of musicians' CVs.

Musician's Answering Service (MAS) 
Students and recent graduates are eligible for a discount

Students and recent graduates are eligible for a discount

Music Agencies

Please note that a listing in this section does not constitute a recommendation

Best One Entertainment Agency 
Entertainment Agency based in the North West supplying live music to the whole of the UK. It offers specialised advice to acts/musicians looking to start a band or group ready for promotion to new clients and can help with demo music and video recording, song list repertoire ideas, biographies and photos. 
If you are a musician available for hire and want to be listed in a musician search, you can list yourself in the UK entertainment directory. Visitors to the site include event organisers, agencies, private clients, wedding planners, musicians, and corporate event planners.

Prima Artists 
Prima Artists books entertainment for the corporate market, private functions, and weddings. The Cruise Entertainment Division books headline artists to major cruise lines.

For the corporate and event side of the business:
Prima Artists are always interested in strong function bands of all line-ups, jazz ensembles, classical ensembles, harpists, and pianists/piano vocalists. It is rare to have an enquiry for a single musician. They would require publicity shots, demo CDs and, more so these days, some kind of video material and set lists.

For the cruise lines:
Prima Artists book solo musicians as headline cabaret performers who would be required to perform two 45 minute shows on the main stage with the house band. They have success with solo violinists, multi-instrumentalists and duos such as flute and oboe. This kind of performance requires a strong personality as, in addition to the music side of things, the 'chat' in between pieces is just as important. The contracts vary from one week to about one month. The agency also books musicians to Holland America Line. These contracts are longer, usually about 4 to 6 months. The quartets play 5 x 45 minute sets daily therefore needing a vast repertoire. Cocktail pianists are also required and are usually on similar contract terms as the quartet.  

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