The Richard Carne Junior Fellowship for String Quartet



This fellowship offers an intensive year-long development opportunity for an established string quartet with an emerging professional profile in its transition from conservatoire-based training to the music profession. As the needs of the individual string quartet differ, the final programme will be decided through consultation with the Head of the String Department, the String Chamber Music Coordinator and the Head of Postgraduate Programmes.

This award is designed to enable an aspiring young string quartet to bridge the gap between full-time conservatoire-based study and the music profession by providing them with the means and time to develop their professional skills and contacts whilst continuing their development with the support of a Trinity Laban mentor. In light of Trinity Laban’s mission to train aspiring musicians for portfolio-based careers, the Richard Carne Junior Fellows are likely to have a broad range of musical interests (such as outreach education activities, or period instrument performing practice), in addition to a good knowledge of the string quartet repertoire. Applicants should expect to contribute to the Conservatoire community in addition to taking advantage of all career-enhancing opportunities afforded by this fellowship.

Please also note that Junior Fellowship schemes are not eligible for Tier 4 student visas. All applicants need to have valid work permits/visas for the United Kingdom covering the full period of the fellowship prior to applying.

The Richard Carne Trust was set up in 2006 to assist talented young people in the performing arts.  The Trust also supports the Richard Carne Quartets in Residence at Trinity Laban.


The Richard Carne Junior Fellows will be awarded a tax-free bursary of £10,000 - as a quartet - to cover group expenses and help defray the cost of any tuition undertaken during the academic year of their tenure. Normally awarded for one academic year, but with an option for renewal for one further academic year, the Junior Fellowship must be taken up in the year for which it is awarded.

Available to external applicants as well as current Trinity Laban students and alumni, there is no upper age limit, though candidates will normally be aged 30 or under. Normally candidates will already have successfully completed formal studies at a level at least equivalent to a postgraduate diploma or degree, or be completing these studies in the academic year in which the application is made. The award is open to string quartets who have an emerging professional profile, are able to demonstrate substantial, successful and relevant experience as an ensemble, have the motivation and determination to continue intensive study, and the desire to develop their skills by working regularly with other musicians both within and outside the Conservatoire.

Conditions of Fellowship

Junior Fellows are responsible for making their own arrangements for lessons and other tuition inside and/or outside the Conservatoire, and for planning their own work routines and monitoring their effectiveness. Tuition may be either with Conservatoire staff or those not directly associated with Trinity Laban. Candidates should note that it is a condition of the scheme that at least half the value of the bursary should be used to fund further study. In all cases, submitted budgets should show how the candidates expect to contribute personally to their costs for the year.

Bursaries are intended to supplement, not to replace, contributions from applicants’ own resources and The Richard Carne Junior Fellows will be required to use their fellowship money exclusively for legitimate, approved expenses. Reasonable expenses may include: coaching to assist in the preparation of a range of concert programmes; music purchases; venue hire; keyboard hire/tuning costs for performances; competition entry/travel expenses; marketing/publicity costs; and so on. The Junior Fellows should also expect to fulfil such other duties as negotiated and agreed with Trinity Laban, including (though not exclusive to) the following examples:

  • organise, lead, coach, direct, inform and/or participate alongside Trinity Laban performers and composers in a range of projects and/or other activities as appropriate. (N.B. these arrangements will be agreed in advance for the period September-January and again for February-June. Participation in at least one activity within each six-month period is mandatory.)
  • attend/participate in selected fundraising events/concerts as a Trinity Laban representative, contributing to these as requested;
  • compile a portfolio of work undertaken during the year containing programmes, reviews, and other details of their activities as Trinity Laban Junior Fellows (N.B. portfolios are not returned, so personal copies should be retained);
  • produce a short written report on activities undertaken to date by the end of the first semester, and a further full written report (to accompany the portfolio of work) by the conclusion of the second semester;
  • keep the Conservatoire and any relevant trustees/sponsors informed on a regular basis of opportunities to attend performances or events in which they are involved;
  • fulfil any other duties as negotiated and agreed with Trinity Laban;
  • adhere to all other relevant Trinity Laban policies and procedures found in the Trinity Laban Regulations Handbook.

In addition, Trinity Laban will provide the Richard Carne Junior Fellows with:

  • Mentor support: access to and support from an appropriately qualified individual from within the Trinity Laban senior staff team.
  • Practice Facilitiesphysical access, including ID/access Cards for use within King Charles Court, equivalent to that available to full-time Trinity Laban students without disadvantaging Trinity Laban students.
  • ITaccess to IT facilities within King Charles Court equivalent to that available to full-time Trinity Laban students.
  • Libraryuse and borrowing rights equal to those of full-time students.
  • Coachingcoaching as required with Trinity Laban’s ensemble coaching staff and / or other Trinity Laban salaried members of staff (as relevant) subject to agreement with their Mentor, to a usual maximum of 10 hours per calendar year. (N.B. access to all other in-house Trinity Laban staff to be paid for by the Junior Fellows at the Trinity Laban hourly rate for chamber music coaches).
  • Masterclasses/UnderstudyParticipation in Trinity Laban master classes as appropriate.
  • RecordingUse of the Trinity Laban recording studio at an agreed level commensurate with equivalent groups (typically three full days), subject to the constraints of the demands on the studio and working staff time lines. Subsequent time will be charged at the appropriate Trinity Laban discounted staff rate (currently £16 per hour).
  • Publicity & MarketingAccess to the advice and expertise of the Trinity Laban PR & Marketing department, subject to the constraints of the demands on the department and working to staff time lines (N.B. typically 2 months’ advance warning is required for all materials). Activities might include the creation of a detailed and relevant mailing list, the design of a generic flier/postcard for future publicity, etc. (N.B. use of an external designer or printer and all “additional cost” activities such as photography must be paid for by the Junior Fellow ensemble.)
  • PerformancePerformance opportunities as appropriate or required, to be discussed and arranged in conjunction with the appropriate Head(s) of Department and Chamber Music Coordinator(s).
  • Other Professional OpportunitiesCommunity/outreach work as appropriate, to be discussed and arranged in conjunction with the Head of Professional Skills.

Application Documents

  • CV: Please attach an up-to-date CV detailing the education, further tuition (if applicable) and professional experience of the quartet as a whole and of its individual members (if applicable). Being as specific as possible, please also indicate how you found out about this Junior Fellowship opportunity.
  • Repertoire List: Please attach a full list of your current repertoire.  You can also include any reviews and press cuttings. Please provide details of 3 recent public performances given by the ensemble, listing the date, venue and repertoire performed. 
  • Future Performances: Please include below details of any future confirmed and provisional recitals, competitions, residencies, awards and tours which fall during the period of the 12-month Junior Fellowship programme.
  • Study Proposal: a more detailed proposal for a personal programme of study/project.  This can include the information previously included in the covering letter but should be in greater detail. There is no fixed length but that document should include :
    • Plans for study/project work both inside and outside of the Conservatoire
    • The prospective Fellow’s proposed contribution to Conservatoire life
    • An expenditure outline (including tuition and living expenses for the year)
    • The prospective Fellow’s own financial contribution to his or her costs for the year
  • Names of Referees: Please provide the names of two referees (preferably of national or international stature) who are willing to provide comment on both your professional work to date and your suitability for the Junior Fellowship programme, stating how long they have known you and in what capacity.
  • Professional References: Please include scanned copies of the references from the two professional referees whose details you have supplied above.
    • Photo: please attach a high-quality (300dpi or 1MB) recent digital image of yourself.
    • Digital Recording: please attach at least one digital recording of a recent performance, with a total length of at least 15 minutes in duration.  As there is no limit to the file size, please submit the highest quality version you have at your disposal.

Please note that, due to the large number of applications received, should your recordings exceed 15 minutes in duration they may not be reviewed in their entirety by the panel.

Please note that failing to include any of the items listed above will adversely affect your Junior Fellowship application.

Application Deadline and Application Fee

Deadline date and time to be announced.

Date of Auditions

Next audition dates to be announced.


Please find below some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about this Junior Fellowship:

Q. We currently live in London but we are not UK citizens.  Will obtaining a Junior Fellowship entitle us to remain in the UK?
A. Due to recent changes made by the UK Border Agency, holding a Junior Fellowship sadly does not entitle you to apply for a visa.  As such, gaining a Junior Fellowship will have no influence on your ability to extend your current visa.

Q. If we are not shortlisted, will it be possible to receive feedback on our application?
A. Sadly due to the large number of applications we receive, it is not possible to provide individual feedback to applicants who were not shortlisted for interview.

Q. Can we receive advice on our application prior to its final submission?
A. Yes – should you require any guidance on the content of your application we will be happy to offer this.  This is best provided by email. Be as specific as you can with your query and we will do our best to assist you.

Q. We weren’t shortlisted although we are brilliant musicians with glowing references.  Why is this?
A. We are not only looking for brilliant musicians but for individuals who can demonstrate an understanding of the Trinity Laban ethos and whose proposed programme of study will benefit our students as well as themselves. 

Q. You ask for a recent digital recording. What do you mean by ‘recent’?
A. While it is important you submit your best recording, we would expect that you are a developing musician who is currently possessing the best technical and expressive capacity you have had.  As such, we anticipate that the recording(s) you provide will be amongst the latest you have recorded.

Q. Can we submit just one long digital recording or should we provide lots of different, shorter recordings?
A. While there is no strict answer to this, we would recommend including 2-3 shorter but contrasting extracts or movements (for instance, highlighting different styles or where you are performing with different instruments/singers) as opposed to a single complete work or movement. 

Q. Can we submit YouTube or Soundcloud links in our application material instead of uploading a digital recording?
A. No – if you no longer have the original file please use KeepVid or a similar online application to extract your recording from the website in question then upload this file onto Decision Desk.

Q. We only have audio (as opposed to audio-visual) recordings of our performances.  Will this affect our chances of being shortlisted?
A. No – while an audio-visual recording is most revealing, it is the quality of the performance featured on the recording that is of greatest importance to the panel.

Q. We have a recording of a very recent concert performance and although we are very pleased with our playing the sound quality isn’t great.  Should we still submit it?
A. In most instances, yes – unless the audio quality makes it almost impossible to hear the quality of your performance.  Again, it is the quality of the performance featured on the recording that is of greatest importance to the panel.

Q. What is meant by ‘intended personal programme’?
A. Please detail, in no more than 500 words, what you are seeking to achieve as a quartet over the 12-month period during which you are applying to be Junior Fellows, and how this relates to your career aspirations in general. Although this is not essential, we would also recommend you discuss why you have chosen to apply to Trinity Laban and what benefit your association with Trinity Laban will bring to both yourself and to our students.

TIP: If you are currently unaware of what distinguishes Trinity Laban from its competitors we recommend that you study pages 5-7 of the Trinity Laban Strategic Plan 2014-9 ahead of drafting your personal programme of study:

Q. We have been shortlisted however we do not live in the UK.  Do we need to travel to London for our interview?
A. Not necessarily – if you are shortlisted but face difficulties getting to London on the specified audition date it may be possible to arrange a Skype audition.  This will of course require you to find a suitable location (and any additional musicians) with a good internet connection.

Q. What should we write in our budget outline?
A. The budget outline can be a simple table.  This submission requirement is designed only to demonstrate that you have considered and worked out how you will be financially supported over the 12-month Junior Fellowship period (e.g. is this a combination of bursary, parental support and paid teaching work?).  You can of course include the Junior Fellowship bursary money in your calculations.

In terms of possible income streams and performance-related expenditure, we would suggest making a realistic guess but not going into great detail.  So long as you can demonstrate on paper that it is financially viable for your quartet to undertake the Junior Fellowship, the panel will be satisfied with your budget outline.

Q. What should our referee write in their reference letter in support of our application?
A. We do not specify what a referee should write. A reference is often only a couple of paragraphs but can be longer if your referee has more to say.  A good reference is effectively a character reference by someone who is an established musician and who has had experience of you performing in either a training or a professional context.

Q. We have completed our application materials but are still awaiting a response from one of our referees.  Can we still submit our application?
A. While we would prefer for all the application materials to be submitted in a single document, we will accept references sent to us directly by your referee via separate cover, provided they arrive prior to the application deadline.  References received late may not be considered by the panel and this could adversely affect your application.

Q. Is it possible to amend our application materials once they have been submitted on Decision Desk? 
A. Once you have begun the online application process you can remove and/or replace files you have already uploaded. However once your application has been submitted you will be required to contact the Junior Fellowship administrator via email to request further amendments prior to the application deadline.

Q. I am applying for more than one Junior Fellowship programme, does this mean that I have to submit two separate applications on Decision Desk and pay the fee twice?

A. Yes you will be required to submit two separate applications on Decision Desk as well as pay two separate fees via the online shop as you are applying to audition for two separate panels.

If you have further queries after reading all of the information provided, please email [email protected].