RSNO Composers’ Hub

PRS for Music Foundation

Aimed at composers in the early stages of their career, the RSNO Composers’ Hub is a fantastic opportunity to compose music for orchestra in a range of different contexts, developing skills and creative relationships, as well as acquiring an understanding of the business of a major arts organisation.

Now in its third year, up to five emerging composers will be chosen to join the hub and spend the 2017:18 Season with the RSNO.  Whilst working with the RSNO, each composer will write a 7-10 minute piece for full symphony orchestra.  The scheme will culminate in a public workshop at the RSNO Centre in Glasgow, April 2018, from which one work will be chosen to be performed in the RSNO’s 2018:19 Season.

Composer opportunities:

This scheme is not simply about creating new works, but having the opportunity to develop meaningful collaborations with the RSNO and other Composers' Hub participants. Those selected will build relationships with the musicians, staff and RSNO audiences, whilst receiving guidance in artistic development and career advancement.  There will be the opportunity to:

  • Collaborate in the development of new works
  • Work on projects with RSNO’s partner organisations
  • Observe rehearsals and concerts
  • Spend time with RSNO’s Music Director, Assistant Conductor, and RSNO musicians
  • Be mentored by composer Stuart McRae, as well as key RSNO musicians
  • Participate in a workshop day with an internationally-renowned composer
  • Work with smaller groups of RSNO musicians
  • Shadow key members of RSNO staff in different departments, including finance and external relations
  • Work with the RSNO’s Learning and Engagement department
  • Have regular sessions with visiting performers, composers and RSNO musicians; workshops on various aspects of the music business
  • Have access to RSNO’s recording and digital equipment


  • Composers must be resident within the UK, and be available to travel to Glasgow for specified periods throughout the Season
  • Interviews will be in Glasgow at the end of August
  • There is no restriction on age
  • Travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed for each composer on the scheme

Award-winning composer and RSNO Composers’ Hub mentor Stuart MacRae: “As an emerging composer, it can be a very big challenge to get your music played by a professional orchestra; but in order to develop approaches to orchestral music, composers need time to collaborate with an orchestra, and the support to try out ideas. As well as writing a new short piece for the orchestral workshop there are opportunities to engage with the RSNO’s Learning and Engagement team, and to learn more about the running of the organisation. We are looking for talented and enthusiastic emerging composers of any age, based in the UK, to take part in this exciting scheme.”

Royal Scottish National Orchestra is supported by PRS for Music Foundation

2016:17 RSNO Composers’ Hub

Ailie Robertson

Ailie Robertson

Ailie Robertson (b.1983) is a multi-award winning composer and performer, whose work crosses the boundaries of traditional and contemporary music. Winner of The Sofia International Composition Competition, the SCO Composition Prize, and 2nd in the Oslo Grieg Competition, Ailie has received commissions and awards from Creative Scotland, Enterprise Music Scotland, the CCA, Arts Council England, CultureIreland, and Celtic-Connections, along with residencies at the EIFF, BerwickSound and CALQ Montreal.

Nominated ‘Composer of the Year’ in the STM Awards, awarded a BBC Performing Arts Fellowship, an MBF Emerging Excellence award, and chosen for Making Music’s Adopt-a-Composer Scheme, Ailie has written for TV and theatre, and her work has featured on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio Scotland. Her latest release won the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and was described as “an exquisitely moving little masterpiece” (FRoots). In 2016 she has had new works premiered by The Elias Quartet and Eleanor Turner, the London Contemporary Choral Festival, Quatuor Bozzini and Cappella Nova, and will present a programme of new works at this years Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

Robert Allan

Robert Allan

Glasgow born-and-bred Robert Allan is a pianist and composer, currently studying at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Rolf Hind, having graduated with first class honours from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he studied piano with Aaron Shorr, Sinae Lee and Heather Slade-Lipkin and composition with Stuart MacRae.

Having worked with many distinguished ensembles including Ensemble Modern, Psappha and Red Note Ensembles and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, his recent compositions have been praised for their “clarity and sonic inventiveness” (The Scotsman) and hailed as “exquisite… a real gem" (The Herald). In 2015 he was also appointed Associate Member of London Symphony Orchestra Soundhub.

As a pianist, he has played with a variety of ensembles including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Red Note Ensemble, under conductors including Garry Walker and Jessica Cottis. Also a passionate educator, he was recently appointed Associate Accompanist with the National Youth Choir of Scotland, as well as working as accompanist and musicianship tutor with Perth Boys’ Choir.

Robert holds collaboration as a key facet of his artistic practice, and he is incredibly proud to have worked alongside students from every one of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s flagship undergraduate courses during his time there. In 2016, this was expanded to include students from both the Glasgow School of Art and University of Glasgow, with whom he, alongside other students of the RCS, worked to create Dream On, a performance event to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.

Benjamin Graves

Benjamin Graves

Since achieving his Masters in Composition, with distinction, from the Guildhall School - with generous support from The Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers, The Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers, the Guildhall Trust and the Countess of Munster Musical Trust - Benjamin’s works have been performed widely, either by himself as clarinettist or others, across the UK and abroad. His music has been heard in venues in Royaumont and Aix-en-Provence, France; Darmstadt, Germany; Basel, Switzerland and Aldeburgh; Birmingham; Cambridge; Durham; Oxford; and London’s Air Studios, Barbican, LSO St. Luke’s, the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios, The Place, Southbank, St John’s Smith Square and the Wigmore Hall. Broadcasts include BBC Radio 3 and Resonance 104.4 FM. Festival premieres include the Aberdeen Sound, City of London and Aldeburgh festivals. He is co-founder of the critically acclaimed dance and music company Sounding Motion who perform extensively across the UK in theatres, studios and university education projects, with generous support from the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund. He is currently undertaking a PhD in composition at Cambridge University with Richard Causton, fully and generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Philip Ashworth

Philip Ashworth

Philip Ashworth is a young British composer with an emerging international profile. A graduate of the Royal College of Music in London, he was awarded a Doctorate in 2014. He is the recipient of several scholarships including a Constant and Kit Lambert Award, a Drapers Company Award, and RCM Director’s Award and an Award from the PRS Foundation for New Music.

In 2012, he won the Royal College of Music’s concerto competition for composers, for his orchestral work Diurne. This work was subsequently shortlisted for the Alexander Zemlinsky International Composition Competition.

He has had premieres across the United Kingdom, Russia and Europe. Recent commissions include Air, for Krysia Osostowicz and Daniel Tong as part of their Beethoven Plus series, and a two-act opera for the International Opera Theatre of Philadelphia.
Philip is delighted to be participating in the RSNO’s Composers’ Hub Scheme.

Daniel Kidane

Daniel Kidane

Daniel Kidane’s music has been performed extensively across the UK and abroad as well as being broadcast on BBC Radio 3, described by the Financial Times as ‘quietly impressive’ and by The Times as writing music that is ‘tautly constructed’ and ’vibrantly imagined’.

Daniel began his musical education at the age of eight when he started playing the violin. He first received composition lessons at the Royal College of Music Junior Department and then went on to study privately in St. Petersburg, receiving lessons in composition from Professor Sergey Slonimsky. He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Gary Carpenter and Dr David Horne. Currently, he is undertaking a doctoral degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, studying with Julian Anderson.

Current projects include a commission for Michala Petri (recorder) and Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord), which was released on CD and premiered in the UK at Wigmore Hall in February 2015; two new works for members of the London Symphony Orchestra, one of which is linked to the Orgelbüchlein Project; a major international composition project to complete J.S. Bach’s Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book); a new work for Psappha Ensemble, inspired by the writings of Anthony Burgess; and a bass clarinet concerto for the Riot Ensemble as part of Sound and Music’s Portfolio scheme.

Blogs from our Composers

A Celtic Challenge

A blog by Philip Ashworth, RSNO Composers’ Hub 2016:17 Embarking on any new composition requires a goodly deal of planning and preparation. With a wholly original piece, one generally has carte blanche and can pretty much do whatever you like. However, arranging or transcribing existing music carries with it a different set of possibilities and, […]

Restoration Project

A blog by Benjamin Graves, RSNO Composers’ Hub 2016:17. I love Grand Designs: the monumental designs, the originality of the buildings and the way they fit within their surrounds. But most of all I love Kevin McCloud: his dryness, consistent incredulity at the viability of each build and genuine surprise every episode at the quality […]

A Conflict of Interests

A blog by Benjamin Graves, RSNO Composers’ Hub 2016:17 When one thinks of war music it is usually the descriptive nature of the pieces themselves that comes to mind: an incessant “andante marziale” or absurdist scherzo. What one doesn’t immediately think of – in comparison to, say, the war poets – is how directly conflict […]

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