Published on August 2nd, 2021 | by Liam McMahon


Call for proposals for New Music Biennial 2022

Festival weekends to take place in Coventry UK City of Culture and at London’s Southbank Centre

2022 marks the tenth anniversary of New Music Biennial

PRS Foundation and Southbank Centre announce today (2nd August 2021) the call for proposals for their critically acclaimed New Music Biennial 2022. Presented in partnership with Coventry UK City of Culture, BBC Radio 3 and NMC Recordings with support from Arts Council of England, New Music Biennial 2022 will comprise 20 new pieces of music: ten brand new works selected from an open call and ten pre-existing New Music Biennial works from across the last 10 years to mark its launch back in 2012.

PRS Foundation and Southbank Centre’s New Music Biennial includes new music from across all genres: from classical and chamber opera to jazz, folk and electronic. Each work is no longer than 15 minutes in duration in response to the New Music Biennial’s aim to create a pop-up, interactive way for audiences to discover new music. 

Music and the arts have never been more important with so many universal challenges facing individuals, communities and the world. This year’s New Music Biennial invites composers and commissioning organisations to create a response – exploring the fantastical, imaginative and transformational shift music can effect in confronting these threats and challenges whilst bringing joy and excitement.

The deadline for applications is 13th September 2021 and the winning compositions will be selected by a prestigious and diverse panel of judges.  The final programme will be announced in October 2021.

Find out more and submit your application through the PRS Foundation website here.

Through 2021/22 the new pieces will be composed and rehearsed and all twenty commissions will receive public performances at two celebration weekends; in Coventry as part of Coventry UK City of Culture in April 2022 and in London at Southbank Centre in July 2022.

In addition to the performances the New Music Biennial will be broadcast across BBC Radio 3 and pieces will be available through NMC Recordings following the festivals.

2022 will mark the tenth anniversary of the New Music Biennial since its launch as New Music 20×12 as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.  Since 2012 the initiative has seen critically acclaimed pieces by composers and music creators including Anna Meredith, Mica Levi, Hannah Peel, Errollyn Wallen, GoGo Penguin, Jessica Curry, Shingai Shoniwa, David Okumu, Mark Simpson, Eliza Carthy, Gavin Bryars, Mark Anthony Turnage, Shiva Feshareki and Sam Lee with many pieces receiving award nominations.

Joe Frankland, CEO at PRS Foundation said, “We’re delighted to bring the New Music Biennial 2022 to Coventry UK City of Culture in addition to its spiritual home at Southbank Centre in its 10th year.  Over the last decade the New Music Biennial has seen more than 80 composers and music creators create phenomenal and critically acclaimed pieces of music that have entertained and moved audiences at the weekend festival events in London, Glasgow, Hull and through additional performances across the UK.  Each open call we are always excited by the submissions we receive as they highlight the fantastic creativity, imagination and sheer talent we have here in the UK for music creation.  We look forward to seeing the submissions for our New Music Biennial 2022 and sharing the winning pieces alongside pieces from New Music Biennials over the last 10 years with audiences in Coventry, London’s Southbank Centre and the wider country next year.”

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director at Coventry City of Culture Trust added “We are thrilled to welcome the New Music Biennial to the UK City of Culture next year, live across the city and broadcast across the nation with BBC.

“Coventry is known the world-over for our brilliant pioneering spirit, commitment to peace and social justice, and creating harmony amongst citizens.  A city of movements, we created the Coventry Carol, commissioned the War Requiem, established the 24hr rave scene and invented 2Tone and more recently produced incredible scene of grime artists.  Coventry artists have demonstrated the role that music plays in our identity, in building connections through and after conflict, creating new youth led movements and striving for unity, putting our beautiful differences at the centre.
 “It is fitting that for the 10th anniversary of the Biennial, and the 100th anniversary of the BBC, we are part of an incredible partnership delivering brand-new commissions and previous works which will respond to the challenges we face with imagination and joy.
I’m looking forward to hearing some extraordinary new music as part of this call out.” 

Gillian Moore, Director of Music and Performing Arts, Southbank Centre said: “The New Music Biennial has become a joyful fixture on the national music calendar; a festival which shines the spotlight on the diverse musical creativity of the UK.   Southbank Centre has been privileged to be part of NMB since the very beginning ten years ago,  and it has been a joy to fill the whole site with music from all corners of the country, representing genres from folk to contemporary opera to orchestral to electronic music.  In 2022, we specially look forward to collaborating with Coventry, City of Culture.”

Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3 added “The New Music Biennial is such an important part of Radio 3’s role supporting composers and artists across the UK. The quality and depth of pieces from the last ten years of the New Music Biennial has been astonishing. We can’t wait to discover the next crop of new and exciting works and bring them to a wider audience alongside some of the most inspirational pieces from previous editions of the New Music Biennial.”

Helen Sprott, Executive Director with NMC Recordings Ltd said: “ NMC is delighted to working with partners, PRS Foundation, Southbank Centre, John S Cohen Foundation, BBC Radio 3, and Coventry UK City of Culture, supported by Arts Council England, in another exhilarating voyage of musical discovery.  These biennial surveys in sound remind us of the extraordinary creativity of successive generations of music makers, and NMC is thrilled to provide a permanent, and permanently accessible home for their work, for listeners everywhere to explore and enjoy.”

Watch the New Music Biennial 2019 video:

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