Irish Heritage announces new Music Bursary for Composition

£3,000 Award for successful young composer

Irish Heritage is pleased to announce the launch a new bursary for an original classical music composition on an Irish theme by a young Irish composer based in Ireland or Britain.

The new bursary, which has been made possible through the support of the Ireland Fund of Great Britain and a generous donor, complements the Irish Heritage Music Bursary for Performance which was launched in 2015 and which has already had a major impact.

The new Bursary is open to young Irish composers studying at recognised music conservatoires and other colleges in Ireland and Britain. Students are invited to participate through the relevant music departments.

Announcing the new Bursary, Patrick Lennon, Chairman of Irish Heritage said, “Since its formation in 1974 Irish Heritage has focused on the celebration and performance of classical and Irish music of the past in the process encouraging and launching the careers of many now established Irish singers and musicians.

“The organisation believes that the time has come to turn its attention to contemporary classical music composition with Irish themes and nurture the composers of the music that will be performed by future performers.

“We are most grateful to the Ireland Fund of Great Britain and to one of our generous supporters for providing the funding to launch this exciting new bursary. I hope it will attract interest and submissions from young Irish composers in both countries.”


The theme of the inaugural Bursary composition is peace and reconciliation in an Ireland-Britain context in these testing times.


The conditions for submission are as follows:

  • All submissions must be received by 31st January, 2019. The five shortlisted compositions will be notified by February 28th.
  • The age limit is 30; composers submitting an entry should not have had more than five fully professional performances of their music within the last year. [Note: “fully professional performances” are those in which all the performers are regular professional performers -not teachers or fellow students for example, and are being paid a full fee for the performance, in a public context, with a royalty payable to the composer. Many concerts in universities and colleges are therefore not ‘fully professional’ in this context.]
  • Compositions must be unpublished, they must not have won in any other contest and they must not have appeared on YouTube or any other website.
  • Compositions must feature a harp and flute duet.
  • Submitted pieces should not exceed 10 minutes duration. The duration of the work and the year of composition should be written on the score.
  • The submitted work must not have had a professional performance (see note 2 above).
  • No published works may be submitted.
  • Only one piece may be submitted by a composer.
  • All submissions should be emailed in pdf format to: Submission Forms and other accompanying documents must be emailed along with the scores (also as pdf files). If this is impossible then three paper copies of the score (preferably A4), along with the submission form may be posted to this address Irish Heritage, 17 Short’s Gardens, LondonWC2H 9AT.
  • Composers are invited to send a pdf document of their musical background and experience, this information is not obligatory and will not influence the adjudicators’ decision.
  • The adjudicators’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding that decision. The adjudicators reserve the right not to award the bursary if they consider that no submitted works meet the required standard.
  • There is no submission fee.


The recipient of the successful composition will receive an award of £3,000 to be used in furthering their artistic and professional development. The composition will be premiered at an Irish Heritage event in London.


The panel of adjudicators, which will consist of leading, current professional performers and academics drawn from Ireland and Britain, will be announced in early December.

Download Submission Form Guidance Notes – Click here