News: The Steve Martland Bursary Fund

Steve Martland

The Sound and Music Steve Martland Bursary Fund 

Sound and Music has launched a compelling appeal to raise £25,000 in order to create a much-needed bursary fund, in memory of the much-loved composer Steve Martland (1954-2013), offering financial support to young composers attending the annual residential Summer School for Young Composers.

The creation of the Sound and Music Steve Martland Bursary Fund is essential for us to ensure that we can continue to make the Summer School open and accessible to more young people, now and in the future, through removing financial barriers to attendance.

 “I have an endless thank you for the work that Sound and Music put into offering opportunities for young composers like me that normally lack opportunity for financial reasons. I said it before but I don't think I've ever been as happy as I was for that week.” Summer School student, 2016

To date, over £14,000 has already been pledged towards the Steve Martland Bursary Fund for which we are extremely grateful, however there is still some way to go! We are seeking further help and support from anybody who shares our belief that talent is not limited by background, and that it is a vital task, for sake of the future of music, to ensure that all those who wish to create and compose their own music should have the chance to do so.

Your donation, however small, will transform lives.  

The education I received (at the Summer School) will be coming into use very soon as I begin studying composition at university this month, which again leads me to thank the Steve Martland Bursary. Coming from a lower income household and having the ever looming pressure of student debt, there was no possible way I could have attended the Summer School without assistance, yet what it also has done is settle my fears of whether pursuing an arts degree is really the right idea in order to succeed after graduation” Summer School student, 2016

Your donation will go directly towards assisting young people to attend.

•    The actual cost per pupil of attendance at the Summer School is £1,200, and the fee
      to parents is £450
•    A donation of £225 creates a 50% bursary for one young composer for one year
•    A donation of £450 creates a full bursary for one young composer for one year

The Summer School provides young composers (aged 14-18) with a unique opportunity to work alongside professional composers and musicians to develop their compositional skills, be it in writing for instruments, writing for film, writing for non-European instruments, writing for voice, or writing for a jazz ensemble. This week-long residential creates a much needed space for young composers from a diverse range of backgrounds to create new music, tell their own stories through their compositions, share and explore their ideas, and understand what it is to be an artist.

In July 2018 the Sound and Music Summer School will celebrate its 10th anniversary.

We can think of no better way to celebrate than being able to commit, through the Steve Martland Bursary Fund, to ensuring that more young people from financially disadvantaged backgrounds can attend in the future. 

If you are able to make a donation please do so here or by contacting Sound and Music directly at

If you have the time please do watch the beautiful short film produced during the Summer School in 2017, which provides a real insight into a young composer’s Summer School experience.

About the Summer School

Every year, 75 young composers aged 14-18 from all over the country arrive at the Sound and Music Summer School for a transformational week of music making.

They learn from and work alongside a team of world renowned composers, professional musicians and experienced educators in developing their compositional skills, be it in writing for instruments, writing for film, writing for non-European instruments, writing for voice, or writing for a jazz ensemble.

This is the only course of its kind in the UK and for many of the young people attending it is a truly life-changing experience.

For many of these talented young composers, it would not be possible to attend the Summer School without financial support. Every year, at least a third of attendees are on some level of bursary. In 2015, composer Tim Benjamin conceived the idea of creating bursaries specifically in memory of his late teacher, the inspirational composer, Steve Martland, to support talented young composers from financially disadvantaged backgrounds to attend Sound and Music’s annual Summer School for Young Composers. From this, the current appeal has been born.

About Steve Martland

Steve Martland was the former Artistic Director of SPNM – the Society for the Promotion of New Music – one of Sound and Music’s founding organisations. He cared deeply about new music being open to everybody. Believing that composing talent could be found anywhere, regardless of class or wealth, he was passionate in advocating for the importance of diversity of new music and its creators. Steve was also passionately committed to education, running Strike Out, a non-fee paying composition course for children. He was generous, warm-hearted and huge fun to be with, and his many pupils held him in the highest regard.

Summer School Workshops

We would like to thank all those that have donated to the fund with a
special thanks to the following:  

  • Alex Heffes
  • Alex Poots
  • Bob Allies
  • Cathy Eastburn
  • Charlotte Higgins
  • Colin Matthews
  • David Sefton
  • Gavin Bryars
  • James Poke
  • Jo Thomas
  • Judith Weir
  • Michael Betteridge
  • Philip Flood
  • Robert Henderson
  • Robert Katz
  • Sally Groves
  • Sara Mohr-Pietsch
  • Stevan Keane
  • Tarik O'Regan
  • Tracey Low

Our special thanks go to Sally Groves, who has been such a driving force behind the creation of the Steve Martland Bursary Fund.

Donate to the Steve Martland Bursary Fund

Visit Sound and Music's Giving Platform

Find out more about our Summer School 


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