Magnum Opus - Britten Sinfonia

Magnum Opus

Applications are now closed for Magnum Opus 2023

Who Should Apply

We’re pleased to offer a professional development opportunity for three outstanding UK-based early career composers, who will be embedded in our activity across the 2023 season of Britten Sinfonia’s work.

We anticipate that those selected for Magnum Opus may recently have taken part in similar schemes with other ensembles, may have studied composition (or music more generally) in a higher education setting, and will have a pre-existing portfolio of compositions. We are looking to work with those who are keen to develop, not only as composers, but also as well-rounded creatives who will become part of the Britten Sinfonia team for the duration of their residency with us. You should be a talented creative with flair and a good sense of what it takes to make a career in the industry.

Please note that our Opus schemes are not open to composers based outside of the UK. Don’t forget that if you applied for Opus 1 in 2022, you aren’t eligible to apply for Magnum Opus in the same year.


“This residency with Britten Sinfonia has been a truly special way of exploring the music that I want to write. Being able to work with top musicians who have open minds and hearts, and being supported along the way by an inquisitive and forward-thinking organisation, has given us music creators true artistic freedom.”

Nathan James Dearden, Composer, Magnum Opus 2022

“Magnum Opus has given me the chance to write a piece I have always wanted to write, which is extremely fulfilling in that it validates my creative ambitions and musical personality. I’m very, very grateful for the opportunity.”

Jonathan Brigg, Composer, Magnum Opus 2022

Being part of the Magnum Opus scheme over the past year has been a great experience. It’s been insightful, challenging and rewarding all in one. I’ve learned a lot from the Britten Sinfonia players and have been very lucky to share the experience with two very lovely, supportive composers which has made the scheme all the more enjoyable.

Aileen Sweeney, Composer, Magnum Opus 2022


Further Information

What is involved in being a Magnum Opus composer?

After appointments have been made in December 2022, your first project will involve composing a Concert Opener for mixed chamber ensemble (including wind, horns and strings) with workshops and performances taking place in Spring 2023. The second project revolves around writing a Chamber Concerto for a solo instrument of your choice, with workshops taking place in early September 2023. The scheme culminates with premieres of the Chamber Concerti in October 2023.

As well as writing two pieces, you will have the chance to work with and learn from the players and wider team at Britten Sinfonia – including discussions around programming, marketing, finance, and concert management with key staff members. There will also be mentoring sessions with the Programme Directors, and access to other learning opportunities with external specialists who will help you to consider other areas of your work, including self-publishing, score editing and outreach development. When possible, you will be invited to the orchestra’s concerts and rehearsals throughout your residency.

Magnum Opus composers will receive a bursary of £2500 (in instalments throughout the season) in exchange for their commitment to the programme and the creation of their new works. Please note that this covers expenses.


Is this scheme right for me?

Applications for Opus 1 will open in Spring 2023 – Opus 1 is our ‘first rung on the ladder’ composition scheme for aspiring composers who have not recently been selected for other composition schemes. Please consider whether you might be better suited to Opus 1, as Magnum Opus is our more advanced composition scheme for early-career composers who have already taken part in other opportunities.

A note to composition students still in Higher Education:
You may feel that your current attainment level falls between the two schemes – we’ve tried to widen our reach as much as possible, but we know there are composers who may feel too accomplished for Opus 1 but who have not yet reached the career stage that we are consdiering for Magnum Opus applications. We can’t create opportunities for everyone (as much as we’d like to!) so please accept our apologies, and understand that we know you’re out there.