Projects – Commissioning Fund

In October 2003 Women in Music (WiM) announced five awards made from its Commissioning Fund: Cheng Yu and The Five-stringed Pipa (£6000), Corrina Hewat and Karine Polwart with MotherSong (£6000), Anne Hilde Neset and Lina D Russell with Her Noise (£4000), Netsayi Chigwendere (£3000), and Clare Connors with The Carla Bley Project (£3000).

These projects represent just the tip of the iceberg of the exciting world of women’s music-making. Over seventy individuals and organisations responded to our call for “big ideas” in Summer 2002. Proposals were of a very high quality and diverse subject matter: gospel music with girls, Chinese music theatre, voice-work with learning- disabled adults, new works for Cuban dance band, to mention just a few.

Selecting the award winners was not an easy process and WiM is indebted to its panel of specialist advisers: Angela Willes, Chair of WiM and Director of Chard Foundation; Debbie Golt, WiM Committee member and promoter; Helen Chadwick, composer and performer; Clare Hirst, composer and performer; Kathryn Deane, Director of Sound Sense and Kentake Chinyelu, Sound Sense’s Head of Diversity.

Panel members read all shortlisted proposals and listened to many hours of demo CD’s and tapes. Seven of the short-listed candidates were invited for interview following which the five awards were made. Angela Willes said: “The whole process was very enjoyable because the entries were so wide-ranging and interesting. It shows that women are progressing in a wide range of music”.

The WiM Commissioning Fund was launched in 2000 – a millennium year project to raise the profile of women’s music – and now forms part of the Creative Renewal project, working to make the arts and entertainment sector more representative of society as a whole. This round of commissioning is made possible through financial support from the PRS Foundation ­ the UK’s largest independent funder solely for new music ­ and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, who aim to nurture the professional development of artists throughout their careers.

Clare Adams, Projects Officer

Previous award winners – from first round of commissioning (2001)

The London Musicians Collective 10th Annual Festival of Experimental Music

The Magnificat Project, Professor June Boyce-Tillman’s initiative to introduce more music by women into the services of the Anglican Church

Notes from the Edge: composer Deirdre Gribbin’s collaborative work with novelist Bernard McLaverty

Sense of Sound, Liverpool’s premiere four-woman acappella pop/soul group, to write a new 20 minute work

Karen Wimhurst’s music theatre piece, The Last Flight

Rachel Stott working with Concanentes and cathedral girls choirs on the Canterbury Pilgrimage tour.

Click here for more information on first round winners