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Writing the Future

Writing the Future is our open-call programme that supports the careers of composers and music creators through the process of making new work with the ensemble. The programme usually lasts for approximately two years, and allows for longer and innovative new works to be made and performed. 


Writing the Future 2017–2019

Josephine Stephenson

Josephine Stephenson (b. 1990) is a Franco-British composer and performer based in London. Her music has been commissioned by the BBC, Radio France, Spitalfields Music and Nonclassical among others, appeared at the BBC Proms, Bristol Proms, the Festival Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence, Spitalfields Festival and Aldeburgh Festival, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC 6 Music and France Musique. Performers of her work include The Hermes Experiment, Miroirs Étendus, stargaze, Explore Ensemble, the Van Kuijk Quartet, gambist Liam Byrne, violinist Eloisa-Fleur Thom, The Erebus Ensemble and the Maîtrise de Radio France. Josephine regularly collaborates with film and theatre makers as well as bands, and is one of the three artistic directors of the London-based concert series and record label Listenpony, which puts on events mixing contemporary classical music with older classical music and popular genres. As a soprano, she sings with vocal ensembles such as Tenebrae and EXAUDI. Josephine read music as an undergraduate at Clare College, Cambridge before completing a Masters in Composition at the Royal College of Music. 

Ed Nesbit

The work of London-based composer Edward Nesbit been performed by groups such as the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, NOSPR, Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de Lorraine, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Britten Sinfonia and the Philharmonia Orchestra in venues including Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Purcell Room and Barbican Hall; his work has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. His song cycle A Pretence of Wit was shortlisted for the vocal category of the 2013 British Composer Awards.

Patrick Brennan 

Patrick Brennan was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. He studied piano performance with Julian Jacobson at the Royal College of Music and composition with Julian Anderson and Hans Abrahamsen at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Royal Danish Academy of Music respectively.

His music has attracted national and international attention, with recent commissions and performances coming from orchestras and ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Internationale Ensemble Modern Akademie and the Zurich Chamber Singers. He has worked with several leading conductors and performers including Sir Mark Elder, François-Xavier Roth, Pierre-André Valade, Oliver Knussen, Emilio Pomarico, Huw Watkins and Rolf Hind.

Oliver Leith

Oliver (b.1990) is a London based composer making acoustic music, electronic music and video. He was the recipient of a British Composer Award in 2016 and of the Royal Philharmonic Composition prize 2014. His work focuses on text, video, theatre and tangible human themes. Recent pieces have taken their beginnings in internet culture and authenticity. Music and videos have been performed by the likes of the London Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Philharmonia Orchestra, Opera North Orchestra, plus-minus ensemble, the Ives ensemble, John Harle, Loré Lixenberg, Matthew Herbert, Explorensemble, KSQ and Exaudi. His music has been heard at places such as Festival D’Aix-en-Provence, the Barbican, Milton Court, the Royal Opera House, Royal Festival Hall, LSO St. Lukes, St. John Smith’s Square, St Martin-in-the-fields and The Horniman. Visual art collaborations are exhibited at The Museum of Western Australia and recorded music played on BBC Radio 3 and NTS radio.

As part of the scheme, composers are offered: 

  • At least one chamber commission to be performed by the London Sinfonietta in a future main season event.
  • A close working relationship with members of the ensemble to develop ideas.
  • An introduction to music industry professionals who can advise on different aspects of career development.
  • Opportunities to work on different aspects of the ensemble’s programme – including digital projects, schools and community work and the London Sinfonietta Academy.
  • Open access to visit London Sinfonietta rehearsals and concerts.
  • Opportunities for coaching and mentoring from world-leading composers and conductors as part of the London Sinfonietta’s season, and in partnership with the Southbank Centre where the ensemble is a Resident Orchestra.


London Sinfonietta gave me the opportunity to develop work outside of normal concert models and supported me from the inception of my idea to the performances. As an early-career composer, it was a valuable opportunity to create a large-scale work and collaborate with experienced professionals on the staging, lighting and direction. This was such an incredibly fulfilling project. Samantha Fernando, Writing the Future composer 2013/14


Time with musicians – I don’t know who would turn that down Mira Calix

Previous participants

Writing the Future 2013/14

Gregory Emfietzis, Adam Fergler, Samantha Fernando, Geoff Hannan, Aaron Holloway, Matthew Kaner, Amber Priestley, Andrew Thomas, Tristan Rhys Williams.
The above composers were commissioned to write for The New Music Show: the London Sinfonietta’s day-long festival featuring live performances, installations, film, and talks. In 2013 The New Music Show included a series of talks curated with the Royal Philharmonic Society as part of their bi-centenary, and marked the culmination of the Southbank Centre’s The Rest is Noise festival.

Writing the Future 2011/12 

Mark Bowden, Shiva Feshareki, Edmund Finnis, Tim Hodgkinson, Jordan Hunt, Edward Jessen, Isambard Khroustaliov, Duncan MacLeod, Bushra El Turk.

Writing the Future is generously supported by Michael & Patricia McLaren-Turner, Jerwood Arts, The Boltini Trust and PRS For Music Foundation.