Sound Pioneers Professional Development Opportunity

Heloise Tunstall Behrens Brian Slater

Sound Pioneers is a professional development programme supporting emerging women and gender minority composers to undertake creative residencies using music technology facilities at the Universities of Huddersfield and Hull.

The project is delivered by Yorkshire Sound Women Network working in partnership with the University of Huddersfield, University of Hull, hcmf// and Brighter Sound’s Both Sides Now programme. Sound Pioneers is supported by the PRS Foundation’s Open Fund for Organisations.

The project will support 6 emerging / early career women and gender minority composers based in any region of the UK. We are seeking to benefit those whose work has not yet been widely performed in a professional context, as well as composers of acoustic music who would like to pursue future work with multichannel electronics. As this project focusses on composing for space through large loudspeaker orchestra, fluency with stereo electronics is strongly recommended.

This project will provide valuable paid development opportunities for the selected composers, namely:

  • access to high quality music studio facilities at either the University of Huddersfield or the University of Hull, to undertake a 5-day music residency – offering space to engage and experiment with new equipment, to influence and develop practice as music creators;
  • specialist coaching and mentoring support, both on using the studios/compositional techniques and marketing/promotion, with a view to composers establishing future performance opportunities with festivals and venues;
  • a high-profile performance opportunity for new work created during each residency.

In Huddersfield, the project will offer an opportunity to compose a new work to be presented on the 48-channel/66-loudspeaker Huddersfield Immersive Sound System (HISS) in Huddersfield. The selected composers will participate in an initial workshop on presenting work for electronics on large multichannel loudspeaker systems. Participants will learn about the HISS setup and speaker configuration, and will learn and practise loudspeaker diffusion techniques and strategies. The selected composers will have opportunities to work in the multichannel studios at the University of Huddersfield during the summer of 2020, including the 25.4-channel SPIRAL studio.

In Hull, composers will be invited to write new work using the Ambisonic Studio, a 3D surround-sound studio with 4-8-4 array, Barefoot stereo monitoring and fully adjustable lift. Composers will also have access to the Duality recording studio and bookable recording gear, including Sennheiser Ambeo mics, Soundfield ST350 mic, Sound Devices Mix Pre 6, Sonosax RX4, and more. Composers will receive induction and coaching support on using the studios from academic staff and will each undertake a creative residency during the summer of 2020. New works produced during the residencies will be presented by the University of Hull’s HEARO collective in 2020 over their 30+ Genelec loudspeaker system in the Middleton Hall, along with a multichannel performance workshop.

Each selected composer will receive a payment of £900 for their participation in the programme, plus travel expenses and accommodation within an agreed budget.


Closing date for applications to both Huddersfield & Hull programmes: 17 January

Selected composers announced: 31 January

Sound Pioneers, Huddersfield (3 selected composers):

  • Induction: Thursday 20 February, as part of the Electric Spring festival
  • Composer residencies: between 13 July – 24 July: individual residency dates to be agreed with selected composers
  • Rehearsal/Performance: tbc late 2020 or early 2021

Sound Pioneers, Hull (3 selected composers):

  • Induction: date tbc, March 2020
  • Composer residencies: dates tbc, Summer 2020,: individual residency dates to be agreed with selected composers
  • Rehearsal/Performance: late 2020, as part of HEARO collective concert

How to Apply

Please submit the following materials to Heidi Johnson, Development Manager, Yorkshire Sound Women Network at

by Friday 17 January, with the subject line: Sound Pioneers: [Applicant name]

  • Brief biographical statement, including information about previous electronic music and/or composition study/experience
  • A brief paragraph on why you would like to participate in the programme
  • A clear indication of whether you are applying to participate in the Sound Pioneers programme at either the University of Huddersfield, University of Hull or whether you’d like to be considered for both locations.

You can submit the above information either as a written letter or as a video application (max 3 mins duration, please send via We Transfer or similar). Please also submit:

  • Links to an audio or video recording for one composition of no more than 10 minutes in duration. (Please do not send files as attachments via email; please submit a link to online materials hosted via Soundcloud, YouTube, vimeo, Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, etc.)
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