Frequently ignorance is the main issue around music by women. The essential thing is for people to hear their works. When these lovely pieces are heard, there is no more reason for omitting them. Roll on inclusion...” Diana Ambache


DEADLINE: Thursday 28 February 2019, 5pm.

Annual grants will be allocated according to the range and value of each project. Each year over 10 years up to £19,000 will be shared between 4 to 5 projects for concerts, tours, recordings and education work deemed to be doing most to advance and promote the understanding of music by women. These will be selected by a panel agreed between the ABO and Diana Ambache. Orchestras are encouraged to use The Women of Note website as a resource, which lists orchestral music by historical women composers. The downloadable document can be accessed here. Diana Ambache is also available for advice about the composers and their music, in advance of making your application, please contact the ABO for further information.

To date the scheme has supported performances of works by Germain Tailleferre, Cécile Chaminade, Dorothy Howell, Maria Antonia Walpurgis, Grace Williams, Lili Boulanger, Maria Grimani, Marianna Martinez and Louise Farrenc. See below for performance dates.


  • The scheme is open to full and associate members of the ABO
  • Pieces should be for orchestra including opera and choral works that require an orchestra. We are defining an orchestra as an ensemble of 12 or more including a minimum of one orchestral instrument.
  • Priority consideration will be given to projects showing substantial profile raising of female works, work that addresses a significant gap in provision, challenges contemporary attitudes, and takes an enterprising approach to influencing people
  • Please note that if the composer is still alive the piece will be ineligible. Pieces by living women composers may be included in the programme, as long as the historical piece is the main work for which you are seeking funding.

When assessing applications to this fund, we will be considering the potential short and long term impact of the applicant’s approach to programming the piece. This will include demonstrating:

  • The potential for the piece and the way it is programmed for the audience to appreciate – exploring new horizons, expanding the available repertoire and offering associated learning and participation work
  • The approach to the programming and promoting of the work within the orchestra’s planned artistic season and also beyond the main publicity, recordings, broadcasts and other avenues
  • What is the significance of the music?
  • A strong PR/marketing plan and if applicable, associated learning and participation work
  • Applications must be made by 5pm, 28 February 2019 and should be programmed within the 2019/2021 season
  • This fund will be reviewed annually to ensure it is fit for purpose. If you are successfully funded at any point during any two year period, you cannot apply for the fund again within two years
  • Applications must be made by the orchestra and all grants awarded via this fund will be paid direct to the orchestral organisation.

We reserve the right not to award all the available funds (£19,000) each year.

What can be funded?
We will consider every application on a case-by-case basis. We are inviting orchestras to propose why they have selected the piece; what makes it a distinctive work and how they will programme it in their tour or season, ensuring engagement with a large audience. Orchestras can apply for funding to help cover the following:

  • Orchestral rehearsal time
  • Music hire
  • Performer fees
  • Instrument Hire
  • Promotion/performance of work
  • Touring costs in the UK
  • A combination of some of the above

What can’t be funded?

  • New commissions
  • Recording only
  • International tours with no UK involvement

Funding application deadline

  • The deadline for receipt of applications is Thursday 28 February 2019, 5pm. All submissions must be completed using the grant application form. This is a downloadable document on the ABO website.
  • The grant application should be emailed to Fiona Harvey:
  • You will receive an acknowledgement email within two working days following your submission. If information is missing from your application form, the email will provide a report of outstanding information. You will be asked to resubmit the grant application if necessary.

Notice of Award

  • If you are awarded a grant, you will receive notice of acceptance by email.
  • You will be emailed an offer letter and asked for your bank details.
  • Once you have returned your signed offer letter, payment of 80% of the grant will be made via BACS to your orchestra’s bank account. The remaining 20% will be paid on receipt and approval of your evaluation report.
  • If you are not awarded a grant, you will receive an email informing you of this news.


Philharmonia Orchestra: Maria Antonia Walurgis’ ‘Sinfonia to Talestri, Queen of the Amazon’ as part of their flagship Key Stage 2 concert and engagement project, ‘Orchestra Unwrapped’. November 2018 – Leicester and Bedford; Spring 2019 – Basingstoke, Canterbury and Leicester

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic: Germaine Tailleferre and Cecile Chaminade, Liverpool and Preston, 28 February, 1 March and 3 March 2019

Southbank Sinfonia: Dorothy Howell, London, 19 September 2019

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance: Grace Williams’ Symphony no. 2 as part of the ‘Venus Blazing’ series - 12 December 2019

Aurora Orchestra: Louise Farrenc’s Symphony no. 3 in G minor, as part of ‘Venus Unrwapped’ series 14 December 2019

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: Lili Boulanger ‘D’un matin de printemps’, London, 27 February 2020

Academy of Ancient Music: Marianna Martinez, Bury St Edmunds, London and Cambridge, 18, 19 and 20 November 2019; Maria Grimaldi, London and Cambridge, October 2020;


Dates are subject to change, please check the organisations’ websites for up to date information

Please contact Fiona Harvey, Education and Youth Ensembles Consultant, ABO for further information: