Conditions of Entry, Eligibility, About the Auditions, Requirements, Previous Judges

The next round of applications open on 11th February 2019

Read below to find our more about our application procedure

Our mission is to turn exceptional musical talent into professional success by equipping outstanding musicians with the tools, skills, experience, and networks they need to build and sustain rewarding and profitable careers.

Through an annual competitive audition process, we select classical soloists and chamber ensembles, as well as jazz, folk, and world musicians. These ‘CMF Artists’ then engage in an innovative two-year programme, which includes artistic and business mentoring, as well as professional development workshops. These workshops cover a range of topics such as managing finances, tax and pensions, legal input on copyright and contracts, plus presentation and interview skills, promotion and publicity strategies, and much more.

We work with the CMF Artists to develop professional promotional tools such as websites, photos, recordings, and videos, as well as providing help with commissioning and other projects to ensure that each musician develops a unique niche and selling point. We present CMF Artists in our own recital series and residencies and arrange performance opportunities at venues and festivals throughout the UK and beyond, as well as securing airtime on BBC Radio 3 and promotion through social media channels.

Our key position in the City means that we can use our experience, knowledge and connections within the music industry, City institutions and the corporate world to provide unique and unrivalled support and education for our musicians. We believe that by investing in these talented musicians early in their professional careers we can not only secure their employment, but help to ensure the future of quality music in the UK and beyond.

The CMF Artist Programme lasts for approximately two years. The programme consists of:

  • Senior business people as personal mentors through collaborations with City firms.
  • Artistic mentoring with established, acclaimed international performers.
  • A series of tailored professional development workshops and seminars drawing on an extensive network of contacts in the music industry and in City institutions and commerce. Subjects include tax and financial management, networking, presentation skills, contracts and legal issues, agents, PR, using social media, pitching to venues and festivals, programming and many more.
  • Performances in CMF-produced events, festivals and residencies
  • Essential promotional tools such as a new website designed and tailored to the artist’s requirements, high quality recording and a CD, and high quality photos, film and videos.
  • Day to day access to the Artist Manager who works like an agent to secure as many live concert bookings as possible
  • Help and support curating performances, which may include new commissions – musical, visual arts, poetry – to help CMF Artists develop their USP

We select CMF Artists annually through a competitive audition process, our next round of applications will open on 11th February 2019.

Conditions of Entry validity
This Conditions of Entry is valid from February 2018 until further notice.

Instruments, genres and groups assessed
The CMF will accept applications from the following categories:

Solo Applications:

  • Keyboard: Piano, Harpsichord, Organ, Accordion (including chamber/accompanying Piano)
  • Strings: Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Guitar, Harp
  • Woodwind: Recorder, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone
  • Brass: Horn, Trumpet, Cornet, Flugelhorn, Eb Horn, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Baritone, Euphonium, Tuba
  • Percussion
  • Singing: all voices

Ensembles of up to five members, including but not limited to:

  • String Ensemble
  • Wind Ensemble
  • Brass Ensemble
  • Mixed Ensemble
  • Vocal Ensemble

Genres include:

  • Classical / Contemporary Classical
  • Jazz
  • Folk
  • World


If you unsure about whether to apply as a soloist or as part of your ensemble (especially within the jazz genre), please do contact


  1. There are no upper or lower age limits.
  2. Applicants must have finished their full-time tertiary education by the 1st September 2019. If studying a part-time diploma or similar, applicants are welcome to apply.
  3.  Applicants must be a resident in the UK for the full two-year period, from 1st September 2019 to 31st August 2021, as a minimum.
  4. Applicants must hold the correct visa to work in the UK for the full two-year period. This must be a full working visa and not a student visa (including Tier 4) attached to any institution or place of study.
  5. The Artist must have a commitment to living and working in the UK for the full two-year period.
  6. All applicants must be able to attend the live auditions in central London (dates TBC).
  7. If you have already benefited from CMF as a soloist, or as a member of an ensemble, you cannot apply.
  8. Applicants who have previously applied, but been unsuccessful, are very welcome to apply again.
  9. Applicants must not have a commercial manager/booking agent at the time of applying.
  10. Applications must be completed online by (date TBC).


If you have any queries about the above, please be in touch with the CMF team on

Auditions take place annually and new Artists commence with CMF every September. Therefore, we have at least two years’ worth of CMF Artists running concurrently.

The number of CMF Artists selected annually is not fixed.

Applications are seen and thoroughly evaluated by panels of specialist judges in two rounds: 1 online application, and 1 live audition. 

The first round of judging is your written application form (completed on the CMF website), supported by audio/visual material. The second round is a live audition in front of a panel of five judges.

All applications will be reviewed by at least two external specialist judges, as well as members of the CMF team. Previous examples of specialist judges can be found below.

For round 1, you must submit the online application form (button at the bottom of this page) and supply two separate examples of audio/visual media to support your application, as well as two reference details. 

For round 2, the live audition will consist of a 15 minute performance and a 10 minute interview.

The live auditions will take place in central London (dates TBC).


For detailed information about the audition process, please download our full Terms of Reference 

2018 Judges
Ian Ritchie (chairman) Festival Curator & Artistic Director
Eugene Asti, Pianist
Michael Collins, Clarinetist & Conductor
Gary Crosby, Tomorrow’s Warriors
Leslie East, Chairman ABCD & former CEO, ABRSM
Huw Humphreys, 
Head of Music, Barbican Centre
Paul Keene, Classical Music Programmer, Barbican Centre
Mats Lidström, Cellist & Composer
Sebastian Scotney, Editor, London Jazz News
Roger Vignoles, Pianist
Howard Williams, Conductor

2017 Judges
Ian Ritchie (chairman) Festival Curator & Artistic Director
Ben Pateman, Music Consultant & Flautist
Sandy Burnett,
 Bassist, Journalist, & Broadcaster
Hilary Davan Wetton, 
Leslie East, Chairman ABCD & former CEO, ABRSM
Paul Keene, Classical Music Programmer, Barbican Centre
Sholto Kynoch, Pianist & Artistic Director, Oxford Lieder Festival
Joan Rodgers, Soprano
Richard Thomas, Trumpeter
Sebastian Scotney, Editor, London Jazz News
Andrew Watkinson, Violinist, Endellion String Quartet
Andrew West, Pianist
Louise Williams, Violist

2016 Judges
Ian Ritchie (chairman) Festival Curator & Artistic Director
Jonathan Bloxham, Conductor & Cellist
Sandy Burnett, Bassist, Journalist, & Broadcaster
Iain Burnside, Pianist, Curator, & Broadcaster
Robert Cohen, Cellist
Leslie East, Chairman ABCD & former CEO, ABRSM
Sian Edwards, Conductor
Paul Keene, Classical Music Programmer, Barbican Centre
Mats Lidström, Cellist & Composer
Joan Rodgers, Soprano
Sebastian Scotney, Editor, London Jazz News
Daniel Tong, Pianist

2015 Judges
Ian Ritchie (chairman) Festival Curator & Artistic Director
Margaret Archibald, Clarinettist
Ben Baker, Violinist
William Bennett, Flautist
Jonathan Bloxham, Conductor & Cellist
Sandy Burnett, Bassist, Journalist, & Broadcaster
Leslie East, Chairman ABCD & former CEO, ABRSM
Paul Keene, Classical Music Programmer, Barbican Centre
Mats Lidstrom, Cellist & Composer
Noriko Ogawa, Pianist
Sebastian Scotney, Editor, London Jazz News
Howard Williams, Conductor

Previous judges have included
Alistair Anderson, Folk Musician
Alison Balsom, Trumpeter
Ian Brown, Pianist, Nash Ensemble
Paul Cassidy, Violist, Brodsky Quartet
Levon Chilingirian, Founder & Violinist, Chilingirian Quartet
Jacqui Dankworth, Jazz singer
John Gilhooly, Artistic Director, Wigmore Hall
Jeremy Hayes, Proprietor, Potton Hall
David Jones, Director, SERIOUS
Stephen Lumsden, Managing Director, Intermusica
Sally Matthews, Soprano
Andy Panayi, Jazz musician & Composer
Andrew Parmley, Former Master of the Worshipful Company of Musicians
Jennifer Pike, Violinist
Joan Rodgers, Soprano
Charlie Wood, Jazz musician & Composer



Download our Conditions of Entry here

Application Deadline:


The next round of applications open on 11th February 2019


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