Become a CMF Artist

Applications are now closed

Become a CMF Artist

CMF welcomes applications from classical, jazz, folk, and world musicians – both soloists and ensembles – to become a CMF Artists. Read below to find out more about our application process.

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 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 secure 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 unrivaled 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.

City Music Foundation offers an innovative two-year Artist Programme, consisting of:

  • A series of tailored Professional Development Workshops with topics including tax and financial management, networking, presentation skills, contracts and legal issues, agents, PR, social media, pitching to venues and festivals, programming, and more
  • Business Mentoring from senior business-people through collaborations with City firms
  • Artistic Mentoring from established, acclaimed international performers, including opportunities for collaboration in performance
  • Performance Opportunities in CMF-produced events, festivals and residencies
  • Promotional Tools such as high-quality photos, a bespoke website, videos, and professional recordings
  • Day-to-day access to the Artist Manager, who works like an agent to secure live concert bookings and media appearances
  • Additional Support with individual projects and commissioning

Auditions take place annually and so a new set of CMF Artists begin the Artist Programme every Autumn. This means that we have at least two years’ worth of CMF Artists running concurrently.

The number of artists – as well as the number of particular instruments, ensembles, and genres – selected annually is not fixed.

There is an application fee of £25. The relevant bank details for this fee will be sent to you on receipt of your completed application form. Your application will not processed until the payment has been received.

All applications are thoroughly evaluated by a panel of specialist judges in two rounds:

Round 1: online application

All valid applications will be reviewed by at least two external specialist judges, as well as members of the CMF Team. A list of previous judges can be found on the CMF website. The assessment will focus mainly on the requested audio/visual materials.

Round 2: live audition *PLEASE NOTE* The live auditions have been moved to 15th & 16th September 2020 due to COVID-19 disruptions

Applicants chosen in Round 1 will be asked to attend a live audition in front of a panel of specialist judges, again, also including members of the CMF Team. In advance of the audition, these applicants will be asked to complete a more detailed form relating to their time with CMF, including ideas for any specific projects.

This Conditions of Entry is valid from February 2020 until further notice.

Conditions of entry

  1. There is no upper or lower age limit.
  2. Applicants must have finished full-time tertiary education by 1st September 2020. Applicants currently undertaking, or intending to begin, part-time education are still welcome to apply.
  3. Applicants must be resident in the UK for the full two-year period, from 1st September 2020 to 31st August 2022, 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. All applicants must be able to attend the live auditions in central London on both 15th & 16th September 2020 (moved originally from June 2020 due to COVID-19 disruptions)
  6. If you have already benefited from CMF as a soloist, or as a member of an ensemble, you cannot apply.
  7. If you who have applied on a previous occasion, but been unsuccessful, you are very welcome to apply again.
  8. Applicants must not have a commercial management/booking agent at the time of applying.
  9. Applications must be completed online by Monday 6th April, 09:00.

Instruments, ensembles, and genres
CMF will accept applications from the following:

Solo Applications, including but not limited to:

  • Keyboard: Piano (including collaborative), Harpsichord, Organ, Accordion
  • Strings: Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Guitar, Harp
  • Woodwind: Recorder, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone
  • Brass: Trumpet, Cornet, Flugelhorn, French Horn, Tenor Horn, Baritone Horn, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba
  • Percussion
  • Singing: all voices
  • Non-western instruments will be considered

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 have any queries, particularly if you unsure about whether to apply as a soloist or as part of your ensemble (especially within the jazz genre), please do get in touch via or +44 (0)20 7600 7600 

Round 1: online application

  • Applicants must fill out and submit the online application form found on the CMF website. This form includes a short written statement and also requires two audio/visual links as proof of your capabilities as a performer. You will also need to nominate two referees.

Audio/visual requirements:

  • Applicants must submit two audio/visual links
  • At least one of the links must be a visual recording of a live (unedited) performance
  • All links must be from Youtube, Soundcloud, or Vimeo. Any links from other platforms or in file format will NOT be accepted
  • The material should be of a good visual/sound quality (it’s in your interest!)
  • The material must have been recorded within the past 12 months (you’ll be asked to state when and where it was recorded)

Referee requirements:

  • Please supply the name, telephone number, and email address of two relevant referees (teacher/performer/music industry professional)
  • Should you advance to the live auditions, your nominated referees will be contacted and asked to complete a reference form about you, so please ask permission from your nominated referees before including them in your application

Round 2: live audition *PLEASE NOTE* the live auditions have been moved from June to 15th & 16th September 2020 due to disruptions of COVID-19

  • The live audition will consist of a 15-minute performance and a 10-minute interview.

Performance requirements:

  • You will be asked to prepare 30 minutes’ worth of music, of which the judging panel will ask you to play roughly half
  • The programme must contain, at least, three separate pieces
  • At least one of the works must be from the standard repertoire for your instrument or ensemble type (including a jazz standard for jazz applications)
  • Your programme should be well balanced and demonstrate your personal musical preferences and strengths
  • At least one of the pieces must be performed from memory (please make clear which piece you’ll play from memory when you submitting your programme)
  • Individual movements of works will be accepted
  • You must bring two copies of each piece of music for the judges to use as a reference during your performance
  • The full 30-minute programme must be submitted in advance

Interview requirements:

  • The interview will cover your musical aspirations and your commitment to a career as a performer. In advance of the audition, you will be asked to complete an extra form concerning your professional aspirations, including ideas for specific projects.

Accompanists/equipment requirements:

  • Applicants must provide their own accompanist, where appropriate
  • A Steinway Model C will be made available to all auditionees, as well piano stools, chairs, and music stands
  • For jazz artists, please bring your own band members, and equipment
  • Power sockets will be available for amps and any other equipment

For guidelines on completing your application, please download our Conditions of Entry.

Section 1: Personal/Ensemble details

  • Please complete this section with up-to-date details for all categories. We will contact you primarily via email during the application process, so please do ensure that this is correct.
  • If you do not have a website or social media pages, please leave these sections blank.
  • If you are applying as an ensemble and you don’t have a group email address, please select a member of your group to be the main point of contact. In addition, please provide personal details for each member individually.

Section 2: Background

  • Please provide us with details of your educational history, as well as any additional musical training or masterclasses you (or your ensemble) may have undertaken.
  • Please note that we do not accept applications from candidates who intend to start, or will be continuing, full-time education after 1st September 2020. Applicants currently studying, or intending to begin part-time education are welcome to apply.

Section 3: Being a CMF Artist

  • This is your chance to tell us what you want to get out of being a CMF Artist. Tell us where you want to be in five years’ time; where and what you want to be performing; what skills you want to acquire; what contacts you want make, etc.
  • There is a limit of 300 words.

Section 4: Audio/Visual materials

  • Please note that we do NOT accept CDs/DVDs or electronic files (e.g. via Dropbox or WeTransfer).
  • If your links include your own original compositions, please list yourself as the composer.
  • If you are uploading a new video/track and do not want it to be publicly available, please do the following:

Section 5: Referees

  • Please ensure that the contact details for your nominated referees are up-to-date; and that they are aware that you are applying.

Section 6: Confirmation and administration 

  • By signing this, you agree to comply with all of the conditions of entry and agree to accept the judges’ decision and that of City Music Foundation as final.

If you have a query about any part of the application form or process please do not hesitate to contact us:


Phone: +44 (0)20 7600 7600
(Office Hours: 9am-6pm Monday-Friday)


2019 Judges
Ian Ritchie
 (chairman), Festival Curator & Artistic Director
Eugene Asti, Pianist
Levon Chilingirian, Founder & Violinist, Chilingirian Quartet
Robert Cohen, Cellist
Peter Donohoe, Pianist
Leslie East, Chairman ABCD & former CEO, ABRSM
Jonathan Groves, Founder & Managing Director, Groves Artists
Richard Heason, Director, St John’s Smith Square
Andrew Marriner
, Clarinetist (Principal of LSO 1986-2019)
Ivo Neame
, Jazz Pianist
Celia Nicklin, Oboist (Former Principal of Academy of St Martin in the Fields)
Joan Rodgers, Soprano
Sebastian Scotney, Editor, London Jazz News

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:

Applications are now closed

Application Fee: £25

Applications closed

Please download and read our Terms and Conditions before applying.