CMF Artist Programme

Turning talent into success.

The City Music Foundation provides professional musicians in the UK in the early stages of their careers with expert advice, guidance and support to help them to build successful careers in music.

City Music Foundation doesn’t give out cash grants; we give support, advice and performance opportunities to musicians in the early stages of their career because we believe this expert guidance is paramount and the benefits multiplied.

CMF Artists receive support through a core programme of workshops and mentoring sessions, covering areas such as programming, marketing, press and PR, networking, and communication skills (on and off stage). As well as the core programme, each artist receives support in the planning and implementing of a bespoke project based upon the artist’s needs. This might include additional concerts, provision of quality audio and visual recording for commercial and promotional purposes, commissioning of new music, website creation, professional photographs, additional mentoring and introductions to key music industry professionals.

CMF Artists are enrolled in the programme for two years, and candidates are invited to apply in March for enrollment into the programme in September of the same year.

For more information about the artist programme and application process, please email or call 0330 313 0893.

The CMF Artist Programme pioneers a 21st century approach to apprenticeship – gaining the best possible support and insight from a range of masters of the art.

Business Mentoring

Set up through a collaboration with BNY Mellon, CMF’s innovative business mentoring scheme is central to the support we offer all CMF Artists. CMF is unique in this – no other musical award or institution offers the educational and apprenticeship programme that the CMF has developed.

We use an innovative cross disciplinary approach to substantially increase the chances of young, highly talented musicians – classical, jazz and folk – being able to continue their careers as professional performers of live music.

CMF selects highly talented, award winning musicians early in their professional careers who have already invested enormous amounts of time, energy, passion – and other people’s goodwill (and money) – into getting where they are. The level of ability and expertise these musicians have achieved by the time they leave their formal musical education establishment to embark on a performing career far outstrips that seen in most other walks of life at that young age.

Statistics from music conservatoires suggest that the number of graduates earning a living from performance is low: despite the investment, the talent and the passion, many of these fantastic young professionals fail to ‘make it’ and end up pursuing other jobs in other fields.

We pair our CMF Artists (soloists or ensembles) with senior business people – mainly City based financial services and legal professionals – as personal mentors. This is designed to complement the CMF series of tailored professional development workshops and seminars.

Business mentors are able to provide a valuable external perspective and help the musicians to approach their careers more strategically. Topics frequently addressed include setting aims and objectives, organisational skills, managing finances, negotiating fees, contracts, presentation and communication skills, networking, and dealing with stress.

Every musician needs to understand that to be successful as a soloist or in an ensemble requires them to function effectively as a self-sufficient business. The CMF Business Mentoring Scheme provides the tools and insights needed for that.

We are getting amazing feedback from some of the first intake of CMF artists (2013) and know we are making a measurable difference. This is already being noticed by others in the music industry and in postgraduate music education, and CMF is being seen as a crucial and integral part of the cultural life and offer of the City.

For more information on the business mentor programme please contact Clare Taylor, Managing Director: / 0330 313 0890.

Our thanks to BNY Mellon for its invaluable support in setting up this programme.

Turning talent into success.

Artistic Mentoring

In addition to the business mentoring programme, CMF artists undergo an apprenticeship through one to one sessions with established international artists in their area of music.

For example, the string quartet which was enrolled on the CMF Artist Programme in 2015 is mentored by a world famous string quartet. They meet regularly and play to them, and are planning joint concerts and recitals. They receive an in depth insight into the lives and strategies of a successful string quartet, teaching and constructive criticism, introductions to venues and promoters and much more.

We have other examples in which CMF has been able to arrange for artists to share concert platforms in prestigious venues with renowned, established professionals, benefitting from their guidance and expertise in all areas of professional practice.

Some CMF Artists have preferred a serial approach, with masterclasses and individual sessions set up with a number of different practitioners in their field, giving a broader approach to apprenticeship, and allowing for the CMF Artists to see the range of possible routes and styles of success in their area of musicianship.

Coupled with the business mentoring programme and the professional development workshops, CMF offers highly talented musicians with a proven musical and performance track record, an in-the-round approach to furthering and securing their careers, through direct mentoring and guidance from those with real expertise and experience.


Programme Summary

  • Senior business people as personal mentors through collaborations with City firms
  • Artistic mentoring with established, acclaimed international players
  • A series of tailored professional development workshops and seminars drawing on our extensive network of contacts in the music industry and in City institutions and commerce. Topics include tax and financial management, networking, presentation skills, contracts and legal issues, agents, PR, using social media, pitching and programming and many more.
  • A concert or recital in the CMF concert series in the City, as an adjunct to the PD workshops.
  • Essential promotional tools such as a new website designed and tailored to their requirements, high quality recordings and a CD, and high quality photos, film and videos.
  • Day to day access to the CMF team, including our Artist Manager who works almost like an agent to achieve as many live performance opportunities as possible for our musicians.
  • Help with new commissions – musical, visual arts, poetry – to help CMF artists develop a unique niche and selling point.

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

Other Previous Judges:

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


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