Composer Lab 2019

Now in its fourth year, Composer Lab is an initiative of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in partnership with the Contemporary Music Centre and is aimed at composers who wish to write for Symphony Orchestra.

Composer Lab is open to composers who have had limited opportunities to write for symphony orchestra/large scale ensemble and aims to provide these composers with a creative and open environment to deepen their experience in writing for symphonic forces.

Outside plaque of the Contemporary Music Centre

What happens in the Composer Lab?

  • A maximum of four composers will be selected to take part with two places minimum reserved for composers represented by CMC, and an additional one place available for another composer from the island of Ireland.
  • Selected composers will be expected to prepare a 6 – 8 minute work for symphony orchestra ( / / tmp+3 / hp / str). This may also include electronics.
  • The electronics, their preparation and implementation, including equipment required, is the responsibility of the chosen composer.
  • This work in progress will be the focus of a preparatory meeting with Composer Lab mentor, David Fennessy at the CMC in December 2018.
  • This work will then be the focus of a workshop with RTÉ NSO section principals (or section leaders) on 18 February 2019.
  • This completed work, full score and parts will be submitted to the Contemporary Music Centre for copying on the 5 March 2018.
  • Following this, the work will be the focus of an intensive public workshop with the RTÉ NSO, conductor Gavin Maloney and mentor David Fennessy on the 1 April 2019.
  • On completion of subsequent revisions to the score and parts, the composers’ works will be performed by the RTÉ NSO in a public concert on the evening of Tuesday, 27 May, 2019.

Would you like to apply for the Composer Lab?

The RTÉ NSO and CMC are now seeking expressions of interest in this initiative. In order to make a submission, composers must submit the following by email to by 5pm on Friday, 5 October 2018 (please put Composer Lab in the subject heading).

  • A short proposal outlining details of the piece you intend to write, how it relates to your existing working practise and how composer lab will enable you to realise your artistic intentions and develop your skills.
  • Two recent completed scores in pdf format (not excerpts).
  • A link to a recording of a performance or electronic realisation of each score.
  • C.V. to include details of past professional performances

Composers chosen to participate will be informed during the week beginning 15 October 2018.

Notes for applicants

  • Composers who participated in Composer Lab 2016, 2017 & 2018 are ineligible to apply for Composer Lab 2018.
  • There is no age restriction for applicants.
  • If you have made an unsuccessful application to Composer Lab in 2016, 2017 & 2018, this does not preclude you from applying in 2019. Applications are encouraged from those who have been unsuccessful in the past.
  • The selection panel will consist of the mentor composer along with representatives from the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the Contemporary Music Centre.
  • Participating composers may apply for CMC travel bursaries and receive CMC score copying support.
  • The decision of the selection panel is final.

For further information, please contact: Susan Brodigan, CMC Library Co-ordinator, or see

Composer Lab 2019 Application Information