JAM Composers’ Residency 2024

A unique opportunity for emerging composers

Composers' Course at JAM on the Marsh with Prospect Cottage and Derek Jarman in writing for opera.
Prospect Cottage, home of Derek Jarman
After the successful launch of our Composers’ Residency in July 2023, JAM is pleased to welcome applications to its second free residential course for dynamic composers. Taking place as part of JAM on the Marsh festival from 1-13 July 2024, our next residential course will focus on writing for opera and is designed to take the participants’ compositional skills to the next level.

We are thrilled to collaborate with some of Britain’s biggest names in opera composition for this year’s residency; composers will receive tutoring from Jonathan Dove CBE (one of the most successful contemporary composers), Professor Shirley Thompson OBE, Professor Paul Mealor LVO CStG (who both most recently wrote music for the Coronation of King Charles III), Dr John Frederick Hudson (American composer, pianist and conductor & JAM’s Head of Operations), Grahame Davies LVO (celebrated Welsh librettist and poet), Nicholas Cleobury (one of Britain’s most experienced conductors and curator of JAM on the Marsh).

Composers will spend 10 days on Kent’s beautiful Romney Marsh; with its medieval churches, reclaimed landscape and wildlife this unique coastal area provides the perfect setting to inspire the participants’ creativity. 

The area was home to the famous artist, avant-garde film maker and gay rights activist Derek Jarman, who moved to Dungeness following his AIDS diagnosis in 1986 and lived there until his untimely death in 1994. To mark the 30th anniversary of his passing, the participating composers will write 15-minute operas with libretti by Grahame Davies focusing on Jarman’s life. As part of the residency, composers will spend one day in the film maker’s famous Dungeness home, Prospect Cottage, which will stimulate the composers’ creative process and provide inspiration for their compositions. 

Derek Jarman in Prospect Cottage at JAM on the Marsh
Derek Jarman, famous artist, avant-garde film maker and gay rights activist

"With many courses and residencies cancelled, JAM is a beacon in the gloom bringing this unmissable opportunity for composers of any age.”

The new operas will be premiered by four opera singers on Saturday, 13 July 2024 as part of the festival. One composer will be awarded the President’s Commission to write an opera for performance at JAM on the Marsh 2025.

With the residency taking place within JAM on the Marsh the composers’ experience will be additionally enhanced by attending the multi-arts festival’s events for free, and interacting with world-class artists and musicians.

The Composers’ Residency is designed for composers of any age (18+) or background, and provides musicians with the exciting opportunity to refine their skills and gain valuable input from industry professionals. Enabling new music and supporting composers remains at the heart of JAM, and we look forward to receiving many submissions.