Mark Bowler announced as OPUS2017 winner. Find out more here.

Find out more about the shortlisted composers here.


Britten Sinfonia has a history of innovation and excellence. Renowned for adventurous programming and a dynamic new approach to performing, over our twenty-five year history we have aimed to expand the horizons of what an orchestra ‘could’ or ‘should’ be and of how people engage with us and our music-making. In 2013, the OPUS composition competition was launched to further this vision with the goal of discovering an exciting new compositional voice.

Now entering its fifth year, former OPUS winners are among the best up-and-coming compositional talents in the UK. However, we want to push the boundaries further, widen the parameters, challenge ourselves and our audience and discover new musical terrain and all the creative potential therein.

With this in mind, OPUS2017 presents a new challenge to composers, retaining the core values true to both the competition and Britten Sinfonia as an organisation and evolving the competition and the At Lunch programmes in which the winning commission is couched.

OPUS2017 brings in outstanding pianist-composer-producer extraordinaire Nik Bärtsch from the jazz/funk scene together with an interesting mix of Britten Sinfonia’s musicians to form the ensemble for which the OPUS competition winner will be invited to write. Working with a leading light from a non-classical field introduces a new and exciting edge to OPUS: allowing us to continue the search for a unique, new compositional voice, challenging shortlisted composers to expand their existing musical knowledge, opening the competition to a potential new and alternative range of entrants and audiences alike.

The chosen composer will receive:
– The chance to work closely with Nik Bärtsch and Britten Sinfonia musicians to develop their compositional techniques
– At least three performances of their work (at London’s Wigmore Hall, West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge and Norwich St Andrew’s Hall).
– A commission fee


OPUS 2017 timeline

Deadline for OPUS2017 open call for scores – Friday 28 July 2017

3-5 applicants shortlisted – August 2017

Expansion and re-working of ‘sketch’  by shortlisted composers – Aug-Sep 2017

Shortlisted composers pieces workshopped – 2nd September 2017, London

Winner selected – September 2017

Composition editing/re-drafting period – Sep-Oct 2017

Deadline for final draft – Monday 30 October 2017

World premiere tour of new work during At Lunch One – November 2017

Missed the deadline but still want to be involved with OPUS? You can help support the scheme, receive regular updates and get your name in the score of the winning piece for as little as £10 through our Musically Gifted campaign

Submissions for OPUS2018 will open in 2018