The Imogen Holst Fund

At the core of NMC's mission is our passion to enable exceptional British and Irish composers to have their music heard and enjoyed by audiences worldwide, regardless of their commercial potential.

Imogen Holst was a composer, teacher, educator, and festival administrator. She championed new music and her work with Colin Matthews was integral to the formation of NMC Recordings, and for that we are truly grateful. To recognise Imogen’s contribution to the British and Irish new music landscape, the Imogen Holst Fund was established in 2021.

The Imogen Holst Fund was established with the primary goal of supporting planned recording projects by historically underrepresented composers, both within NMC’s catalogue, in addition to the wider classical music sector specifically on this occasion by composers who identify as women. The creation of the Imogen Holst fund is an important step in NMC’s future, embedding equality, diversity, inclusion within NMC’s drive to perverse the broadest range of new music by contemporary composers.

Find out more about the Fund below, including how to make a donation today, and play your part in preserving great music for future generations to enjoy.

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What will the Fund support?

During the initial years of the Imogen Holst Fund, we are seeking donations to support forthcoming recording projects by composers from backgrounds which have been historically underrepresented within both NMC’s back catalogue, and the wider classical music sector. Since its launch in 2021, the Imogen Holst Fund has focused on composers who identify as women, completing projects with: 

Shiva Feshareki, Daphne Oram, Ailis ni Riain, Rebecca Saunders, and Ayanna Witter Johnson

Future projects supported by the Imogen Holst Fund are to include works from composers hailing from Black and ethnically diverse backgrounds; d/Deaf & disabled composers; as well as composers whose work has been unjustly unheard. 

Your support will enable us to bring these recording projects to fruition, strengthening the quality of NMC’s output and ensuring that important compositional voices are retained in our catalogue for the future on a permanent basis, benefiting audiences and composers alike.  

How can I help?

Establishing the Imogen Holst Fund is an important next step in ensuring NMC’s future, embedding equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of our mission to preserve the broadest range of new music by contemporary composers. Each year, we are aiming to raise £20,000 towards the fund. To thank you for your support, all donors will receive updates on the recordings their donation is supporting. Those who make an annual contribution to the fund of £500 or more will receive a named credit in album booklets benefiting from the Imogen Holst Fund. 

You can donate online, by sending a cheque to our postal address, or by making a donation over the phone with a credit card by following the details on this page.  

Annual donations of over £1,000 will additionally be offered bespoke opportunities to engage with and meet the composers they are supporting.  

If you would like to speak to someone about your donation, please contact Office and Development Assistant Stephen Balfour at

How will my donation contribute? 

£500 could pay for a day’s studio hire.

£1,000 could pay for CD production costs including commissioning a cover image and programme notes.

£5,000 could pay for an unconducted chamber work, including artist fees, venue hire and postproduction costs.

£10,000 could pay for an orchestra to record a large scale 20’ piece.

Why Imogen Holst?

The Imogen Holst Fund seeks inspiration from a composer who was integral to the very existence of NMC. When Founder and Executive Producer, Colin Matthews OBE, set up the Holst Foundation with Imogen not long before her death in 1984, she made it clear that the Foundation’s role should not be to subsidise her father’s music. Instead, she wished for it to support the work of living composers, including through giving them opportunities to record their music. 

Over the past 35 years, NMC has gone on to record, release and promote the work of almost 500 composers: the Imogen Holst Fund is designed to enable us to continue to realise Imo’s vision by supporting our work with composers who have yet to appear on NMC.

Our inclusivity work so far

In 2019, NMC celebrated 30 years at the forefront of recording, releasing and promoting exceptional new music from Britain and Ireland. In an effort to address historical imbalances within both our catalogue and the wider classical music sector, we made a series of commitments for our future release schedule.  

We set ourselves targets that, by 2022, at least 50% of our new releases every year would feature music by composers identifying as women; and we wanted to double the number of composers from Black and ethnically diverse backgrounds in our catalogue, from 19 to 38.  

We are proud to have made good progress against these targets as 2022 approaches, achieving a balanced release schedule in the last two years, and working with more than a dozen Black and ethnically diverse composers that had previously not featured on an NMC release.   

We wish to continue this work in the future and embolden NMC’s ability to always champion the most exciting new music from an ever-growing range of voices. From our proactive discussions with composers in recent years from underrepresented groups, we have seen that there is an increasing need to secure seed funding to make these exciting recording projects happen.  

With traditional grant funding sources squeezed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided to take the initiative and launch a new fundraising campaign to ensure we can bring new composers into our catalogue, and make their music available for all to hear at a time when recordings have never mattered more to the future careers of composers.  

Find out more about our Inclusivity Action Plan.

Background to the Fund

Over recent years, we have spent time reviewing how effective we are in reaching the broadest range of composers to ensure that our future catalogue is as rich as possible, with the result that we are now working with more composers who identify as women and more composers from Black and ethnically diverse backgrounds. We have made significant strides and we want to make sure these important developments are sustained.

The Imogen Holst Fund will enable us to work pro-actively with a more diverse range of composers than ever before, including those who are mid-career or have been historically overlooked, providing a higher level of individual support, scheduling more recording sessions with more artists and ensembles, preserving more great music for future generations to enjoy.

Establishing the Imogen Holst Fund is an important next step in ensuring NMC’s future, embedding equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of our mission to preserve the broadest range new music by contemporary composers.