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 commercial potential. 

Diversity and widening participation are a key part of this ethos, and we have made huge strides in this area in recent years which we want to sustain in the future. We also recognise that for some composers in the middle of their careers, no longer a ‘new’ voice , it is increasingly difficult to find financial support for their recordings, and masterpieces are at risk of disappearing.

We are seeking your support to further these twin aims, launching an exciting new initiative: the Imogen Holst Fund.

Over the next 12 months, we are aiming to raise £30,000 towards the fund. Your donations will initially support NMC's forthcoming recording projects featuring: Shiva Feshareki, Daphne Oram, Rebecca Saunders, Ailis Ni Riain, and Ayanna Witter-Johnson. 

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. This includes a focus on composers who identify as women for 2022.  

In future years, we envisage the fund widening to incorporate those from Black and ethnically diverse backgrounds; Disabled composers; as well as composers overlooked by time. The fund will run continuously every year, with amounts raised allocated to recording projects most in need of support which fit this criteria.  

Initial recording projects which will benefit from the support of the Imogen Holst Fund include 2022 releases featuring the music of:  

Shiva Feshareki 

Daphne Oram 

Rebecca Saunders 

Ailis Ni Riain 

Ayanna Witter-Johnson 

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?

The Imogen Holst Fund launches in December 2021 and will continue as a high-profile scheme throughout 2022 aiming to raise £30,000; we would be thrilled to receive your donation and support for this great cause. 

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.  

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. 

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 Director of Development, Alex Wright, by email: alex@nmcrec.co.uk or calling 020 3022 5888. 

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. 

In the 33 years since its foundation, 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.