MidWinter Composers Course 2023

Monday, 2nd January 2023

Treat yourself this New Year to a gigantic creative boost with CoMA's intensive mid-winter five-day composition course.

Treat yourself this New Year to a gigantic creative boost with CoMA’s intensive mid-winter five-day composition course. With a track record for taking composers onto an entirely new level, the course provides the technical capacity and confidence to realise more ambitious musical ideas and projects.

Alasdair Nicolson, a major UK composer will be in residence throughout, structuring the course, offering friendly and supportive advice to composers at all stages of their developments, advice that is nevertheless challenging and deeply instructive.  With a focus on string writing, composers are required to write for amateur strings as well as for a professional string trio.  One session each day is dedicated to writing as a composers’ ensemble.

CoMA course participants have variously described the course as providing an ‘amazing time’, offering ‘great feedback’ and ‘unique opportunities for collaboration’, and as an ‘inspiring’ way to kick off the New Year. Past composition tutors have included Tansy Davies, Gerald Barry, Sally Beamish, Philip Cashian, Alasdair Nicolson and Andrew Toovey.

Course content

The course runs from 2pm (with registration from 11am) on Monday 2nd January and concludes at 1pm Friday 6th January (with optional lunch available).

The following document provides guidelines for composing for the course ensembles.

Composer guidelinespdf


The composition tutor is Alasdair Nicolson who has received commissions from the UK and abroad. Nicolson has gone on to work with some of the world’s best orchestras, ensembles and soloists. His music is widely performed and broadcast and it has won critical acclaim for its clarity, craftsmanship and individuality. He is now regarded as one of Scotland’s foremost composers. As well as his compositional work Alasdair has been involved with many organisations as a creative producer. He is currently Artistic Director of the St Magnus International Festival and Director of the St Magnus Composers’ Course as well as being Artistic Director of his own ensemble The Assembly Project. He is currently working as a curator for one of SCOT:lands for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.

Find out more about Alasdair on his web site.


St Hilda's College
St Hilda's College

St Hilda’s, one of the more recently established colleges of Oxford University, is located on the banks of the River Cherwell, opposite the Botanic Gardens and the Magdalen Bridge. The Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, the first purpose built concert hall in Oxford since the time of Handel, is located within the college grounds and accommodates the composers’ masterclass and allcomers’ orchestral and quintet sessions, chamber groups and evening concerts.


Fees range from £440 for a day visitor to, for example, £675 for half board in a single occupancy room with washbasin to £765 for full board in an ensuite room. There are a limited number of bursaries for full time students offering £120 off the full price. This means that full time students can attend for as little as £320. Many colleges have funds to cover such course fees.

The course is limited to eight composers and has been over-subscribed in recent years.

To book, please complete the application form below

Any questions? Contact chris@coma.org in the first instance.

Application formdocx
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