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An annual program for emerging Australian First Nations composers aiming to strengthen capacity and enhance cultural vibrancy through collaboration and the nurturing of talent, First Voices offers participants an AUD$1,500 orchestral music commission along with the opportunity to workshop intensively with MSO First Nations Creative Chair Deborah Cheetham AO, musicians from the orchestra and guest composer mentors.

  • Two positions available each year
  • Entry by application including completed Application Form and Sample Composition
  • Paid orchestral music commission and premiere performance by the MSO in a special showcase
  • Professional development and workshop opportunities with MSO musicians, guest composer mentors and MSO First Nations Creative Chair Deborah Cheetham AO

MSO First Voices is supported by the Ullmer Family Foundation and members of MSO First Nations Giving Circle.


The MSO First Voices program is open to two Australian First Nations composers annually.

Entry requirements

Applications to the inaugural MSO First Voices program in 2022 close on Friday April 1, 2022

Entry to the program is via application including the submission of the Application Form (click on ‘Apply Now’ below for further information) and a Sample Composition. Applications are assessed by a panel including MSO First Nations Creative Chair Deborah Cheetham AO, and MSO musicians and staff.

The intention of the program is to support First Nations composers as they prepare for a diverse range of musical careers. Assessment Criteria include:

  • Potential as a composer of orchestral music
  • Commitment to career path
  • Understanding of the demands of a compositional career
  • Connection with and contribution to culture
  • Openness to growth and learning as a composer

Stay tuned. Sign up.