Application for the Australian Music Foundation Awards

Since 1975, the Australian Music Foundation has been supporting young Australian classical musicians, conductors and composers in furthering their studies overseas. We support study in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Visit our Current Awardees and Alumni pages to see some of our success stories.

Applications for 2019 have now closed.

Online applications closed on 7 May.

Awards will be granted in October following two rounds of auditions - the First Round by online video audition in April, followed by the live Final Auditions held in the historic Duke’s Hall at the Royal Academy of Music in London in mid-October. If you are not able to attend the Finals in London, an award will be considered on the strength of your initial video audition or on new video material, at the judging panel's discretion. 

2020 Awards

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Proposed AMF Jazz Award:

The AMF is considering adding jazz as a new category in the future and would be grateful to hear from any students who are considering applying to study jazz at a college or university in the UK, Europe or USA. Please email AMF administrator, Sally-Ann Shepherdson to register your interest and we will be in touch as and when an award becomes available (click on the name to open a new email).


1. Applicants must be Australian citizens

2. Age Limits:

Applications are open to instrumentalists up to the age of 26, and singers, conductors, accompanists, repetiteurs and composers up to the age of 30 on the application closing date.

3. Postgraduate Study:

The AMF will consider applications from students who have been offered a place on a programme of postgraduate artistic study at a recognised music college, conservatoire or university in the UK, USA or Europe, starting in the next academic year.

The AMF will also accept applications from postgraduate students currently resident abroad, who are already part-way through a postgraduate programme of artistic study in the UK, USA or Europe, and who wish to apply for an award to help them complete their course.

4. Undergraduate Study:

The AMF will consider applications from undergraduates who are currently resident abroad, and already part-way through an  undergraduate programme of artistic study in the UK, USA or Europe, and who wish to apply for an award to help them complete their course. We are not able to accept undergraduate applications for the first year of study abroad.

5. Private Study Plan:

The AMF will consider applications from students who require funds to pay for private tuition, language courses, specialist courses and masterclasses, towards the purchase of musical instruments, travel costs or other items that the adjudication panel believe will make a contribution to the applicant’s musical development while studying abroad. Applicants will be asked to submit a study plan, outlining their intended activities and the costs involved.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the aim of the AMF Awards programme?

The aim of the AMF award programme is to assist young Australian classical musicians of exceptional ability, financial need, and potential to pursue their musical education overseas. Awards are given on the basis of merit and need, for the pursuit of specific activities. These may include one or more of the following:

• contributing towards fees for a course of study at an overseas music institution with an outstanding international reputation

• contributing to maintenance costs during a full-time course of study at an overseas music institution of outstanding reputation

• paying for private tuition, language courses, purchase of musical instruments, travel costs or other items that the adjudication panel believe will make a contribution to the applicant’s musical development while studying abroad.

The final purpose of any award will be as agreed between the panel and the applicant, with possible additional conditions at the panel's discretion. Awards must be used for the purpose for which they are given, and awardees will be required to provide evidence of this. The majority of AMF Awards will be paid in Australian Dollars into an Australian bank account.

Where do I obtain copies of the application form?

Applications are now made online. The registration form will only be 'live' on the website during the four week application window each year. A sample application form is available here, so that you can familiarise yourself with the information required. Those who have subscribed above for information about the awards, will be informed when the applications window is open and the online forms are available. 

What recording medium is acceptable for my application?

AMF now only accepts video audition files, apart from composers who may submit audio files. Please see the Video Guidelines below for more information. Applicants should ensure that the quality of the recording itself is as good as possible, as this is a crucial element in the assessment of applications, and that the recording is made in an environment suitable to your voice or instrument.

What repertoire should I include in my audition recordings?

This is entirely up to the applicant, but it is expected that the repertoire should be varied, to demonstrate the applicant’s strength in a range of repertoire from different periods and styles. The videos must show the applicant playing/singing as a soloist with or without accompaniment, but not as part of an ensemble, unless they are the featured soloist in the group (composers, conductors, accompanists, repetiteurs and organists, please see below). The audition material should not include more than one movement from a particular sonata or concerto. Please do not submit videos of outdoor performances or anything with amplified sound. Three to four tracks may be submitted with a total length of no more than 25 minutes for all recordings. Each piece should be on a separate video. A single recording should be no more than 15 minutes in length. 

Do I need to submit references? 

Yes. The names of two referees are required on the application form. They should both be distinguished members of the profession, such as your current or previous teacher, head of department or similar. The written references should date from within the same year as the application they apply to, and should be emailed by the referees to AMF Administrator Sally-Ann Shepherdson before the closing date, either typed within the body of an email, or on headed paper and signed, then attached to an email. References must be sent directly by the referee and NOT via the candidate, otherwise they will not be accepted.

Is there any fee for entry?

We charge a £10 application fee for your entry, to cover the 3rd party administration costs we incur. This is payable by Paypal via the online application form.

I am a Composer - how should I apply?

Composers should apply using the standard form, and provide pdf files of their scores, as well as audio recordings of their compositions. On the application form, please provide links to audio files on SoundCloud or Dropbox, and links to pdfs of the scores in Dropbox. Composers may send in video links via YouTube if they have performance videos of any of their compositions. If there is not enough space on the form to include links to your scores, please email them to
In the event that a composer should progress to the Finals, they will be judged on their first round, or new, video material by the same panel.

I am a Repetiteur - how should I apply? 

This new category was added in 2016. Repetiteurs should submit audition videos of them playing 2 contrasting opera ensemble scenes, in different languages (approximately 8 -10 minutes each), in which they should sing in as many of the vocal lines as appropriate. They should also present one opera aria in which they are accompanying a singer; all three videos no longer than 25 minutes in total. In the event that a repetiteur progresses to the Finals, they will be judged on their existing or new video material by the same panel. In certain circumstances, it may be possible to arrange a separate, live audition, at the judges' discretion.

I am an Accompanist - how should I apply?

Please submit 3 to 4 videos of you accompanying singers and/or instrumentalists in a variety of repertoire, covering different styles and composers.

I am an Organist - how should I apply?

Due to the technical difficulties and expense of making a video of an organist in an organ loft, while also getting the best sound quality possible in the church or hall, organists may submit audio files if they are not able to be visible in the video, even from a distance. Alongside the audio files, we ask that you get a friend or colleague to video you playing in the organ loft on an iPhone or similar, to prove that it is you performing. Put the audio files into SoundCloud and type the links to these files in the boxes on the application form. Upload your video material as 'unlisted' on YouTube (so that no one else can view it) and send links to these videos by email to, as there may not be room for you to add them to the application form. These videos will not be used to judge your performance; they are only to confirm that it is you playing, therefore the sound quality is not so important. As there may be no organ at the Finals venue, it is likely that an organist who progresses to the Finals will need to be judged on their exisiting or new video/audio files by the same panel. In certain circumstances, it may be possible to arrange a separate, live audition, at the judges' discretion.

I am a Jazz Musician - may I apply?

At present, jazz is not a category which can be accepted for application. The AMF is considering adding jazz as a separate category with its own prize in the future, but does not have the facilities to judge jazz applicants at the moment. You are encouraged to register your interest for this proposed future award and we will contact you as and when it becomes available. Please see note above the 'Regulations' section of this page.

If I am the winner of an award, what obligations do I have to The Australian Music Foundation?

The Australian Music Foundation requires that during your course of study supported by the award, you submit bi-annual reports of your progress to the Foundation, reporting on your activities and use of funds. This includes:

i) An activity report describing the use you have made of the award, and the benefits you have gained from the activity.

ii) A financial report on use of the funds, with supporting evidence.

The Australian Music Foundation also requires that the grant of an AMF award be mentioned in the artist’s biographical materials for the duration of the award and at least 3 years subsequently.

What other benefits are there to being an AMF awardee?

The Australian Music Foundation aims to arrange performing opportunities for its awardees, to support their career development. This will usually include a Prize-Winners' Concert in London, on a date to be announced, giving awardees the opportunity to perform before an invited audience of distinguished guests. The AMF reserves the right not to include every awardee in this event if the logistics of the venue prevent their being able to perform. Other performing opportunities may also arise during the year or subsequently.

The Australian Music Foundation at its discretion also aims to offer its awardees a range of additional non-financial support, including mentoring and careers advice, for as long as they remain in the early phase of their musical careers.

What is the value of an award?

The value of the awards varies from year to year, depending on available funds and the financial circumstances and study plans of the awardees. In addition, there may be other, named awards available, of differing values. Stated values of awards in promotional literature are a guide only. The Australian Music Foundation reserves the discretionary right to vary the amount of any award and to make awards to more than one successful applicant as appropriate.

For how long is an award made?

Australian Music Foundation awards are given for a single financial year only. However, you are entitled to apply for another award, subject to satisfactory completion of the requirements of the previous award, and providing you still meet the eligibility criteria. 

How can I assist The Australian Music Foundation in the future?

The Australian Music Foundation will always wish to stay in touch with its Alumni and would hope that Alumni, having attained a successful professional career, will be willing to support the aims of The Australian Music Foundation and enhance its ability to support new generations of young Australian musical talent.

Video Guidelines

As with any audio audition file, you should create your video audition in the most appropriate surroundings possible for your instrument or voice – for example a studio or concert hall with the appropriate acoustics. No outdoor performances or amplified sound will be accepted. Videos should have been made within the last 12 months prior to the closing date for applications.

Post-production manipulation of the sound quality is strictly forbidden and in any case detrimental to your application – we are looking for the most natural demonstration of your current ability.

YouTube Links. Applicants should upload their videos to YouTube. Please send each audition piece as a separate video. On the Upload page, select 'Public' or 'Unlisted' on the dropdown box. When your video has loaded, you will be given an individual link to your video. Copy and paste these links into the relevant boxes on the Application Form. Please ensure that the name of each video file contains the applicant's full name, plus the composer and title of the piece being performed. 'Unlisted' means that your videos will not be publicly available on YouTube - they will only be visible to the AMF judges and anyone else you choose to send the links to. See for details and help. If you experience any problems, please contact AMF Administrator, Sally-Ann Shepherdson.

Composers should provide links to their audio files on SoundCloud or Dropbox, and links to pdfs of their scores in Dropbox. Composers may send in video links via YouTube if they have performance videos of any of their compositions.

If your files are very large, you can re-encode your video to make the file size smaller without reducing the quality of the video. Details are in the Help section on YouTube, or try free encoding tool, Handbrake.

Venues and production partners

Most universities and conservatories now provide assistance for their students to create audition CDs and DVDs, free of charge. Please contact your current place of study for more details.

For applicants who are not current students, or cannot get assistance from their place of study, there may be recording studios who give discounts for students. 

In Sydney, Music Feeds offer a $50 discount with code AMF, (package price $310 as of 2014)

Fine Music FM in Sydney (and some other cities) have a recording facility with a grand piano and reasonable rates for students. Contact their Young Virtuosi program for more details, mentioning the AMF.

In the UK, the AMF use Orientis Recording Services in Wimbledon, to record the Finals at the Wigmore Hall. Contact Simon Vout at Tel: 020 8286 8320 for details of recording packages for both audio and video.

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