Society for the Promotion of New Music

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The Society for the Promotion of New Music (SPNM), originally named The Committee for the Promotion of New Music, was founded in London by Francis Chagrin,[1] in January 1943, with the intention of promoting the creation, performance and appreciation of new music by young and unestablished composers.[2][3][4] It was a membership organization which sought to find the best new composers and to help support their careers, especially in the UK.

Ralph Vaughan Williams agreed to become president of the newly formed Committee for the Promotion of New Music, with the proviso that it "avoid all cliques [and] give a welcome to all good work in whatever style or school".[3] Other committee members were Arthur Bliss as vice-president, and Francis Chagrin described as the committee's "organizer and chief moving spirit".[2] Its initial activities, which were subsidized by the wartime Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts and by private donations from Vaughan Williams and Bliss among others, remained the basis for much of its subsequent work: "recommended lists" of works were drawn up, which resulted in increased broadcasting by the BBC and in several recordings of "recommended list" works, issued in the 1940s on 78rpm discs by Decca.[3][4]

By October 1951, a draft amended Constitution had been pre­pared, leading to the inaugural meeting of the Society for the Promotion of New Music on 27 May 1952.[4]

On 1 October 2008, the SPNM merged with the British Music Information Centre (BMIC), the Contemporary Music Network and the Sonic Arts Network to create a new organisation to promote contemporary Music in the UK called Sound and Music.[5]

From 1993 SPNM awarded the annual Butterworth Prize for Composition[6] (there are also Butterworth Prizes for Law and for Literature).


  1. ^ "Projects:Francis Chagrin Awards". Sound and Music. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Carner, Mosco (October 1945), "The Committee for the Promotion of New Music", The Musical Times: 297, doi:10.2307/934638 
  3. ^ a b c Payne, Anthony. "Society for the Promotion of New Music", Grove Music Online, Oxford University Press, retrieved 15 June 2014. (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b c Adamson, Peter (December 1993). "The Committee for the Promotion of New Music: a 50th birthday look at an early recording venture". Hillandale News (195): 355–372, 374–376. 
  5. ^ "On Sound and Music". ISSUU. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  6. ^ 'News Section', in: Tempo, No. 186 (Sep., 1993), p. 63