London's Calling Composer Kirsten Strom!

$1,230 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 15 people in 4 months
Created February 14, 2019
Kirsten has been accepted to a prestigious music school in London, but needs your help to get there.

Each year only 6 students worldwide are accepted to the Royal Academy of Music's Master of Music in Composition to complete a two-year master's degree. It is a huge honor to be accepted to one of the top music schools in the world, but living costs and international fees are high, and the New Zealand-British pound exchange rate is not kind.

Please help Kirsten take this great opportunity to advance her career and calling as a composer.

About Kirsten

Kirsten Strom is a young composer and conductor from Auckland, New Zealand. Her work has been performed internationally, commissioned, and aired on national radio. Her current interests include mixed media, work with a conscience and the complex beauty of nature.

Listen: Kirsten's piece Ice performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and recent interview on Radio NZ

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Reward Levels

To thank you for your wonderful donations

$1-50: 1 digital track 

$50-$100: 3 digital tracks 

$100-$350: Digital EP

$350+ Digital EP (with 2 bonus tracks)

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Read on: A Whirlwind Journey…

In 2017 Kirsten was named the Young Composer-in-Residence with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for 2018.

Her commission 'Wake-Up Call' for orchestra and smartphones received enthusiastic responses under the deft batons of Ray Chan and Tianyi Lu.

37090118_1550723646728444_r.jpegKirsten with Ray Chan, conductor at world premiere of Wake-up Call, 2018.

Another orchestral work 'Ice' won the Orchestra’s Choice Award in the Todd-New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) Young Composers Awards 2017, aired on national radio, and was workshopped by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in 2016. 

Listen: Kirsten interviewed on Radio New Zealand about winning the Todd New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Orchestra's Choice Award 

Kirsten represented New Zealand in the 2018 Asian Composers League Festival in Taiwan as a programmed composer. Her choral work 'Ktisis' was premiered by Taipei Chamber Singers in the National Theatre and Concert Hall, Taipei.

37090118_1550723877961264_r.jpegKirsten with conductor Yun-Hung CHEN and the Taipei Chamber Singers, 2018

Her music has also been played by chamber groups ACE Brass and Aroha String Quartet, the latter selecting her piece 'Purity' for their recordings in 2015.

In May 2017 she won the Antipodes Percussion Project’s Suitcase Composition Competition and Audience Choice Award with 'Time is Money' for coins.

The Antipodes Percussion Project perform Time is Money, 2017

She has two upcoming premieres with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra - Connecting and the Koru Quintet in 2019.

Read: Feature article – 

Kirsten Strom has also devised and performed live electronics works. In 2018 she was an artist-in-residence for the Estalagem Live Electronics Residency in Madeira. This saw the premiere of ‘Vento’ a new work written for Keiko Murakami. Her work 'WAVEring Lines' was premiered in 2015 and recorded in 2017 by gifted pianist Bradley Wood and producer Irazema Vera. Kirsten continues to undertake cutting-edge research in this fascinating field under Dr John Coulter, with other supervision from astute composers Dr Leonie Holmes, Dr David Chisolm and Dr Eve de Castro-Robinson at the University of Auckland.


Academic Achievements

In May 2018 Kirsten graduated with a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Music in English, French and Composition, a degree that took her an intensive four years. During this time she attained an A average, was added to Dean’s Honours List, and earned a full scholarship for her postgraduate Honours degree. Across her degree she was frequently awarded First in Course Awards, received an encouragement award in composition, was a finalist for Arts Student of the Year, and received three Blues Awards: one for Service and Leadership, co-establishing the SOMSA Recording Project and pro bono community conducting (2016), and two for contribution to Arts and Culture (2017, 2018).

37090118_155072552241935_r.jpegKirsten receiving her second Blues Award for Arts and Culture, 2017

She looks forward to attending the Royal Academy of Music, London for a Master of Music in Composition.

About the Course

The Master of Music in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music is a highly competitive programme designed to prepare composers for the industry, building on composers’ skills through intensive projects and classes, workshops, and industry expert consultation.

Their cutting-edge courses are taught by distinguished and prominent composers, and they reflect the realities and challenges for today’s music creator. Academy composers have a wide range of opportunities for performance and recording, and are fully prepared to work in a variety of creative contexts.

Not only this, but its location in London allows students to be at the heart of music-making, on the doorstep to Europe and the world.

37090118_1550725668284167_r.jpegThe Royal Academy of Music has a highly competitive selection process, offering only six places to the program.

The two-year MMus is designed to enable advanced students to develop artistically and technically by means of a cohesive yet contrasting series of commissions, projects and tasks.

Weekly Snapshot:

- 90-minute one-to-one composition tutorial honing compositional craft, imparting practical experience and knowledge
- Contemporary Music Workshop (2h) from score to stage: rehearsal process, practical learning
- Music Technology Class (2h) – Year 1 building industry skills in technology
- Friday Guest Seminar (visiting composers) expanding knowledge, gaining insights
- 4 Projects: workshops with performers for work-in-progress, final rehearsals and concerts
- Orchestration practical real-world skill-building and assessment with industry experts, also conducting elective available for composers

Plus much more: masterclasses, group lessons and one-to-one tutorials with visiting lecturers/composers, regular Academy concerts, concert organization, access to Academy music library


The Costs

The combination of international fees and living expenses in London make costs very high.
Master of Music in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music - 2 year programme
Expenses are annual, and listed in Great British pounds.

International Fees: 26,850 (COVERED by merit-based entry scholarship, Nina Finburgh Award and the Todd Trust) Royal Academy of Music, London

Rent: 13,859.32 (Weekly rent + utilities + signup fee at Goodenough College, London. Closer proximity to the Academy so cuts down transport costs intensely)

Maintenance costs: 8,825.20 (Food, weekly transport from Goodenough College to Royal Academy of Music, phone, toiletries, clothes, setup in new apartment)

Course-related costs - ongoing: 720 (Essential composition software subscriptions, printing money, stationery)

Setup - once only: 1,385 (technology for continually developing and performing live electronics works)

‘Thriving’ costs: 3,500 (meeting with friends, attending concerts, applying for and attending workshops/short courses/opportunities)

Extra travel costs: 3,472 (Tier 4 Student Visa + NHS fee + international NZ-UK travel)

NEW GOAL: £31761.52 (Year 1), £30376.52 (Year 2)

37090118_1550727844185389_r.jpegKirsten formed part of Sirius New Music Ensemble as an improvising vocalist, 2017

Action Plan

Applying for Scholarships (ongoing)
Kirsten has a list of scholarships to apply for at various points of the year. This list is continually growing with research. If you know of any that may help Kirsten, please let us know.

Writing to trusts/foundations for grants (ongoing)
Many of these trusts have allocated funds, set dates for funding rounds, accept applications on an ongoing basis, or are known for supporting the arts. Kirsten is constantly writing letters and keeping an eye out. Again, if you know of any that she should contact, please let us know.

Fundraising Events
There are two fundraising events coming up to help fundraise for Kirsten’s studies.

The first is a ceilidh, a traditional Irish social dance that is easy to pick up and a lot of fun for the community, welcoming all ages. This will take place at Titirangi Memorial Hall on May 18, 2019 at 7pm.

The second event is a concert of her own works, to be held at St Luke's Presbyterian, Remuera-Newmarket on Saturday July 13th at 7:30pm. Entry is $20, with any further donations gratefully received.



Hope to see you there!

37090118_155072772850072_r.jpegKirsten rehearsing West City Youth Concert Band, 2016

Funding Legacy

Kirsten would like to thank a number of organisations for their generous scholarships that have supported her at the University of Auckland to date: Bath Street Arts Trust, Beatrice Ratcliffe Trust, The Trusts Community Foundation, and the University of Auckland Postgraduate Scholarship for her A average throughout her undergraduate degree. Also to the Todd Arts Trust for funding her trip to Taiwan where she represented New Zealand in the Asian Composers League 2018.

Kirsten also earned a merit-based entry scholarship from the Royal Academy of Music, which will help to reduce her fees.

UPDATE: Kirsten just received the Nina Finburgh Scholarship of £15,000 per year! This is extremely beneficial, and Kirsten is very grateful to receive this award.

UPDATE: The Todd Trust has just granted Kirsten $10,000 towards her studies with Royal Academy!

Thank you so much, donors, for your generous support. It means a lot!

Special message from Kirsten:

Thank you
To my wonderful teachers over the years; your words and actions have significantly shaped me as an artist. I could not do this without you. Thank you. To all the amazing musicians I have worked with over the years, thank you for being so incredibly passionate and dedicated to my work. You are some of the most generous people I know, and I am so blessed to have met you. Thank you for breathing life into my music, for your insight, and for your patience, and never making me ashamed of growing. Keep filling the world with music. To my fellow students and friends for keeping me laughing, and being an amazing community. Everyone stay in touch! To my family, for supporting me through thick and thin. I love you, and will miss you more than I can imagine right now. And to my God for creating music, life and everything! God bless you all lots and lots! Xx





Read more:
+ Read More
Dear all,

Crazy amazing news!! Thanks to the Todd Trust, I have now reached all my tuition fees! Just living costs to go!!

Thank you so much to everyone who has given so far! I truly appreciate it. Do share if you can! To those of you who haven’t, please remember to send me your email so I can give you digital tracks as a thank you.



Ceilidh fundraiser coming up!!! Family friendly, super fun, entry level community dance, taught as you go. May 18 – please share with your friends!!


A concert of my works is now confirmed! Put it in your calendar quick!!

Saturday 13 July 7:30pm
St Luke’s Presbyterian
Auckland, New Zealand
$20 + donation

Huge thanks to my wonderful, generous performers, who are both professionals and high-level students.

As a sneak peek, two of the original NZTrio have agreed to play this piece… I will leave you to guess who!

Other CRAZY news of the month! -

My piece will be performed and recorded by the NZSO and RNZ Concert this July!

Also, my short story ‘Eye Contact’ is being published in The Best Small Fictions in the USA!

The University of Auckland Student Support Fund offered me a grant towards my attendance as a Composer Fellow for Etchings Festival in France! Thank you!

(In case you missed it, RNZ article here - )

And fresh from this morning, my work ‘Moodscenes’ will be performed this June as part of the Risuonanze Festival 2019 in Italy!

Crazy things are happening!!

Please continue to share, and remember those emails! (P.S. Please come to the ceilidh or concert! Okay, I’ll stop plugging…)

Thank you all once again for your support. It means a lot!

Keep being fantastic!

God bless you lots and lots!

Kirsten Xxx
+ Read More
Hello everyone,

Here is a fresh article from RNZ Concert on my upcoming fellowship with Etchings Festival. Also featuring the wonderful Kaija Saariaho, a mentor for the festival! Super exciting!

Thank you so much for your ongoing support! Please keep sharing!

Have a lovely day!

Kirsten Xxx
+ Read More
Amazing news!! I was just awarded the Nina Finburgh Scholarship, £15000 for two years!! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me so far. <3 An encouraging start! ☺️
+ Read More
Crazy update! Today I will be interviewed live on RNZ National with Jesse Mulligan 2:20pm!!

Listen here:

Thanks for your support!

Kirsten Xxx
+ Read More
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$1,230 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 15 people in 4 months
Created February 14, 2019
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