Welcome to the Vaughan Williams Foundation – one of the foremost sources of funding for recent and contemporary music in the UK
The Vaughan Williams Foundation is a new grant-giving charity which upholds the values and vision of the celebrated composer Ralph Vaughan Williams and his wife Ursula Vaughan Williams.
Our principal aims are to honour RVW’s desire to support his fellow composers, and to help make his own work widely accessible to the general public.
VWF was founded in 2022, 150 years after the composer’s birth, and brings together the two charities originally set up by Ralph (RVW Trust) and Ursula (Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust).
VWF supports the work of British/Irish composers from the last 100 years, as well as projects which further the knowledge and understanding of the life and music of Ralph Vaughan Williams, and of the work of Ursula Vaughan Williams.
We welcome applications from ensembles, organisations and individuals.
VWF also offers annual £6,000 Vaughan Williams Bursaries to postgraduate composition students – applications for the 2023 Bursaries are currently being accepted
READ THE LATEST
Get to know the man and his music
RVW’s wide-ranging correspondence – with family, pupils, fellow composers, conductors and performers – paints an intriguing portrait of the man, as well as providing fascinating insights into his major preoccupations: musical, personal and political.
Our searchable database includes over 5000 annotated transcriptions of his correspondence all available to read online.
Letter of the Day
13 Cheyne Walk
March 3 
Thank you very much for your delightful and informative letter.
I wish I could have heard your performance of my P.S.1 Your analytical programme interested me very much – I didn’t know that I was being “tri-planar”! After all it’s only a very slight extension of our old friends the “added thirds” that we used to learn about in the counterpoint books, but I suppose that, like M. Jourdain I have been talking prose all my life without knowing it.2
I only join issue with you on one point – that is the supposed “rusticity” of the Scherzo – It was far from my mind when I wrote it – To let you into a secret the last two movements have for their material the sketches for a ballet that I was once asked to write but discarded as I found the subject uncongenial.3 It was something about a voice in a wood and the themes of the scherzo were to have been a dance of oofs and goblins and at the end they all run off4 – But don’t say anything about this because I don’t think it a good plan labelling works with programmes. Though a programme may often help the composer and the interpreter may often be helped by making up a programme of his own but not a ready-made one by someone else. Forgive this long rigmarole. It is only a roundabout way of saying Thank you very much. I hope we may meet soon.
R Vaughan Williams
P.S. Your account of Eb Tpt & its tricks v. interesting. I bought a real Eb my self – but I find the trumpet players can fake the “natural” notes.
1. Tovey had conducted a performance of both VW’s and Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphonies by the Reid Symphony Orchestra at the Usher Hall on 24th February 1927.
2. A reference to the well-known remark by M. Jourdain in Molière’s Le Bourgois Gentilhomme Act II sc.4. The programme note was re-published in Tovey’s Essays in musical analysis, II (1935) with additions based on this letter (despite VW’s request not to say anything about his source material). However Tovey misread the word ‘oofs’ as ‘oafs’ and was so quoted by Michael Kennedy in Works of Vaughan Williams p.205.
3. VW had been asked to write music for a ballet, The voice in the wood, to a scenario by Margaret Longman (a singer) and Angela Hubbard (see VWL450). The scenario survives.
4. VW has in mind Mrs Page’s phrase in The Merry Wives of Windsor Act iv sc.4, l.50: ‘… and three or four more of their growth we’ll dress/like urchins, ouphes and fairies, green and white …’. At this time VW was working on Sir John in Love and this passage was incorporated into Act iv sc.i of the opera. See Kennedy, Works of Vaughan Williams, p.205.
5. In his note Tovey discusses the the E-flat trumpet required for the solo in the second movement and the nature of the seventh note (B-flat) in its series of natural harmonics which VW required (see note on this quoted in Catalogue of Works p.90).
His music continues to inspire us. Its incredible breadth of style and outlook seems especially important in our polarised times.
CHRISTOPHER GLYNN, artistic director, Ryedale Festival
Among his acts were countless kindnesses, known only to himself and the persons concerned. He gave continuous encouragement to younger men. He had the dignified humility of a great man, and was utterly unself-seeking.
SIR ARTHUR BLISS, conductor
I cannot stress enough how important this organisation’s work is, what a profound difference it is making, and how it has enabled so many to develop creatively and give new work a platform. Vaughan Williams himself would surely be so proud of this legacy.
ZOE MARTLEW, composer and cellist
It is necessary to know facts, but music will enable you to see past facts to the very essence of things in a way which science cannot do. The arts are the means by which we can look through the magic casements and see what lies beyond.
RVW, letter to the children of Swaffham Primary School, 1958