About the Brian May Scholarship


The Brian May Scholarship was established under the Will of the late Brian May, one of Australia’s greatest film composers, who passed away on April 25, 1997.  Brian May was passionate about supporting and promoting the art of film composition in Australia.

The Scholarship assists promising Australian film composers (ordinarily resident in Australia) to study film scoring at an overseas educational institution.  The Trustees for the Scholarship have been given the power to choose an education programme which fulfils Brian May’s stated wishes in his Will.

The Trust offers a scholarship to study for a two year Master of Music in Music Theory and Composition – Scoring for Film and Multimedia Degree at NYU Steinhardt in New York City.

This Master of Music Degree provides a broad based curriculum and intensive professional training in film scoring, combining music theory, practice and industry.

It is intended that the Brian May Scholarship will be awarded every two years subject to economic conditions and demand.

Scholarship Value - 2020-2022

The Scholarship value and method of payment are determined by the Trustees in their absolute discretion under the Will of the late Brian May.

The value of the 2020-2022 Scholarship is not a fixed amount but will be sufficient to pay all tuition and related fees for the successful candidate to undertake the degree of Master of Music in Composition – Scoring for Film and Multimedia Degree at NYU Steinhardt, over a two year period.  Subject to fee increases and exchange rate fluctuations, the amount is likely to be between AU$90,000.00 and AU$95,000.00.

It must be stressed that the Scholarship will not fully cover the total cost of attending and completing the course.  Living in New York City can be expensive.  Potential applicants must investigate and familiarise themselves with the likely cost of travel, tuition, equipment, books and materials, accommodation and living expenses for the two year duration of the course of study at NYU Steinhardt.

Scholarship Eligibility

1. Applicants must be ordinarily resident in Australia.

The Trustees have determined that, for the purposes of the Scholarship, an applicant will be deemed to be ordinarily resident in Australia if:

(1) the applicant has his or her permanent home in Australia; or
(2) Australia is the country of his or her permanent home not withstanding that he or she is temporarily absent from Australia.
To be considered to be ordinarily resident, applicants must show an overriding element of permanent residence in Australia, to be contrasted with a place where he or she stays only casually or intermittently.

The applicant will be deemed not to be ordinarily resident in Australia if they reside in Australia for a special or non-permanent purpose only.

Australian or foreign citizenship is not necessarily a determining factor.

The Trustees will decide in their absolute discretion whether applicants are deemed to be ordinarily resident in Australia based upon evidence provided by them.

2. Applicants must satisfy the requirements of NYU Steinhardt for admission. This will normally require at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition or equivalent.

Applicants must satisfy themselves about entry requirements by visiting the relevant website http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/scoring and the following pages.  Enquiries can be sent to Dr Ron Sadoff, Director of Film Scoring, at ron.sadoff@nyu.edu.

3. The successful applicant will also need a valid passport, an F-1 student visa to the United States and­­­ a completed non-immigrant visa application

4. International students on student visas must be registered as full time students with NYU Steinhardt. Applicants must make those arrangements directly with the Office for International Students and Scholars. This is an important resource for international students and prospective applicants should visit the website at http://www.nyu.edu/global/visa-and-immigration/.

5. Visa, entry and ETSA (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/) requirements for the USA are stringent and time consuming.  Applicants must ensure they are fully conversant with them and are eligible to enter the USA for this course of study.

6. Please note you must hold a current e-Passport.

Application Process

  1. Applicants must complete
    1. a Brian May Scholarship Application, and
    2. a separate course application to be sent directly to NYU Steinhardt.
  2. It is emphasised that applicants cannot be considered unless they have completed and lodged both
  3. There are separate application criteria for the Brian May Scholarship and NYU Steinhardt.
  4. Application for admission to NYU Steinhardt must be made directly to NYU Steinhardt and applicants are responsible for meeting all of the relevant requirements.
  5. The Brian May Scholarship Application must be made directly to the Trustees and applicants must attach a copy (not the original) of the NYU Steinhardt Application Form (not accompanying materials).
  6. Applicants must attach to their NYU Steinhardt Application a Letter of Authority, which is set out at the end of the Brian May Scholarship Application form.
  7. The Trustees are not in a position to assist or advise on any of the requirements of NYU Steinhardt for this course.

Selection Procedure

1. Brian May Scholarship Application

This Application will be reviewed by the Trustees to ensure that the applicant understands, meets and commits to the wishes and intentions of Brian May in establishing the Scholarship under his Will.

The matters to be considered include:

  1. appropriate academic qualifications;
  2. background in and commitment to film scoring, particularly as part of the Australian film and music scene;
  3. interests and ambitions: how would the Scholarship contribute to the applicant’s aspirations?
  4. knowledge of the benefactor, Brian May, and his works;
  5. Australian residential qualifications;
  6. the applicant’s references;
  7. any other matter the Trustees consider relevant.

A copy of the NYU Steinhardt Application (not accompanying materials) must be lodged with the Brian May Scholarship Application.

2. NYU Steinhardt Application

All properly completed NYU Steinhardt applications will be reviewed by the University in accordance with its normal procedures.

3. Selection

The University will choose and recommend to the Trustees its preferred candidate.  Provided the Trustees are satisfied that the nominee meets all of the requirements of the Scholarship, they will confirm the selection and notify the successful candidate.

[Note:  candidates will not be notified by NYU about the Scholarship award.]

Award and Acceptance

  1. The Trustees will notify the successful applicant (the “awardee”) in writing of their selection.
  2. On notification of the Scholarship award, the awardee must then provide the Trustees with written acceptance of the Scholarship within fourteen (14) days.
  3. Written acceptance will be in a form prepared by the Trustees and forwarded to the awardee.
  4. Once the Trustees have received the awardee’s written acceptance, the Trustees will notify NYU Steinhardt that the Scholarship has been awarded. The University will then confirm the placement offer directly to the awardee who must complete all of the University’s entrance procedures and requirements.
  5. The awardee must also complete all immigration and security requirements through the US Consulate (presently in Sydney). This may require the awardee to personally attend the Consulate.
  6. The Trustees at all times reserve the right to withdraw the Scholarship from an awardee in their absolute discretion should the awardee:
    1. not enrol in the NYU Steinhardt programme;
    2. fail to achieve satisfactory results in the course of study (see (6));
    3. commit an offence under Australian, US or other laws which the Trustees consider to be detrimental to the Trust (see (9) & (10));
    4. be in breach of the Scholarship Terms and Conditions set out in the Application Form.

Prior Awardees

Anton Koch – 2003-2004 Scholarship

Geoffrey Russell – 2005-2006 Scholarship

Nicole Brady – 2010-2012 Scholarship

Joe Twist – 2012-2014 Scholarship

Nicholas Buc – 2014-2016 Scholarship

Pru Montin – 2016-2018 Scholarship

Ben Heim – 2018-2020 Scholarship