Adopt a Composer project - composers

The project pairs amateur choirs, bands, orchestras or ensembles with up-and-coming composers for 12 months to collaborate and produce a new piece of music, culminating in a premiere performance, a recording and possible radio broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

The project is run by Making Music in partnership with Sound and Music, funded by the PRS Foundation, Philip and Dorothy Green Trust and Creative Scotland.

Composers retain all rights to the score and are mentored by Colin Riley, David Horne, Fraser Trainer, Jenni Pinnock and Emily Crossland with costs and expenses covered by the PRS Foundation.

This opportunity was thoroughly worth applying for and I felt supported at every level from the staff at Making Music, Sound and Music, PRS, my mentor and the ensemble I worked with. It has been incredibly rewarding and humbling to have such considerate and caring musicians around me throughout the process and I will be whole-heartedly encouraging my own students to apply in future. - Mark Boden, paired with Croydon Bach Choir 2016/17

The process

  • 1 August: applicant interviews (London)
  • 7 September: pairings announced at launch event (London) - meet your group!
  • October - December: the group hosts a workshop introducing you to their members
  • December - February: you and your group workshop/rehearse the pieces in progress
  • February - April: further workshops and rehearsing of the draft piece
  • May - December: premiere concert (recorded for possible broadcast on BBC Radio 3)

It has been a real journey of discoveries where I have learnt new and fundamental things which will support me throughout my career. - Adriano Adewale, paired with Horsham Symphony Orchestra 2016/17

Who else is involved?

Each pairing will be appointed with a mentor who will be there in the initial meetings when the composer and performing group are getting to know each other. They act as a source of ongoing advice to both composer and group as the work is composed, in musical and practical terms.

The mentor will be somebody who is experienced in this field. They will attend sessions with the composer and be available for e-mail and telephone contact.

FAQs for composers

Is there an age limit for composers applying?

There are no age requirements for this project. See the criteria on the online application form below.

I have composed using software including Logic X and FL Studio but I’m not classically trained, can I still apply?

You need to have had some experience of working with other musicians or groups using free composition. If you haven’t yet had experience of working with and composing for others, you’ll need to gain more experience before applying.

I don’t write classical music. Is it worth me applying?

We are not necessarily looking for classical composers. Our groups cover all genres including jazz, folk, samba, pop and more. We’ve also previously had successful collaborations between classical groups and non-classical composers.

In the application form, I have to list the groups I've worked with in the last two years. Can I include any soloists?

Yes you can list soloists. However as the Adopt a Composer project pairs the composers with groups, it’s more relevant  to your application to tell us which ensembles you have worked with.

An orchestra is interested in commissioning a piece from me but as they are an amateur group, they do not have the funds. Would it be possible for the group and I to choose to be paired with each other on the project if we are both successful applicants?

Unfortunately not – the idea of the project is to create fresh pairings between groups and composers who have not met before. Prospective composers and groups apply separately and we pair them especially for the project, so it won’t be possible to nominate a group.

I have just sent off my application and have realised that the link to a piece of my music is not working - what can I do?

Just email the project manager Sally Palmer at sally@makingmusic.org.uk  with the correct link and she will add it to your application.

I just applied to the Adopt a Composer project using the online form but have not received an email confirmation, how do I know you have received it?

When you submit the online form you get a confirmation message on screen so you know that it has been submitted. If you do not see the message, there are probably errors on the form which have prevented it from being submitted. Have a look at the form again and you should be able to see notes as to what these errors are and how to fix them. We also send an email confirmation a few days later; if you don’t receive this email please get in touch with us to check we have received your application.

When will I find out if my application has been successful?

In early July, if your application is shortlisted we will ask you to provide a score you feel best illustrates your ability to write for groups. We might contact you after this, to invite you to interview on 1 August or to discuss your application further. Unfortunately, due to the high number of applicants we’re not able to contact everyone, so if you haven’t heard anything by the end of July 2019, please consider your application unsuccessful.

I am not available for the interview date in London, is there any alternative?

If you’re not available in person, we can arrange a Skype or telephone interview on that date, but we will not be able to offer you an interview at another time.

I am unable to attend the launch on 7 September as I’m aboard, is it still worth me applying?

Your unavailability to attend the launch won’t affect your application. If you’re chosen it would be a shame not to meet you group at the launch, but we can arrange a separate meeting.

Financial info

Fees for the composer and mentoring composer and all expenses related to the placement of the composer will be paid by the project. Travelling expenses for scheduled visits to London will be paid for via Making Music/Sound and Music – details are provided on the launch day. 

The composer retains all rights to the score. 

How to apply

To apply to take part, complete and submit the online form at the link below. If you would prefer to complete the application form as a Word doc, have any other accessibility issues or if you have any further questions, please contact Sally Palmer (sally@makingmusic.org.uk).

Apply now

The deadline for applications is 5pm Monday 17 June 2019. Applications received after this date will not be considered.