Adopt a Composer scheme

The scheme pairs amateur choirs, 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 and a broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

The project is run by Making Music in partnership with Sound and Music, in association with BBC Radio 3, and funded by the PRS Foundation, Philip and Dorothy Green Trust and Creative Scotland.

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

I am currently talking to other choirs about getting another performance. This would mean the world to me, as it is not an understatement to say Adopt a Composer was about the most exciting experience of my life.

Rebecca Dale - paired with Music For Everyone, 2012/13

The process

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

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.

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 below. If you would prefer to complete the application form as a Word doc, or if you have any further questions, please contact Sally Palmer (

The deadline for applications is 5pm Monday 11 June 2018.

Before completing this form ensure that you satisfy the following criteria:

  • At the right point in your career as a composer (entering the profession, but not yet “established”)
  • Not in full time education
  • Based within the UK
  • Can commit in terms of time and travel to the project (project duration is approximately one season i.e. 9-12 months)
  • Can demonstrate an understanding of amateur music groups and of collaborative approaches to composition
  • Preferably have some experience of working with amateur groups, either as a composer, performer, or other.

Shortlisted applicants will be asked to send us an example of a score and if shortlisted further will be invited to attend an interview on 20 August 2018 in London. Successful applicants will be asked to attend the Launch day in London on Saturday 22nd September 2018.

Applicants will also be asked to attend two composer days run by Sound and Music: one in October 2018 and the other in March 2019. Please ensure that you will be available for all of these days. We will inform you of the dates as soon as they have been confirmed.