Latest lineup for Adopt a Composer promises exciting new music

Unique scheme uniting emerging composers and amateur music groups returns for its 19th year.

Adopt a Composer, the year-long project run by Making Music in partnership with Sound and Music, pairs leisure-time vocal and instrumental music groups with some of the UK’s most promising composers to work together to create a brand new piece of music. 

Now in its 19th year, this unique scheme offers amateur musicians the chance to work directly with a professional composer, and to be actively involved in the creative process. Composers in turn have the chance to form a close working relationship with their group, allowing them to develop a piece in response to a group’s personality and interests, with the project culminating in a premiere performance and recording.

Since it began in 2000, Adopt a Composer has produced over 100 new commissions, creating hugely diverse works and exciting peformances, from a piece based on the experience of a bike ride across Edinburgh to a choral work based on composer Clara Schuman. Composers receive guidence from an established team of mentors (Colin Riley, David Horne, Emily Crossland, Fraser Trainer and Jenni Pinnock) with many going on to national and international success.

Selected pairings for 2019/20 showcase the breadth and vibrancy of the UK’s leisure-time music scene, ranging from choirs and brass bands to folk orchestras and youth improvising groups. 

Hannah Bujic, Co-Head of Artist Development, Sound and Music, says:

Sound and Music is thrilled to be partnering with Making Music again on Adopt a Composer. It’s a unique and challenging programme, which can forge deep and lasting relationships between the composers and groups, making it an unrivalled development opportunity for composers. We’re excited to see what comes of this year’s pairings as they start the creative process together.

Barbara Eifler, Chief Executive of Making Music, says:

Adopt a Composer’s popularity shows the leisure-time music sector’s appetite for new music and for their own artistic development. It is the leisure-time music sector which pioneers many living composers in every corner of the UK and this programme supports that leisure-time ambition excellently.

Adopt a Composer is run by Making Music in partnership with Sound and Music, and is funded by the PRS Foundation and Philip and Dorothy Green Trust. Funding for the Rural Scotland Project is provided by Creative Scotland.

The selected pairings for 2019-20 are as follows:

Alex Paxton with Haslingfield Choir (Cambridgeshire)

- Alex Paxton is a winner of the Leverhume Art Scholar and Harriet Cohen Memorial Awards. A jazz trombonist, he has written for groups including Ensemble Modern, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, RSNO and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

- Haslingfield Choir is a mixed-voice, unauditioned choir in South Cambridgeshire. The choir is supported by a 40-piece orchestra and regularly works with local schools to introduce young people to the joys of choral singing.
Carmel Smickersgill with Junior LCoM Ensemble Creative (Yorkshire)

- Carmel Smickersgill is a graduate of the RNCM and winner of the Liverpool Philharmonic’s 2019 Christopher Brooks Prize. Previous commissions include works for the Manchester Renaissance Ensemble and Galvanize Ensemble.

- The Junior LCoM Ensemble Creative is a flexible ensemble featuring students and tutors from the Junior Leeds College of Music. Players are capable improvisers drawn from a wide array of musical backgrounds. 

Claire Victoria Roberts with Camden Symphony Orchestra (London)

- Claire Victoria Roberts has composed for artists including the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Zubin Kanga, and the Pspappha ensemble. She studied music at Oxford University, has an MMus in violin performance from the RNCM and a PhD in composition from Bangor University.

- The Camden Symphony Orchestra is one of London’s leading leisure-time orchestras with around 70 regular players. Under conductor Levon Parikian, the orchestra seeks to combine staple classical and romantic repertoire with less well-known and more challenging works.

Jonathan Brigg with Sussex Folk Orchestra (Sussex)

- Jonathan Brigg is a conductor and pianist working as a repetiteur for the ENO Baylis programme. His music draws on classical, jazz and pop music and has been performed by artists including the Stoop Quartet and LPO Future Firsts. 

- The Sussex Folk Orchestra is a group of musicians who meet to play traditional and contemporary folk from around the world. Instruments include guitars, mandolins, violins, accordions, recorders, flutes and a cello. 

Rob Jones with The Edge Chamber Choir (West Midlands)

- Rob Jones studied at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. A saxophonist and composer, his compositions range from opera and puppet theatre to staged works, orchestral and chamber music. 

- The Edge Chamber Choir is a mixed-voice auditioned choir based in Ludlow. Formed in 2014, the group specialises in performances of 20th and 21st century works and has a reputation for innovative and exciting programming. 

Laura Shipsey with City of Bristol Brass Band (Bristol)

- Laura Shipsey studied composition at Durham University and completed her Masters at Cardiff University. She is a Britten Pears Young Artist and has written for the Aldworth Philharmonic, Cambridge Heidelberg Montpellier Youth Orchestra, and the Ligeti Quartet. 

- City of Bristol Brass Band was formed in 1936 as Fishponds British Legion Band. A prize-winning ensemble, the band gives performances across the South West and also run a thriving training band. 

Rural Scotland project – Aileen Sweeney with Helensburgh Oratorio Choir (Scotland)

- Aileen Sweeney graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a BMus in classical accordion and is currently studying for an MMus in composition. Her cross-genre compositions are influenced by jazz and Scottish folk. 

- The Helensburgh Oratorio Choir have been entertaining audiences of rural Argyll, Stirling, the Clyde estuary and Glasgow Suburbs for fifty-six years. The choir’s repertoire ranges from Purcell to Todd, covering classical, jazz and opera genres.


For more information contact

Making Music, 8 Holyrood Street, London SE1 2EL
020 7939 6030
Twitter: @MakingMusic_UK
Instagram: @makingmusicuk

Making Music, The National Federation of Music Societies
A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales no. 308632
Registered Charity in England and Wales no. 249219 and in Scotland no. SC038849

Notes to editors

Since 1935, Making Music has championed leisure-time music groups across the UK with practical services, artistic development opportunities and by providing a collective voice for its members. We now represent over 3,700 groups made up of around 190,000 musicians of all types, genres and abilities. We help them run their group so they can get on with making music!

Sound and Music is the national charity for new music in the UK. Their mission is to maximise the opportunities for people to create and enjoy new music. Their work includes composer and artist development, partnerships with a range of organisations, audience development, touring, information and advice, network building, and education. They champion new music and the work of British composers and artists, and seek to ensure that they are at the heart of cultural life and enjoyed by many.



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