Adopt a Composer scheme

The Adopt a Composer scheme pairs member groups with composers for one year, with each pair working collaboratively to create a unique new work.

What is Adopt a Composer?

Adopt a Composer pairs leisure time choirs, orchestras, and ensembles with an up and coming composer for one year. The composer has the opportunity to get to know a performing group and write a piece especially for them to premiere. The group has the chance to contribute to the creation of a new work by some of the UK’s most promising composers. Pieces that are composed are usually around ten minutes long (as a very rough approximation) and are usually written to work around your existing repertoire and schedule. 

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

It was a challenging but very worthwhile experience! It pushed our boundaries, which is what we like to do, and having the opportunity of the BBC to record us was absolutely wonderful!

La Nova Singers - paired with Ed Scolding in 2015/16

What are the benefits for our group?

  • A new piece of repertoire tailored to the strengths and personality of the group
  • A working relationship with a skilled and committed composer
  • The opportunity to be recorded for BBC Radio 3, for possible broadcast on national radio
  • An understanding of the collaborative process of creating new music and the knowledge to undertake this again independently
  • A Group Development Day in January for the MD and another member of the group to attend
  • A new and exciting experience, in which 95+ Making Music groups have now participated

What really came home to me was the fantastic working relationship between Sarah our MD and Gaynor. They were buzzing. They had such confidence in each other. Speaks volumes for the quality of communication behind the scenes as well as for the huge professionalism that is going into this project....It's a privilege to be part of this creation!

Christine Bethune, oboist with Edinburgh Concert Band – paired with Gaynor Barradell for 2017/18

How does it work?

Following the application process, your group will be paired with an up-and-coming composer for the year during which the composer (mentored by an experienced professional) will write a new piece specifically tailored to your group. 

The composer costs, fees for the mentoring composer, and all expenses related to the placement of the composer will be paid by the PRS Foundation. The only costs to participating member groups will be the allocation of sufficient rehearsal and performance time.

The composer retains all rights to the score. 

The process (guide only):

  • 22 September: pairings announced at launch event (London)- meet your composer!
  • November: your group hosts a workshop introducing the composer to your members
  • January: you and your composer workshop/rehearse the pieces in progress
  • January: you attend our Development Day to meet other participating groups and share ideas and learnings
  • February - April: rehearsing of the draft piece
  • May - September: premiere concert (usually recorded for a broadcast on BBC Radio 3)

How to apply

Applications  for the 2018-19 projects are now closed. Applications for next year will open in March 2019.

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 (

Before completing this form ensure that your group satisfies the following criteria:

  • Music Director and group members are enthusiastic and able to commit to get involved in the composition process over the whole course of the project.
  • Able to arrange time in your schedule to develop, rehearse and perform a new piece in the 2018/19 season (please see above).
  • Is a member of Making Music. (If you are not currently a member, please contact the Making Music office - 020 7939 6030 - to find out about joining).

Please note: you will need to include a short supporting statement from your MD/Conductor in the form below.

Adopt a Composer Group application form

Your details
Group information

What is your expected performing membership during the 2018/2019 season?

E.g. choirs should state 'SATB' or 'SSAATTBB' etc. and the size of each section; or orchestras should state '2222: 2431: strs and perc' etc.

Member demographics

Please indicate roughly the percentage of your membership falling into the following age ranges:

<18 yrs*18 - 35 yrs*36 - 50 yrs*50+ yrs*
Rehearsals and performances
Supporting statement from Conductor/Music Director

In a maximum of 250 words please outline why you (the Conductor/Music Director) wish to take part in this project, and what performance and rehearsal opportunities you could provide for your adopted composer and your group:

Supporting statement from other group member

In a maximum of 250 words please outline how the project would be beneficial to your group:

Privacy statement

We will use the information you provide in this form to assess your application and communicate with you about your application. This will include passing the information to the Adopt a Composer mentors and our partner organisations; Sound and Music and the PRS Foundation. The information will not be used for any other purpose. 

This application is submitted on behalf of the Committee of the music group. Please tick the box below to confirm that the committee/chair of the group is in support of this application and that the supporting statements above are from the named contacts.