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 and the Philip and Dorothy Green Trust, 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):

  • 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.

The Adopt a Composer project matches vocal and instrumental leisure-time music groups with some of the UK’s most promising composers to collaborate on creating a new piece of music. The project leads to a première performance and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. If you’re a music group or composer and you’d like to take part, find out more.