Note: For the current scheme, please see Adopt a Music Creator.

The Adopt a Composer scheme 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.

This project is funded by PRS for Music Foundation, Philip and Dorothy Green Trust, and Creative Scotland, and it is run by Making Music in association with BBC Radio 3.

Since it began in 2000, Adopt a Composer has produced over 100 new commissions, with many of the composers going on to have success nationally and internationally. It was replaced in 2019 by Adopt a Music Creator.

How did it work?

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

From classical to jazz to folk, the programme was open to composers with an interest in developing their collaborative approaches to composition. Applicants were expected to have some experience of working with leisure-time groups, for example as a composer, performer, or conductor.

Each pairing was appointed with a mentor who acted as a source of ongoing advice to both composer and group as the work is composed, in musical and practical terms. The composers also took part in two skills days run by Sound and Music.

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

You can read more information on the Making Music page for Adopt a Composer.

Read more about the participants

"Now that I’m on the other side of the process I do feel like a much more rounded composer. It has been a big boost for my confidence and I would definitely feel more qualified and excited to approach new projects in the future"
Ben See
paired with Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra (SYO)

"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

Featured composer

Thank you to our funders

This project was run by Making Music UK in association with Sound and Music.


Have a question about this programme? Wondering if this programme is right for you?

Please get in touch:

See also

A white blonde woman workshopping a piece with an ensemble

Adopt a Music Creator is a unique scheme that pairs composers with leisure time music ensembles and groups to collaborate on the creation of a new piece.

Explore Adopt a Music Creator and how to apply

Sharon Gal from New Voices

New Voices is an 18-month programme that supports composers at pivotal stages of their careers to explore new ideas, new sounds and new music, including mentoring and financial grant.

Find out more about New Voices and how to apply

Collage of composer-curator projects

Composer-Curator is a composer-led and curated national touring programme which supports outstanding live and digital music projects and events.

Find out more about Composer-Curator and how to apply