Birmingham amateur orchestra teams up with professional composer

Unique music scheme unites composers with community orchestras.

A Birmingham orchestra is amongst those chosen to take part in a BBC programme which will see them join forces with a promising young composer. Adopt a Composer, a project linking the UK’s up-and-coming composing talent with its vibrant voluntary music scene, has launched for its 16th year and amongts those taking art are the On The Edge Fusion Youth Orchestra, who will be working with Martin Humpries, a specialist in working with community ensembles.

This unique scheme offers amateur musicians the chance to work directly with a composer, become actively involved in the creative process and contribute to the development of new music. The composer, in return, has the opportunity to form a close working relationship with the ensemble – with the time to respond to the groups personalities and interests; an opportunity not always possible in professional commissions.

Adopt a Composer works exclusively with composers at the start of their careers, giving them crucial real world compositional experience, as well as guidance from established mentors – Colin Riley, Fraser Trainer and David Horne. Since it began in 2000, Adopt a Composer has produced over 89 new commissions, with many of the composers going on to have success nationally and internationally.

The project also gives excellent exposure for both the composers and groups, with recordings of many of the pieces broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

“Adopt a Composer is a lively and challenging project for composers and ensembles alike. It has made a hugely positive impact on the skills and confidence of the many composers who have participated in it over the years. Sound and Music is very proud of its continuing partnership in this unique programme, sais Richard Whitelaw, Director of Programmes, Sound and Music.

“Adopt a Composer’s popularity shows the amateur music sector’s appetite for new music and for their own artistic development. It is the amateur music sector which pioneers many living composers in every corner of the UK and this programme supports that amateur ambition excellently,” added Barbara Eifler, Executive Director, Making Music.

The On The Edge Fusion Youth Orchestra use Birmingham’s musical landscape to shape a new informed sound for the region’s youth community, keeping live music alive and current.They fuse a range of Western and non-Western instruments and popular music styles with the jazz tradition.

Adopt a Composer is run by Making Music in partnership with Sound and Music, the national agency for new music, in association with BBC Radio 3, and funded by PRS For Music Foundation and the Philip and Dorothy Green Music Trust. For the first time this year Creative Scotland has provided additional funding for a Scottish project.