Adopt a Composer 2014

adopt a composer emerging composer opportunity residency
Deadline: 13 June 2014
Produced by: 
Making Music and Sound and Music

The pairings for 2014 are:

Kirsty Devaney and the Arden Recorder Orchestra, mentored by Colin Riley

Kirsty Devaney

Kirsty Devaney is British composer and Junior Fellow of Birmingham Conservatoire where she studies with Joe Cutler and Howard Skempton. Her music strives to achieve clarity by refining material and focusing on subtle changes in textures.

Working closely with ensembles and musicians is an important aspect of her composing and she has had premieres by a wide range of ensembles such as Orchestra of the Swan, Orkest de Ereprijs, Chroma, Noszferatu, CoMA, Workers Union Ensemble and BCMG. She has been involved in writing music for young and non-professionals for many years and in 2011 was shortlisted for a British Composer Award. 

Kirsty has worked as a freelance composer and workshop leader for organisations such as with THSH Birmingham, In Harmony, CBSO, Sound and Music Summer School and Stratford Literary Festival. She also leads the 'Young Composers Project', an initiative set up by Birmingham Conservatoire to encourage more young people to compose. She has also closely worked with BCMG and lead CPD training sessions for Birmingham Music Service on composing. She has recently gained a research position at Birmingham City University under the supervision of professor Martin Fautley and Janet Hoskyns, investigating composing in secondary school education.




Michael Betteridge and the Cobweb Orchestra, mentored by David Horne

Michael Betteridge

Michael studied at both the University of Manchester, where he was awarded the Hargreaves Prize for composition, and the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM).  His music has been performed in major venues across the UK, as well as abroad, and has been performed and/or work-shopped by celebrated  artists and ensembles.  He is musical director for ‘New Space Productions’ with whom his musical Indigestion has had performances at The Lowry in Salford Quays and at the tete a tete opera festival.

Elsewhere he works alongside composer Jacob Thompson-Bell as ‘Collectives & Curiosities’. The group was selected for the first year of the prestigious London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) Soundhub scheme which saw a year of development of their work before a premiere of an LSO commission.

Recent projects include a site-specific work at Number One Riverside in Rochdale as part of the Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival, a commission from the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra, a workshop of his latest opera, Zoe Trope, as part of Second Movement’sRough for Opera scheme, and acceptance on to the OPUS 2014 scheme with the Britten Sinfonia.

Michael also practises as an animateur having worked for the LSO, BCMG, BBC Philharmonic and Opera North.

Michael Betteridge has since been chosen as 2015 New Voices.

To view Michael's profile click here. If you'd like to know more about Sound and Music's New Voices scheme click here to go to the British Music Collection website.

Anna Braithwaite and the Quirky Choir, mentored by Fraser Trainer

Anna Braithwaite

Anna Braithwaite's work is informed by her years working in multiple, overlapping disciplines: classical singer, cabaret artist, composer. These have all left their mark on her music, rendering it thought-provoking, humourous and unexpected, with a distinctly theatrical nature. This also explains her keen desire, evident in her practice, to dissolve the boundaries between the 'high' and 'low', the rarefied and the vernacular. As a singer, Anna has toured the UK and Europe with Carl Rosa Opera and cabaret act Shoo Shoo Baby, performing at venues such as the Barbican, the Lowery, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Les Salons Geneva and Bar Jeder Vernunft, Berlin. Her latest composition was premiered by the Bergersen Quartet at St Bartholomew the Great in the City of London. Anna grew up in East Kent, then lived and worked in London for two decades until this year, when she 'came home' back east to Folkestone. Anna is currently working on a commission for the Folkestone Fringe to create a site-specific piece about the harbour, which uses the verbatim testimonials of local residents and dignitaries.


Sean DohertySeán Doherty and the Kensington Symphony Orchestra, mentored by Fraser Trainer

Seán (b. 1987) played the fiddle music of his native Derry, Northern Ireland before reading music at St John’s College, Cambridge, after which he completed a PhD in musicology at Trinity College, University of Dublin. In addition to his musicological interests, Seán is a composer; he has won the Feis Ceoil choral composition award three times, the Choir and Organ Magazine composition competition twice, the Jerome Hynes composition competition, the St Giles’s Cathedral Edinburgh composition competition, and the Fragments Composition Award in association with Historic Scotland, and was twice awarded the West Cork Chamber Music Festival's Young Composer Bursary. He was commissioned by the Legacy Trust UK to compose an opera, Number Seven, for the Cultural Olympiad, part of the 2012 London Olympics, with author Carlo Gébler, and was commissioned by Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 to compose his second opera, Totalled, also with libretto by Gébler. In 2014 he was commissioned by Cavan County Council to compose a choral work for the opening of the centre at the UNESCO Geopark with text by the poet Heather Brett for the Cavan County Choir under their director Blanaid Murphy. Seán is a member of the Irish Composers’ Collective, the Association of Irish Composers, and is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland. 

Ailie Robertson and the Jubilate Ladies Choir, mentored by Colin Riley

Ailie Robertson

Ailie Robertson has written for a diverse range of projects, in a variety of styles. Winner of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Composition Prize, The Sofia International Composition Competition and second in the 14th International Oslo Grieg Competition, she has received commissions and awards from Creative Scotland, Enterprise Music Scotland, Culture Ireland, Distil, Celtic Connections and the BBC Performing Arts Fund, along with residencies at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Berwick Sound.

Ailie was nominated 'Composer of the Year' in the Scottish Trad Music Awards, and was recipient of a BBC Performing Arts Fellowship and an MBF Emerging Excellence Award.

She has scored original music for three touring theatre productions and several television and film scores, and her Traditional Spirits Suite was described as “an exquisitely moving little masterpiece” (FRoots).

Her work has been featured on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio Scotland, and her latest release with The Outside Track was awarded the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik 2013. 



Mark Carroll

Mark Carroll and the Strathaven Choral Society, mentored by David Horne

Mark George Carroll writes mostly acoustic music. It often has a strong sense of narrative, and has been described as “exciting”, “sinister”, “humourous”, and “completely original”. His focus is always on creating a moving experience for listeners and an enjoyable and challenging experience for performers. All other concerns are secondary; for Mark, music is simply a set of instructions for recreating these experiences.

Mark’s influences are wide-reaching: Christou, Sciarrino, Kagel and Ligeti stand with not only Shostakovich, Débussy, Satie and Chopin but also Prince, Dave Brubeck and Norwegian black metal. Mark tries to stand back and let all his influences steer the music as they see fit, merging unconsciously into something unique.

Mark is currently academically supervised by Richard Rijnvos, and is particularly interested in Surrealism, the use of space, and the phenomenology of music. When not composing or teaching the cello, Mark is probably trying to find the cafetière, or watching Twin Peaks.

13 June 2014 - Applications now closed

Applications for this year's Adopt a Composer is now closed. We will be annoucing the 2014 pairings soon.

2nd May 2014 - Applications now open 

Adopt a Composer pairs amateur choirs, orchestras, and ensembles with a 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 for Music Foundation and run by Making Music, in association with Sound and Music and BBC Radio 3.

The call is now closed for 2014.

Please visit the Adopt a Composer Blog and Making Music website to read about previous groups and composers involved.


Kirsty Devaney

Michael Betteridge

Anna Braithwaite

Seán Doherty

Ailie Robertson 

Mark Carroll 


Making Music

PRS for Music Foundation

BBC Radio 3

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