Meet the Adopt a Composer pairings for 2019/20

Haslingfield Choir
Monday 9th September
Produced by: 
Sound and Music in partnership with Making Music

The year-long Adopt a Composer project matches vocal and instrumental music groups from the vibrant leisure-time music scene with some of the UK’s most promising composers, culminating in a première performance and potential broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

This unique scheme challenges both music groups and composers to work together to create a brand new piece of music.

Adopt a Composer is run by Making Music in partnership with Sound and Music and funded by PRS For Music Foundation and the Philip and Dorothy Green Music Trust. It works exclusively with composers at the start of their careers, giving them crucial ‘real world’ compositional experience, as well as guidance from skilled mentors.

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.

Hannah Bujic, Co-Head of Artist Development, Sound and Music said:

"It’s fantastic to be welcoming a new cohort of composers and groups to Adopt a Composer. These collaborations are always fascinating to see develop and flourish, often resulting in truly unique works. We’re looking forward to supporting the composers and their partnerships in this stimulating and challenging programme."

Barbara Eifler, Chief Executive of Making Music said:

“Adopt a Composer’s popularity shows the leisure-time music sector’s appetite for new music and for their own artistic development. It is the leisure-time music sector which pioneers many living composers in every corner of the UK and this programme supports that leisure-time ambition excellently."

We are delighted to announce this year's Adopt-a-Composer pairings below:

Claire Victoria Roberts and Camden Symphony Orchestra

Originally from South West Wales, Claire studied music at Oxford University supported by a Choral Scholarship. Thanks to funding from the Thomas and Elizabeth Williams trust, she went on to complete an MMus in Violin Performance at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Awarded the prestigious Parry Williams prize, Claire embarked upon a composition PhD at Bangor University. She has written for BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Zubin Kanga, Anne Denholm, Gary Farr (BBC Philharmonic), The Fidelio Trio, O Duo percussion ensemble, Oliver Coates, Simon Desbruslais, and Psappha ensemble.

In addition to composing, Claire is violinist-vocalist with the UK's No.1 Western Swing Band 'The Swing Commanders'. She contributes regularly to Music Teacher Magazine and has written reviews for Early Music Magazine.

Camden Symphony Orchestra is one of London's leading non-professional orchestras. They have been a mainstay of musical life in north London for nearly forty years with around seventy regular players. Under Musical Director Levon Parikian, CSO seeks to combine the familiar staples of the classical and romantic repertoire with less well-known and more challenging works. They rehearse on a weekly basis and perform three major orchestral concerts a year.


Carmel Smickersgill and Junior LCoM Ensemble Creative

Carmel is a Manchester based composer. She is the recipient of the 2019 Christopher Brooks prize with the Liverpool Philharmonic, resulting in a commission for ensemble 10/10 for November 2019. Currently she is the performer/ composer with SWIM, a new theatre production.
Previous commissions include Manchester Renaissance Ensemble, Manchester Peace Song Cycle, Brighter Sound and Galvanise Ensemble.

Her music has also been performed on Radio 3. As a performer Carmel currently performs the original score for SWIM the theatre production, as well as with multiple bands. She has previously been part of a collaboration between visual artist Liam Gillick and the band New Order. Having graduated from the RNCM, Carmel studied composition with Gary Carpenter.

Ensemble Creative are a flexible ensemble featuring students and tutors from Leeds College of Music Junior LCoM. The ensemble was formed in 2017, and were invited to compose and perform a new hour-long work at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, funded by The Michael Tippett Musical Foundation. The players are capable improvisers and come from a wide array of musical backgrounds. 


Rob Jones and The Edge Chamber Choir 


Rob Jones (b. 1993) is a composer and saxophone player from the UK. He completed studies at Birmingham Conservatoire (UK) and the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague (NL). His work as a composer has ranged from opera (Opera Forward Festival 2018, Amsterdam), puppet theatre and staged works to orchestral and chamber music. His music has been performed throughout the UK and Netherlands as well as in South Africa, Turkey, Croatia and France. More information about Rob can be found on his website.

Based in Ludlow, the Edge Chamber Choir are a mixed-voice auditioned choir, achieving a high standard of singing and specialising in performances of works by mainly 20th and 21st century composers. Formed in 2014 by Ros Crouch, the choir has established itself as an important voice in the musical scene in the West Midlands, with a reputation for innovative and exciting programming.


Laura Shipsey and City of Bristol Brass Band

Laura Shipsey is a composer based in Hertfordshire whose music draws on ideas of movement, line, and juxtaposition. Originally a violinist, she first studied composition at Durham University with Eric Egan and Sam Hayden and later completed her masters with distinction under the supervision of Arlene Sierra at Cardiff University. 

Laura is currently a Britten Pears Young Artist and a featured composer of the Illuminate Concert Series. Recent projects include orchestral pieces Samara (for Aldworth Philharmonic) and Hatch (for Cambridge, Heidelberg, Montpellier Youth Orchestra), Juggernaut Island (for the Ligeti Quartet), and Speak, Rose (a mezzo soprano solo for NewCELF, Cardiff).

The City of Bristol Brass Band are a dynamic prize-winning brass band who give inspirational performances throughout the South West, and include a thriving training band.

They were formed in 1936 as the Fishponds British Legion Band by HS Perry (a local boot and shoe manufacturer) and William George Cozens, latterly Lord Mayor of Bristol. The current MD is Ian Holmes ARCM ALCM, a well-known and widely regarded Bristol born musical director. Their mission statement is to play brass music to the best of their ability and perform at the highest level for the benefit of all.


Aileen Sweeney and Helensburgh Oratorio Choir 

Aileen is currently studying on the M.Mus Composition course at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, kindly supported by scholarships from The Dewar Arts Trust, The Countess of Munster and The Cross Trust. In 2017, she graduated from the RCS with a B.Mus (performance) with first class honours having studied classical accordion and composition.

Aileen has a varied career as a freelance musician. Her contemporary compositions are cross-genre, taking influences from her interest in Jazz and Scottish folk music. As an accordionist, she has performed with some of Scotland’s leading contemporary music ensembles in Scotland and in 2016, she founded the folk-fusion band Eriska. The band launched their debut album “At the Wrong Gig” in 2018 and are touring the album in Scotland and Switzerland this summer (2019).

Helensburgh Oratorio choir has been entertaining audiences with high-quality choral singing for fifty-six years. Recent concerts cover four centuries of composers from Purcell to Todd in classical, jazz and opera genres. To the delight of their audiences, drawn from residents in rural Argyll, Stirling, Clyde estuary and Glasgow suburbs, they perform choral works of the highest standard with professional orchestras and soloists. The choir is an Alumni of Distinguished Concerts Singers International, members having taken part in Todd’s Mass in Blue (2019) and Goodall’s Eternal Light (2016) in New York. Charity concerts have also been carried out in the Central Belt of Scotland.



Jonathan Brigg and Sussex Folk Orchestra 

Jonathan is a Bradford-born composer, pianist and conductor currently teaching piano in London and working as a repetiteur for the ENO Baylis programme. Passionate about leisure-time groups, Jonathan has worked extensively with Cobweb Orchestra, and enjoys coaching choirs of all abilities.

As a composer Jonathan synthesizes musical styles, drawing on classical, jazz and popular music in search of new sounds and new meanings. His music has been performed by, among others, Stoop Quintet, The Animato Kwartet, London Philharmonic Orchestra/Foyle Future Firsts, Orkest de Ereprijs and PercusSing, in venues as diverse as the Vortex Jazz Club and the Royal Festival Hall.   

The Sussex Folk Orchestra are a group of musicians who meet to play traditional and contemporary folk music from around the world. Instruments played include guitars, mandolins, violins, accordions melodeons, concertinas, recorders, flutes and a cello. They go out and play wherever there are gatherings, for example, garden parties, local parks, fairs, festivals, fund raising events and lunch clubs.


Alex Paxton and Haslingfield Choir

In 2019 Alex was elected for the International Composition Seminar commission by Ensemble Modern and played/ recorded his concerto OD ODY PINk’d for improviser and Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO). Alex has written music for ensembles including: Ensemble Modern, LPO, Ensemble x.y Psappha, RSNO, BSO, OSO, NYJO. His piece SPAKE represented the UK in the Orchestral section of ISCM. Alex has been awarded a Leverhume Arts Scholarship and Helen Cohen Memorial Music Award.

He has written six operas hosted by: ENO, Helios, Tête à Tête, Second movement and Pelican Music. Alex’s Dreammusics Ensemble: unique virtuosic jazz /classical musicians, has been performed at Café Oto as part of Kammerklang. Extensively, Alex writes music for musicians in community settings; including opera NOGGIN and the WHALE. 

Haslingfield Choir is a mixed-voice, unauditioned choir that has been performing since 1971. Under the musical direction of Paul Jackson since 2017, the choir has expanded its repertoire and membership age range, and now works with local schools wherever possible to introduce young people to the joys of choral singing, serving local communities in and around Cambridge. The choir performs in the beautiful 14th-century All Saints’ Church in Haslingfield, supported by its 40-piece orchestra. It has a commitment to programming new works on a regular basis, and is therefore delighted to be part of the Adopt a Composer scheme for 2020.


Find out about previous Adopt a Composer pairings here 

Find out more about Adopt a Composer 

In partnership with 

Kindly supported by 


Fundraising Regulator
Sound and Music|3rd Floor, South Wing, Somerset House, London WC2R 1LA|Tel +44 (0)20 7759 1800||Registered Charity: 1124609|VAT Reg No: 937 5533 96 

Designed by Fitzroy & Finn|Built by Platform3|Copyright © Sound and Music 2016