Our history

From 1993 to the present

Watch ‘The CoMA Story’ – celebrating 30 years of participatory music!


CoMA was established in 1993 to encourage and provide opportunities for amateur musicians of all abilities to take part in contemporary music making. That year, the first Summer School featured new commissions by Diana Burrell, Michael Finnissy and William Sweeney. The aim was to create a repertoire of contemporary music accessible to amateur players and to establish regional ensembles throughout the UK.

CoMA ensembles carry out a range of activities including performing commissioned repertoire, improvisation and holding workshops for amateur composers. CoMA has featured in various prestigious events including Bath, Huddersfield, St Magnus and Spitalfields music festivals. CoMA London was programmed in the bmic Cutting Edge series for three years.

CoMA has built up a unique collection of more than a thousand works, used by colleges, schools and outreach programmes as well as by CoMA and other ensembles. CoMA’s commissioned works have featured prominently in the British Composer Awards.

CoMA’s Key to Change conference at the South Bank Centre in 1997 established CoMA’s reputation in promoting participation in contemporary music and in the same year became Music Winner of the Prudential Award for the Arts in recognition of its leading role in this field.

CoMA continues to develop and diversify its activities and is currently extending its international links as a core part of its programme.

CoMA celebrated its 21st birthday in 2014 with an Amazing Day of concerts at concerts at St John’s Smith Square.

CoMA (Contemporary Music for All) is a company limited by guarantee, registered in the England & Wales (no. 3429608). It is also a charity in England & Wales (no. 1067282) and in Scotland (no. SC051561).

The first CoMA Summer School at Bretton Hall in 1993
The first CoMA Summer School at Bretton Hall in 1993
21 years later: Summer School at High Melton in 2014
21 years later: Summer School at High Melton in 2014