Cathedral Commissions


Established in 2006, Cathedral Commissions is a scheme run by Wells Cathedral to raise funds for the commissioning of new works from some of today’s most exciting composers, and to share the thrill of commissioning with as many people as possible. The scheme is open to anyone and is a rewarding and enjoyable way to support living composers, the glorious English choral tradition, and the Choir of Wells Cathedral.

Wells Cathedral Choir has recently been hailed by Gramophone magazine as ‘probably the finest English cathedral choir’ in ‘world-class form’. As well as performing glorious music from the Renaissance through to the twentieth century, the choir excels at performing exciting new music within the ancient Cathedral services. The commissioning of adventurous and innovative repertoire engages people in Wells Cathedral, in the wider English choral tradition, and in the concert hall.

Cathedral Commissions enables Wells Cathedral to commission a greater number of pieces from more composers than would otherwise be possible with existing funds. Our Commissioners provide the essential financial support for a new piece of music to be brought into being.

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

“We were saddened to hear of the death of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in March 2016. As President of Wells Cathedral’s scheme, Cathedral Commissions, Sir Peter was a great supporter of music here. We have many happy memories of his visit in 2008, when the cathedral choir premiered his evening canticles, The Wells Service. May he rest in peace.” Matthew Owens (Organist and Master of the Choristers).

James MacMillan

How the Scheme works

Each new piece of music requires a group of Cathedral Commissioners to donate ‘Commission Units’ in multiples of £100. These can be donated for a particular composer (by contacting the Administrator) or you can let Cathedral Commissions choose a composer for you. Payments can either be made in one sum or by monthly installments by Standing Order.

As a Cathedral Commissioner you have the following privileges:

  • An invitation to attend special rehearsals, with the composer
    in attendance, and be a VIP guest at the première of the new work
  • Receive a signed copy of the score and have your name printed
    in the service programme
  • Meet the composer at a special Commissioners’ Reception
    and discuss their work with them
  • Directly support a composer’s work
  • Directly support the ancient Music Foundation of Wells
    Cathedral and the English choral tradition

Our featured composer in 2015 will be Lord Michael Berkeley CBE. His work will be premiered at Evensong in the Cathedral on Thursday 15th October 2015.  In 2016 our featured composer will be Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir CBE.

To become a Commissioner

To become a Commissioner please download and print one of the attached forms:

Become a Commissioner (pdf)

Or for more information please contact: The Administrator, Cathedral Commissions, Wells Cathedral Music Office, Chain Gate, Cathedral Green, Wells BA5 2UE.