Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra launches ensemble led by disabled musicians

The BSO becomes the first symphony orchestra in the world to create a professional ensemble with disabled musicians

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The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra today launches its first ensemble led exclusively by disabled professional musicians, which will become a permanent feature of the BSO’s musical family.

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The ensemble will be led by disabled conductor James Rose, who is undertaking an 18-month training placement thanks to an award from the Arts Council England’s Change Makers Fund, a programme supporting BME and disabled leaders in the arts. He will be working alongside composer-in-residence Alexander Campkin and young composer-in-residence Lucy Hale.

The six founding members are Siobhan Clough (violin/viola), Phillip Howells (percussion), Roger Preston (cello), Kate Risdon (flute), Matthew Scott (clarinet) and Charlotte White (LinnStrument – a MIDI controller for creating musical performance, using touchpads to create the quality of five acoustic instruments).

The currently unnamed ensemble will perform as a standalone group as well as alongside the orchestra. ‘The ensemble will deliver a varied programme of high-quality performances, as well as participation work,’ says conductor James Rose. ‘Just as the other BSO ensembles do.’

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Grab a copy of the February issue of BBC Music Magazine to read more about disability in music, with Andrew Stewart reporting on the National Open Youth Orchestra.