Following auditions in November 2017, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra today announces the six founding musicians of its new disabled-led ensemble; Siobhan Clough (violin/ viola), Phillip Howells (percussion), Roger Preston (cello), Kate Risdon (flute), Matthew Scott (clarinet) and Charlotte White (LinnStrument).

The six disabled musicians chosen to be part of the ensemble are all of professional standard. Three of the ensemble studied at London conservatoires (Guildhall, Trinity Laban and Royal Academy of Music) and Siobhan Clough (violin/viola) is currently in her third year at the RAM. BSO’s ensemble will become a permanent part of the Orchestra’s output, and the musicians will be given performance opportunities, professional development, and will be paid professional rates. They will have the opportunity to perform not only as a standalone ensemble but also alongside the BSO who will be learning new skills and accommodating the needs of the ensemble players and their disabilities.

These musicians will be working alongside the ensemble conductor James Rose as well as Alexander Campkin, the ensemble’s Composer-in-Residence, and Lucy Hale, the ensemble’s Young Composer-in-Association.

A name for the ensemble will be announced in due course.

The project began following a funding award from Arts Council England’s (ACE) Change Makers Fund. James Rose, BSO Change Maker and disabled conductor, began his 18-month training placement with the Orchestra in June 2017. A core part of the BSO Change Makers project is the creation of this professional disabled-led ensemble to be embedded in the Orchestra and take part in a variety of other work, which James will curate and direct.

As the BSO Change Makers’ Composer-in-Residence, Alexander Campkin will work closely with James and the ensemble, as well as writing commissioned works and running workshops. Lucy Hale will work closely with Alexander and have the opportunity to explore compositional approaches with Alexander and the ensemble, as they develop together to understand how to write for the ensemble and incorporate players’ specific access requirements.

James Rose will lead the new BSO ensemble in a series of public performances and workshops to disabled and non-disabled young people and adults held at special schools and venues across the South and South West. The aim of both performances and workshops is to inspire young people and adults with disabilities to have the self-belief that it is possible to become a professional musician with dedication and practice.

James Rose said: “During the audition process for the ensemble, we met with musicians from around the world with a wide range of talent. I am delighted that Siobhan, Phillip, Roger, Kate, Matthew and Charlotte have joined the ensemble. The ensemble will deliver a varied programme of high quality performances, as well as participation work, as the other BSO ensembles do. I am very excited for what the future has in store for this ensemble.”

This project is an opportunity to promote diversity within the orchestral music sector, continuing the BSO’s mission to make its music accessible to the widest possible audiences across the region.

Dougie Scarfe, CEO of the BSO, said “The BSO is delighted to welcome these incredibly talented musicians to the ensemble. I am extremely proud that the BSO is the first Orchestra in the world to have a professional disabled-led ensemble as a core part of its activities. I know that this new BSO ensemble will help promote diversity within the arts and society as a whole, making music more accessible to everyone.”

Arts Council England’s (ACE) Change Makers fund aims to address the under-representation of black, minority ethnic and disabled people in the arts, as well as a significant donation from two private donors. Of the 20 successful applicants, the BSO is the only orchestra to receive funding, and also the only disabled-led music project in the country to receive funding through the scheme. This achievement clearly demonstrates the Orchestra’s ongoing mission to be accessible to as many people as possible and transform lives through music.

A core part of the Orchestra’s mission is its work beyond the concert hall. BSO Participate offers a diverse range of people across a myriad of communities the opportunity to experience the power of music. The Change Makers project is hosted by BSO Participate’s strand Rising Talent, which provides an important pathway for emerging talent in classical music.


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