Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra launches first disabled-led ensemble

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - disabled ensemble

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has become the first symphony orchestra in the world to have a professional ensemble led by musicians with disabilities.

Following auditions in November 2017, the orchestra has announced the six founding musicians of the new ensemble: Siobhan Clough (violin/ viola), Phillip Howells (percussion), Roger Preston (cello), Kate Risdon (flute), Matthew Scott (clarinet) and Charlotte White (LinnStrument).

The ensemble will become a permanent part of the orchestra and will perform together, as well as alongside the BSO, in a series of public performances and workshops.

James Rose, a conductor with disabilities who will curate and direct the ensemble, said in the announcement: ‘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 Change Makers ensemble.

‘The Change Makers 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.’

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive Officer of the BSO, added: ‘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.’

The project has been supported by Arts Council England’s (ACE) Change Makers fund, which aims to address the under-representation of black, minority ethnic and disabled people in the arts, as well as two private donors.