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About Paraorchestra and Friends

In this section

Charles Hazlewood conducting the full orchestra on stage at Glastonbury for the Heroes show, blue and pink lasers fill the top of the image

Our mission

Challenging perceptions of disability and removing barriers to music-making for disabled musicians

The Paraorchestra and Friends produce ambitious and captivating large-scale contemporary music projects and experiences. Our work spans a range of genres and appeals to the widest range of audiences.

At our core is The British Paraorchestra, the world’s only large-scale ensemble for disabled musicians. This boundary-breaking group sets a new template for music-making, either on its own or in partnership with its two partner ensembles, Army of Generals, and, Charles Hazlewood’s All Star Collective.

Bringing together musicians from all three ensembles along with many other, high-profile artists, results in an extensive repertoire of musical excellence. It not only raises the profile of the individuals’ work but is also supporting a crucial exchange of understanding and abilities between disabled and non-disabled musicians.

This unique collaboration and approach to high-octane music-making is challenging worldwide perceptions of both disabled musicians, and of classical music. And the result is spectacular.

Charles Hazlewood

The Paraorchestra and Friends channels the artistic vision of Charles Hazlewood, the award-winning British conductor and our Artistic Director.

Charles Hazlewood conducting, side profile

Occupying a unique position in the musical world, he regularly conducts many of the world’s greatest orchestras and collaborates with a huge spectrum of fellow artists from Professor Green to Steve Reich to Nigel Kennedy to Goldie. His fresh performances of music across genres, break new ground and excite audiences wherever he performs, but his goal is always the same: exposing the deep, always-modern joy of orchestral music.

The staff

Charles Hazlewood

Artistic Director

Lloyd Coleman

Associate Music Director

Jonathan Harper

Executive Producer

Phoebe Holman

Project Coordinator / Filmaker

Trustees

Giles Gibbons

Chair

Giles Gibbons is one of Europe’s leading thinkers on the evolving role of organisations – businesses, charities, social groups and networks and government – in creating a stronger society for us all. For two decades, he has inspired and advised some of the world’s biggest names, from Coca-Cola to UNICEF to the Gate Foundation, to understand, innovate and act on the opportunity to spark social change. Through evolving the role of business, Giles is the Founder and CEO of Good Business, a strategy consultancy that works with organisations to be more progressive. (From McDonalds to Innocent drinks, RBS to Telefonica). And working with some of the world’s most innovative foundations in delivering their programmes globally (Welcome Trust and The Gates Foundation).

Clarence Adoo

Until a serious car accident in 1995, Clarence was sub-principal trumpet with the world-renowned orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia. His career as a musician, following his graduation from The Royal College of Music in London, spans several decades during which time he has worked in all forms of music - from pop and jazz, to classical. He worked for a time with Courtney Pine and the Jazz Warriors, and in several West End shows, and has also freelanced for many orchestras including Scottish Opera, City of London Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta and Bournemouth Sinfonietta and Symphony Orchestra.
Today, despite his accident which has left him paralysed from the shoulders down, Clarence has retained a role with the Royal Northern Sinfonia as Education Animateur. He visits schools, colleges and adult groups in the north of England to lead music workshops or discussions on music and composers, and has been selected on several occasions for the panel of BBC Young Musician of the Year. He is a founder member of the British Paraorchestra who performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics. Clarence is also a member of the Headspace quartet who have performed at the Orkney festival, Sage Gateshead, Porto and City of London Festival. In recognition of his services to music and the way he has inspired people since his accident, Clarence was awarded the MBE in the New Year's Honours 2012 and an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Northumbria University in 2013.

Mark Cosgrove

Mark Cosgrove has worked in independent film exhibition for over 20 years. He is Cinema Curator at Watershed, a cross-artform venue and producer, sharing, developing and showcasing exemplary cultural ideas and talent. Mark has curated and toured film seasons nationally and internationally In 2010 he picked up the Europa Cinemas Entrepreneur of the year for Watershed. In recent years he has worked with musicians on live music performances to silent film including Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Will Gregory’s (Goldfrapp) new score to The Passion of Joan of Arc and co-curates Filmic, a new festival dedicated to the creative connections across music and film. Mark chairs the Film Hub SWWM and is Director of Film Culture at the University of the West of England.

Jane Jones

Jane began her career in advertising, working as an Account Director on multinational campaigns for global brands. It was here that she first encountered the British Paralympic Association who were a pro-bono client of the Agency. This led to a shift in direction to sports marketing. Jane was Director of Communications and Marketing for the British Paralympic Association from 2007 – 2015. In this time, she led the successful commercial and communications strategy for the British Paralympic team at the London 2012 Games and first encountered Charles Hazlewood and The British Paraorchestra. After a short stint at Bath Festivals as Director of Marketing and Development, Jane has returned to the world of sport and is currently consulting for a number of organisations and is a member of the IOC Communications Commission.

Louise Mitchell

Louise Mitchell was appointed in 2011 as Chief Executive of the Bristol Music Trust, an independent charitable trust set up that year to drive forward music in Bristol and to manage Colston Hall, helping secure a sustainable future for the venue. Previously, Louise was the first Director of Glasgow UNESCO City of Music, a position taken up after being at the head of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for 13 years where she spearheaded the regeneration of two of Glasgow’s most revered venues: the City Halls and the Old Fruitmarket. Louise is also a Board member of the Association of British Orchestras and Destination Bristol; a Trustee of the Royal Philharmonic Society; a Royal Society of Arts Fellow; a director of the British Association of Concert Halls and also a past Board Member of International Society for Performing Arts.

Anna Starkey

Anna is Creative Director of We The Curious (previous At Bristol science centre). She’s worked across science and the arts - as a BAFTA nominated children’s animation writer, UK Particle Physics Outreach Officer, Director of Impossible Projects at a multidisciplinary public neuroscience lab and producer of televised BBC Proms as well as live Royal Opera House global cinema broadcasts and the first series of BBC Young Dancer. All her work aims to connect people and ideas and open transformative experiences to new audiences. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce.

Funding

The Paraorchestra and Friends is a registered charity (no: 1163725), based in Bristol. We are grateful to receive funding from Arts Council England, The Mark Leonard Trust, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Garfield Weston, and Hauser & Wirth, all of which enables us to continue with our unique and pioneering work. But, we will always need further support. If you like what we are doing please consider donating via our fundraising channel, or contact us for more information regarding one-off or ongoing support.

Make a donation today via:

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As a registered charity, Paraorchestra and Friends gratefully acknowledges funding from: