Re-inventing the orchestra for the 21st century
Our mission is to redefine what an orchestra can be. We see it as an extraordinary and perfectly synchronised body of instruments that draws on the tradition of centuries but is enriched and expanded by the talents, the instruments and the zeitgeist of the 21st century.
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 collaboration with its two partner ensembles the ‘Friends’ of The British Paraorchestra. These are the Army of Generals; an electrifying ensemble of non-disabled orchestral musicians that has built an enthusiastic following and is famed for its dynamic energy-fuelled performances, and, Charles Hazlewood’s All Star Collective; an electronica band comprising some of the big names of pop and rock world.
The visible participation of talented disabled musicians playing old and new repertoire, that includes digital or assistive instruments alongside traditional ones, is a step-change in the world of orchestral music. This new ‘breed’ of orchestra belongs at rock festivals just as much as in a concert hall; creating the potential of reaching a whole new audience for orchestral music.
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 also supports 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.