We are excited to announce a new Musician Callout this autumn, with applications opening on Monday 9 November 2020. Paraorchestra Associate Music Director, Lloyd Coleman, highlights what we’re looking for and shares his excitement in the lead up to meeting our next tranche of new talent.

It’s already been two years since we held our first ever callout process, from which three exceptional musicians were invited to join our ever-expanding talent roster. As with last time, we’re eager to hear from you if you consider yourself to be a professional-level musician who identifies as D/deaf or disabled and share our vision for creating truly inclusive musical experiences. The watchword for us is excellence, in whatever genre (or genres) of music you work. We are looking for fearless, adventurous musicians who thrive when working under pressure with high-profile guest artists and to large-scale audiences.

Of course, 2020 has not been quite as busy as planned for our organisation, with many live performances and projects put on hold due to the pandemic. However, the Paraorchestra team and I have been hard at work preparing for a safe return to live music-making as soon as possible with our amazingly diverse and talented family of musicians. Over the next fortnight, some of those remarkable musicians will be sharing their insights as to why they enjoy working with Paraorchestra on our social media accounts, which we hope will give you an idea of what to expect and why you should apply.

Festival stage, crowd in foreground, The Park sign above

The Love Unlimited Synth Orchestra on The Park stage Glastonbury 2019. Photo credit: Paul Blakemore

There are many exciting opportunities for Paraorchestra on the horizon. A recently-filmed TV documentary for Sky Arts presented by our Artistic Director, Charles Hazlewood, about Beethoven (in which the Paraorchestra plays excerpts from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony) is due to air this Autumn. In July 2021, we present our Love Unlimited Synth Orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall, as part of Southbank Centre’s Meltdown Festival guest-curated by none other than Grace Jones. And long-standing Paraorchestra member, Victoria Oruwari, will perform Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs in the magical surroundings of the Roman Baths in Bath next spring.

Conductor and orchestra backlit by dynamic lighting

kraftwerk re:werk at The Marble Factory, Bristol 2018. Photo credit Paul Blakemore

We’re very proud of our past achievements too, including The Nature of Why, an immersive dance and music piece composed by Will Gregory and choreographed by Caroline Bowditch, which has entertained and moved audiences from Blackpool to Perth, Western Australia. Our 360-degree orchestral show The Anatomy of the Orchestra received it’s latest outing in February this year at Garage Museum of Contemporary Arts in Moscow, as part of the UK-Russia Year of Music organised by the British Council. Our ‘symphonic joyride’ kraftwerk re:werk – inspired by their seminal album Trans-Europe Express – raised the roof at WOMAD Festival in July 2019. And a few weeks before that, you may have caught our performance at Glastonbury Festival – if not live then on catch up on the BBC – where we debuted The Love Unlimited Synth Orchestra. A spectacular line up of special guests including Nadine Shah, Gruff Rhys, Yolanda Brown, and Larry Heard joined us in a celebration of the music of Barry White to a revelling crowd at The Park stage.

A crown on stage watch a male horn player in a wheelchair tipped back on his back whee;s supported by a female dancer

The Nature of Why, Mayfest 2018. Photo credit Paul Blakemore

As you might imagine, this breadth of work requires an equally wide range of musicians. Hence we will welcome applications not only from those who play traditional orchestral instruments, but also from those using adapted and electronic instruments, or those whose talents lie in their vocal range, or in composing and arranging. It’s safe to say, we do not subscribe to a narrow or singular definition of ‘musician’ – indeed, our most interesting work happens when creatives from different disciplines or cultures intersect or collide in new and interesting ways.

We will open for applications on Monday 9th November. In between now and then we’ll update our website with more information on working with us, what we are looking for from our musicians, FAQs, and how to apply.

We have a brilliantly talented line up of musicians in our orchestra already, but I know there are so many more waiting in the wings. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

A note of thanks

Re-igniting our work this autumn and beyond has been made possible thanks to the support of DCMS and The Treasury’s Cultural Recovery Fund. We also give thanks for the continued support of our key funding partners, Arts Council England, The Mark Leonard Trust, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, and Bristol City Council.

Header image: The Nature of Why, Mayfest 2018. Photo credit Paul Blakemore.