As we bring the first year of our Musician in Residence programme to a close we’re delighted to announce the appointment of two hugely talented and exciting new residents, Hattie McCall Davies and Rylan Gleave.

Thanks to a bursary from Sky Arts, the Paraorchestra Musician in Residence programme presents a unique and essential opportunity for musicians within our cohort who identify as disabled, D/deaf, or neurodiverse to develop their artistic practice. Under the mentorship and guidance of our Artistic Director, Charles Hazlewood, and members of the wider Paraorchestra team, Hattie and Rylan have been offered a 12-month paid residency to spend dedicated time responding to their idea of what live music can be for a 21st century musician and/or orchestra.

Hattie has been a member of Paraorchestra since 2018. She’s lent us her talents as a cellist on projects playing everything from Beethoven to Kraftwerk, Schnittke to Suede. But it’s as a smallpiper that she embraces her residency.

“Upon graduating from conservatoire several years ago it quickly became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to pursue a fulltime career as a cellist due to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. At the time my primary mental and physical association with the cello was pain and injury, and with the adjustments I needed as a result it felt like there wasn’t a place for me in the orchestral landscape.

“Over the years I have found a physically sustainable balance of playing the cello ‘part time’ but like many musicians with a disability I also have a second career alongside music to survive financially. Balancing these two ‘work worlds’ isn’t always successful and this residency offers the chance to redress that balance with time and financial support. The space to further develop my piping and artistic practice offers the tantalising and emotional prospect of rediscovering who I am as a musician not defined by my disability. I’m so excited to be working towards building a diverse body of repertoire that broadens the musical horizons of my pipes, hopefully driving the exploration of new musical combinations on the instrument and exploiting their potential use in contemporary ensembles and contexts.” Hattie McCall Davies

Rylan Gleave is a vocal performer and composer and joined Paraorchestra following our 2021 callout for musicians. His first project with us was this year when he gave a virtuoso performance as vocalist in reimaginings of Scott Walker’s iconic record The Drift, during filming for a documentary series Charles Hazlewood and Paraorchestra have been making for Sky Arts.

“It was the most interesting and challenging project I have ever worked on as a performer” Rylan explains “But from this one experience I learnt very quickly that Paraorchestra foster an incredibly supportive environment. I’m a classically trained singer, but am now performing with a late-breaking trans-masc voice that only changed about 4 years ago. With this gifted time and space to work on projects that truly resonate with me, I plan to explore the new range and possibilities of my voice, by exploring queering of the classical, and working on the genre-defying music I make under my moniker All Men Unto Me.” 

Charles Hazlewood: “I am overjoyed to welcome our two new Musicians in Residence, and utterly blessed to work with such talent. Hattie is a world-class cellist in our ranks. She happens to have a secret passion for Scottish Small Pipes, an exquisite yet absurdly overlooked instrument. She is – thanks to the bursary – now on a mission to put the pipes on the map – and potentially to take them into realms of music they have never before visited! Rylan Gleave is an extraordinary composer and singer. His voracious appetite for new horizons will see him looking at all manner of contours, such as queering the classical, graphic scores, and developing a body of work which is trauma-informed. 

“These are two musicians who are already dreaming, thinking and starting to make in bigger shapes, in wider horizons; it’s very exciting to see where it all leads.”

The Musicians in residence programme is funded by Sky Arts. It forms part of Paraorchestra’s ambition to create an artist development programme that, over the next five years, will support disabled musicians to achieve a step change in their music making practice. Over the next five years we will offer essential and wide-ranging opportunities for professional disabled musicians and creatives to develop and grow their practice. We want a future where disabled musicians can break through the barriers preventing them becoming artists and future leaders in their own right.