Paraorchestra became the first orchestra of disabled musicians to perform as part of a mainstream classical programme when they made their Birmingham debut at Symphony Hall in February 2017.

Conducted by Charles Hazlewood, the programme included works by Corelli, Henrich Baerman and Adrian Lee, as well as a revival of Towards Harmony, the symphonic piece for the full Paraorchestra by clarinettist-composer Lloyd Coleman.

“Making music on stage with one of the world’s great orchestras, the CBSO, is not only a thrilling prospect musically, but marks a symbolic point in the development of the British Paraorchestra. This is not a guest appearance, a token gesture or a conclusion to a disability arts project, this is a full-blooded gig where both ensembles are on stage on an equal footing with equal roles to play.” James Risdon, Recorder Player with Paraorchestra

Charles Hazlewood and The British Paraorchestra at Birmingham Symphony Hall addresses the audience, musicians behind him dressed in black, smiling, ready to play

Charles Hazlewood and The British Paraorchestra at Birmingham Symphony Hall. Photography credit Paul Blakemore

The concert further supports the Paraorchestra and Friends’ objective to support the transition of professional disabled artists into a mainstream forum, and improve the understanding and sharing of knowledge of disabled and non disabled musicians.