We are thrilled to announce the appointment of three Musicians in Residence who, thanks to a generous bursary from Sky Arts, begin a 12-month paid residency with us this month. Tilly Chester, Jonny Leitch, and Patrick Phillip have been recruited from within Paraorchestra’s ensemble of gifted musicians to spend a year developing their artistic practice under the guidance and support of Artistic Director, Charles Hazlewood, and the Paraorchestra wider team.

The bursary scheme – a total investment of £60,000 in Paraorchestra talent – forms part of Charles Hazlewood’s recent appointment as Ambassador for Music for Sky Arts, which additionally marks Paraorchestra as the flagship orchestra for the channel.

The bursary will create further residency opportunities for Paraorchestra musicians identifying as D/deaf, disabled or neuro-diverse in 2022-23.

Paraorchestra exists to push the boundaries of what orchestral music can be with artistic work that is ambitious, innovative and inclusive. The Musician in Residence programme is fuelled by the same creative ambition, offering a chance for musicians to consider their work as artists and respond to the idea of what live music can be for a 21st-century musician and/or orchestra.

“This is a wonderful – and largely unprecedented – opportunity for three of our wildly talented musicians to develop their artistic practice. Creating dedicated time for them through the year, with access to key mentors from across the Arts as well as key collaborators, the Musician in Residence scheme allows these artists to grow in whatever way they need: to work across disciplines, to experiment, to think in bigger pictures.  It goes without saying that Paraorchestra as a whole will reap dividends from the scheme, as these musicians develop, way beyond their initial potential.”
Charles Hazlewood, Artistic Director

“I am really excited to be part of the musician in residence scheme this year. I am looking forward to exploring new possibilities in my music, exploring different genres, equipment, visuals and growing as a musician. I am so grateful for the support and opportunities of the residency.”
Tilly Chester

“Paraorchestra has always been an amazing company to work with. Seeing how they work in the background as a pioneering inclusive company is not something you get to see from the outside, so I can’t wait to understand their approach, spending this year learning from role models I look up to, and developing my own creative practice as an artist.”
Jonny Leitch

“I am excited about this amazing opportunity to develop my ideas under the guidance of one of my favourite organisations.  The Paraorchestra is a fantastic example of what a 21st century orchestra should be about, and its versatility is what influences and inspires my ideas as a composer and performer.  I am looking forward to this collaboration with Sky Arts and the Paraorchestra, where I will receive the support to develop my creative projects.  I would like to seize this opportunity to build and share a world of new and exciting musical experiences, and explore music making in diverse ways, through composition, improvisation and visual media.”
Patrick Phillip

“From the moment I saw the Paraorchestra in action I knew we’d want to collaborate with them in any way we could – with its unique blend of player and sounds it truly is an orchestra for today and we are thrilled to add to its ranks with these new positions made possible by our Sky Arts Bursaries.”
Phil Edgar-Jones, Director, Sky Arts and Entertainment

“The pandemic has taken a disproportionately heavy toll on the lives of disabled people. As part of the post-covid recovery, Paraorchestra recognises that our organisation can play a vital role in creating new opportunities to support its talent pool of professional disabled musicians. We are truly grateful to Sky Arts for backing Charles and us, and investing what we know will be a remarkable artistic journey for Jonny, Tilly and Patrick”
Jonathan Harper, Chief Executive Officer, Paraorchestra

Artist Development

Recognising a substantial lack of professional training and development opportunities for professional disabled orchestral players in the sector, Paraorchestra’s Musicians in Residence programme heralds the beginning of what is hoped will become a sustainable and essential Artist Development programme. Although the programme is still in its infancy, we are exploring ways of creating a new model of professional development, providing time, space, care, connections, and practical opportunities for musicians in the ensemble to develop and grow their practice.

We recruited twelve new musicians to the ensemble in March 2021 following a national call-out for music-makers and composers identifying as D/deaf or disabled.

(Photo: Tilly Chester credit Kirsten McTernan, Jonny Leitch credit York Tillyer, Patrick Phillip credit Paul Blakemore)