Colston partnership means new phase for Paraorchestra
The British Paraorchestra – the world’s only large-scale ensemble for disabled musicians – has announced a new partnership with education hub Bristol Plays Music that will give orchestral presentation a major step forward, says its founder.
The trust operates Bristol’s Colston Hall, the leading concert venue in the south-west, and the partnership will give the Paraorchestra a new main stage presence.
The Paraorchestra was founded in 2011 by the conductor Charles Hazlewood, whose daughter, a gifted singer, has cerebral palsy, to be a platform to showcase the virtuosic qualities of disabled musicians. The ensemble came to fame when it took a leading role in the 2012 Summer Paralympics ceremonies, playing alongside the rock band Coldplay. The Paraorchestra and Friends was created in 2015 to programme large scale events for the orchestra.
“The mission of The Paraorchestra and Friends is to redefine what an orchestra can be” said Hazlewood, the orchestra’s artistic director. “We see it as an extraordinary, 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.
“In essence, Bristol Music Trust is looking for Colston Hall to redefine what a concert hall can be, and who it can be for, and this feels in complete synergy with our ambitions. Bristol Music Trust’s expertise and ambition convince me that our partnership will be a major step change for orchestral music across the UK.”