Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Creates Training Place For Disabled Conductor

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A disabled composer and conductor has been offered a training place with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

James Rose will be joining the Orchestra for 18 months commencing in June 2017. During this period James will have the opportunity to assemble and conduct a disabled-led orchestra and to deliver a series of performances and workshops across the region.

James, who conducts from his wheelchair using a head baton which he designed himself, said he hoped the orchestra would be used “as a vehicle to inspire those who have disabilities to engage with classical music – whether it be playing or listening.”

James’ training placement is thanks to a grant from the Arts Council England “Change Makers” Fund and from two private donors.

The “Change Makers” project was set up to encourage diversity across the arts and cultural sectors in England. It aims to give black, minority ethnic and disabled people the opportunity to gain confidence and experience and to acquire leadership skills.

James was selected due to his outstanding commitment to making and conducting music. That commitment can hardly be in doubt, since James has overcome many challenges, not least of which is the design of his unique head baton. He first began working on this in 2012, and now, several prototypes later, he has a trail-blazing design that allows him the freedom to conduct in a way that is as individual as he is.

Before training as a composer and conductor, James worked in broadcasting and has produced a number of films, as well as being an accomplished performer and actor.

Lisa Tregale, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Head of Participation, said, “The BSO are delighted to be working with James to support his artistic ambitions in a project that we hope will also inspire gifted musicians with and without disabilities to have the self-belief that they too could become professional musicians with ambition, dedication and practice.”

James Rose’s inspiring journey is to be documented in a film due to be released in December 2018.


Written by Linda Darling

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