Since 2007, Open Up Music has supported the musical development of hundreds of the UK’s most marginalised young musicians. Through our innovative, award-winning programmes we empower disabled young people to radically redefine the ideas of “The Orchestra”, tackling inequality, inspiring new instruments and creating new musical forms for the 21st century.

Our programmes, including “Open Orchestras” and the “National Open Youth Orchestra”, are delivered in partnership with some of the UK’s most preeminent arts and cultural organisations, Music Education Hubs and educational institutions. Together, we are challenging the disabling barriers that orchestras present to disabled people to create a world where orchestras are open to everyone.

Open Orchestras is a response to the challenge of poor music provision in special schools. This award-winning programme provides Music Education Hubs, arts organisations and special schools across the country with the tools and support they need to establish and maintain accessible school orchestras. Originally piloted in six special schools in Greater Bristol between 2013-15, Open Orchestras is currently supporting the musical and personal development of over 500 young disabled musicians in 40 orchestras across the country – in the South, South-West, West-Midlands, East and North-East of England.

The National Open Youth Orchestra (NOYO) is the world’s first disabled-led national youth orchestra, launched in September 2018 to give some of the UK’s most talented disabled young musicians a progression route. It promotes musical excellence, empowering disabled and non-disabled musicians aged 11-25 to train and perform together as members of a pioneering ensemble.

NOYO aims to shape the modern orchestra by showcasing how diversity can act as a catalyst for exciting music that marries the sounds of electronic and acoustic instruments. In 2015, a pilot for NOYO, the South-West Open Youth Orchestra, won a Royal Philharmonic Society Award – the highest recognition for live classical music-making in the UK.