Disabled composer to work with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra on ‘Change Makers’ project


Thanks to a bursary awarded by Arts Council England and a significant donation from two private donors, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) will host a training placement for disabled conductor James Rose, to accelerate his development, experience and confidence as an artist.

James Rose Conducting next to Sian Edwards

‘Change Maker’, James Rose in full conducting swing. Photo taken by Çağlar Kimyoncu at Royal Academy of Music

Arts Council England launched the Change Makers fund earlier in the spring and invited applications from National Portfolio Organisations and major partner museums. Of the 20 successful applicants, the BSO is not only the sole orchestra to receive funding, but is also the only disabled-led music project in the country to receive funding through the scheme.

Over the course of eighteen months of mentorship with BSO, James will have the opportunity to create, curate and direct a disabled-led ensemble. The ensemble, conducted by James will deliver a series of performances and workshops to both young disabled and non-disabled people as well as disabled and non-disabled adults across the region.

James Rose, BSO’s ‘Change Maker’, said:

The prospect of developing a new ensemble for the BSO comprised of disabled and non-disabled players is an exciting one. This will not only provide a platform for new talented musicians, but it will also be used as a vehicle to inspire disabled people to engage with classical music – whether it be playing or listening.

James was selected by the BSO for his outstanding ambition and commitment to the art of conducting and music direction. He has a unique conducting style, as documented on his DAO blog, using a head-baton developed over years of research culminating in Conducting Development Week at the Royal Academy of Music in May 2016. James’ innovative use of the head-baton to conduct an orchestra, challenges commonly held perceptions about the nature of a conductor’s role.

Lisa Tregale, BSO Head of Participation, said:

The BSO is delighted to be working with James to support his artistic ambitions in a project that we hope will also inspire gifted disabled and non-disabled musicians alike to have the self-belief that they too could become professional musicians with ambition, dedication and practice.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said:

We’re committed to ensuring the diversity of England is better reflected at a leadership level across the arts and cultural sector, so we’re really pleased to be supporting Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra through our Change Makers programme to help us work towards this goal. The scheme aims to give individuals a unique and transformational opportunity to realise their leadership potential, giving them the confidence and the experience to take their next step into a senior leadership role, helping to shape the future of our sector.

The BSO’s Change Makers project with James commences in June 2017. His artistic journey and those of his fellow ensemble musicians will be documented in a film which will be released in December 2018.

BSO are delighted to be working with the following organisations to support James’ programme:

OpenUp Music
Drake Music
Victoria Education Centre
Disability Arts Online
Trinity Laban
CODA Music Trust
Falmouth University