Part of the BSO Participate team, the BSO Associate Musicians communicate, inspire, educate and motivate people and communities through music. These professional freelance musicians and music-leaders also collaborate with their fellow BSO Associates across the South West on a variety of projects.

Hugh Nankivell is a social musician and compulsive song-maker who works across a range of communities making music with us. After studying music at university, Hugh’s musical career began working as a community musician creating operas in a day at Glyndebourne. Shortly after this he gained a position as Musician-in-Residence for Tyne and Wear Museums service. Hugh has also worked across many fields as a freelance musician including in early years, in care settings with people living with dementia both here in the UK and internationally.

Hugh performing music outside a care home with Arts on Call, Devon, in 2021

Now Bristol-based Hugh works across various BSO community projects including our Exeter based Family Orchestra (The Aubergines), on creative Care Home concerts in hospital settings and developing social prescribing opportunities, to name but a few! In 2022/23 he was Teaching Fellow in Community Music at Edinburgh, and he leads a training and CPD programme with teachers and music leaders across the UK for AYM (Awards for Young Musicians).

One of Hugh’s many specialties is creating instant songs in community groups (for example at music festivals or SEND schools). For workshops, Hugh uses an accordion as with this instrument you can play a melody, an accompaniment and you can sing and move around all at the same time — truly multi-purpose!

In 2021 Hugh was selected to take part in an international SIMM-posium (funded by SIMM, Social Impact of Making Music) where seven social musicians and seven researchers from across the world gathered together in France to share experiences and explore reflective practice. More recently, Hugh has led two trips to Japan funded by Tokyo 2020 to train music leaders and share creative practice as part of the work with BSO.

Hugh is also mentoring the next generation of community music-leaders from under-represented backgrounds through our BSO Young Associates programme, supported by Allianz Musical Insurance.

“Allianz Musical Insurance have been proud partners of the BSO for many years and continue to be amazed at the varied and unique ways in which the BSO supports musicians and the development of music in the community. The ability to inclusively share musical knowledge, experiences and skills is vital to the future of music in the UK and we understand the important role that freelance musicians and the BSO Associate Musicians programme plays in that.” Brian Hillstead, Partnerships Manager, Allianz Musical Insurance

Hear more from Hugh in the video below!