Learning to play a full symphony in a weekend is a unique and uniting experience, and Symphony from Scratch brings together people from many different walks of life, uniting over a shared love of music. The weekend was developed in collaboration with members of the Bournemouth NOYO Centre, reflecting together on inclusion and accessibility specifically in relation to the ethos of the project, instrumental parts and experience of the day. Participants played alongside our professional musicians and were conducted by our very own CEO Dougie Scarfe.

The event was the first of its kind- bringing musicians from the National Open Youth Orchestra (NOYO) together with amateur musicians from the ‘BSO Rusties’ community. The National Open Youth Orchestra is a pioneering inclusive orchestra where brilliant 11-25 year old disabled and non-disabled musicians rehearse and perform together. It promotes inclusion by performing exciting music written and arranged for a diverse group of musicians and instruments. This is an exciting moment ahead of International Day of People with Disabilities on 3 December.

Only a few days later the Trinity Laban Side-by-Side project gave students of London’s Creative Conservatoire the chance to play and be coached by experienced professionals of the BSO and understand first-hand the fast pace of professional orchestral rehearsals. Our Assistant Conductor Tom Fetherstonhaugh led this special event.

Both groups played Borodin’s colourful and exciting Second Symphony. Borodin spent eight years composing the work and it is seen by many as a distillation of the spirit of Prince Igor. It depicts the wide-open skies of the Russian Steppe and displays exceptional melodic charm and a sensuous, poetic beauty…

BSO Associate Musician, Sam Mason, said “The weekend was a fantastic opportunity for our NOYO members to play alongside professional musicians and be mentored along the way. They experienced how a professional orchestra tackles learning a piece of music, how they work with a conductor and in orchestral sections and how the scores are interpreted. However what was also really special about Symphony from Scratch was that the learning was mutual on all sides. So many of the BSO players commented on what a rewarding experience and huge learning curve it had been for them too, playing alongside our NOYO musicians and experiencing adaptive scores, instruments and rehearsal techniques

A Trinity Laban Strings player, said “This project has really exceeded my expectations of my own standard of orchestral playing. Sitting inside a professional orchestra completely transforms you as a player as you learn from the people around you extremely quickly. The BSO were such a friendly and helpful orchestra, happy to answer any questions whilst at the same time being incredibly professional and efficient. This is the best experience I’ve ever had of orchestral playing.”


Our Symphony from Scratch programme in 2023/4 is generously supported by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust

and The Pointer Family Trust

To find out more about the work of BSO Participate click here