The Orchestra’s disabled-led ensemble, BSO Resound, recognised for its part in changing perceptions for next generation of talent.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has won the Impact Award at the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Awards, one of the most revered events in the classical music calendar, for its part in improving access and inclusion for disabled musicians.

The RPS Impact Award is given for an outstanding initiative or positive impact on the lives of people who may not otherwise experience classical music.  The Orchestra was recognised for its BSO Change Makers programme and disabled-led ensemble, BSO Resound; the accolade is a huge coup for the newly-formed ensemble in its second year of existence.

The BSO Change Makers programme was funded by Arts Council England and ran in three parts over an 18-month journey, in which the Orchestra became more inclusive: it provided a training placement for disabled conductor James Rose; established the world’s first professional disabled-led ensemble, BSO Resound; and conducted a series of organisational change activities, embedding the Social Model of Disability at its core.  

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, said of the news, “Music by its nature is inclusive. So much has been achieved in ensuring that as many people as possible can access performances as audience members, which is a huge leap forward. We hope that this win ignites similar conversations, ensuring more people can access concert platforms and build careers as performers.

“We’re thrilled that the BSO has been recognised with one of the highest accolades in classical music; this is an important moment in building a more inclusive profession.”

BSO Resound is part of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and it’s the second time the 6-piece ensemble has made history. In 2018, it made a high profile debut at the BBC Proms within the Orchestra as the first disabled-led group to perform at the festival’s illustrious 125-year history.

Conductor, James Rose, said of the news “My traineeship kicked-started my conducting career and I’ve learnt so much about what it means to be a musician. It has not been easy because it was not meant to be easy, but it has been a true partnership.”

It is the 30th anniversary of the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, which have been described by BBC Radio 3 as ‘the Oscars, the BAFTAs and the Grammys all in one’ for classical music, and celebrate the outstanding, the pioneering, and the inspirational for the sector. The RPS Awards are presented in association with BBC Radio 3, who will broadcast highlights from the event on Sunday 1 December at 8:45pm.