Paraorchestra led by Wells conductor Charles Hazlewood receives £156,000 Covid recovery grant

  Posted: 17.10.20 at 12:56 by Tim Lethaby

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The world's only large-scale integrated ensemble of professional disabled and non-disabled musicians, which is led by Wells conductor Charles Hazlewood, has received £156,000 from the government to help it survive the coronavirus crisis.

Paraorchestra and Friends has received the money from the Culture Recovery Fund, which is an investment to ensure cultural and creative organisations have a sustainable future and continue to bring joy to local communities and international audiences.

The ensemble first performed at the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony and is known for its interesting orchestral reworkings of contemporary music, such as Kraftwerk’s Trans Europe Express.

The Paraorchestra has an unprecedented approach to providing a representative platform for disabled musicians to work at the highest level.

They are performing together again this autumn as part of Sky Arts’ new documentary, Beethoven and Me, presented by artistic director Charles Hazlewood, who lives near Wells.

Charles said: "This grant truly provides Paraorchestra with a financial lifeline.

"We are tremendously grateful to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and to the Treasury for recognising the immeasurable value that culture brings to this country, not just economically but in terms of the joy and purpose it brings to the population at large.

"We will now be able to re-ignite our artistic work, creating rich music experiences across a range of spaces and places over the next six months and beyond, with a perfectly integrated orchestra of professional disabled and non-disabled musicians.

"We are fully committed to seeing an inclusive recovery from the pandemic and this grant will help us continue our on-going work to ensure that none of our disabled musicians will be left behind as the industry builds back better.”

The organisation is one of 54 across the South West who have received money today (October 17) after applying for grants of less than £1 million in the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund. This funding will help organisations create work and performances, and plan for reopening.

Phil Gibby, South West area director for Arts Council England, said: “Arts and culture is an essential part of our life.

"It brings communities together, enriches us and stimulates local economies, which is why I am so pleased that we are today announcing further support for 54 much loved cultural organisations in the South West in this latest round of the Government's Culture Recovery Funds.

"This funding will help keep hundreds of organisations afloat over the next few months, ensuring that our sector can bounce back after the crisis.

"The Arts Council are here for culture, and we will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations.”

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