Able Orchestra

A group of young musicians with disabilities are wowing audiences after developing the unique musical concept of an Orchestra using iPads as their primary instruments.

The Able Orchestra - co-produced by Orchestras Live - is made up of 14 young people from Fountaindale School, each of whom have a variety of physical disabilities. They showcased their latest original Ten Pieces inspired composition to more than 500 people as part of the annual Inspire Youth Arts Showcase event at the Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on the 23rd February 2016 and then to an audience of over 12000 people at The Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Ten Pieces Prom during this years BBC Proms series.. 

In the run-up to the Showcase event, Able Orchestra members composed an original piece inspired by Gabriel Prokofiev – Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra (5th Movement) in collaboration with Inspire Youth Arts artists Simon Tew, Ronnie Sampson and Bec Smith. 

The young peoples' journey began by looking at the BBC Ten Pieces list and selecting one piece as a starting point and inspiration for their original composition. The ensemble then began to exploring the music making potential of the iPods with applications such as Bebot, Falling Stars, Soundprism and Beatwave. Learners were able to creatively respond to the foley work, acoustic recordings and sounds they were creating. 

Using applications such as Garage Band and Thumb Jam, along with Ableton live in conjunction with hardware such as the iPads, Leap motion sensors and Launchpad controllers enables each member of the ensemble to make considered choices about the sounds they want to make with access to a wide range of keys, notes and scales, enabling them to play live. 

We are immensely proud of the Able Orchestra – they were fantastic when they performed at Showcase earlier this year, and they once again captivated the audience when they performed as part of the BBC Proms.

Councillor Liz Plant, Vice-Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Committee, at Nottinghamshire County Council

The young people also created original visuals incorporating sound that they mixed live as an integral part of the performance. 

The ensemble collaborated and performed  with young orchestral musicians from Outwood Academy Portland and musicians from the Halle Orchestra before going on to perform with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at The BBC Proms 2016.

To get involved contact CYA on: