Borletti-Buitoni Trust
BBT Communities Music Changing Lives
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - Community

Symphony from Scratch

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is working with the National Open Youth Orchestra to train and develop young disabled and non-disabled musicians with the primary aim of removing the barriers and discrimination that prevent young disabled people from taking part in classical music.

The BBT Communities grant supported ‘Symphony from Scratch’, a project involving participants in the planning and piloting of the scheme with community musicians and disabled-led ensemble, BSO Resound. Those taking part will become more confident in tackling symphonic repertoire and developing professional careers, giving them greater equality, independence and control in their lives.


Ellie had such a fantastic weekend of experiences. Being her first orchestral performance she was full [of] anxiety going into the weekend, particularly with the pressure of having to remember the music previously learnt and coping with her disabilities. Being around such wonderful people (five oboists!!), all so lovely and happy to share their passion for oboe/music with Ellie. An incredible weekend of firsts and wonderful memories for us both. We can’t thank you enough for the opportunity.

Mum of Ellie, a young visually impaired oboist

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.

Sam Mason
BSO Associate Musician, Music Leader for NOYO and helper on Symphony from Scratch)

Read Susan Rivers’ BBT Communities Blog, November 2023 here

Photographs by Jon Furley, Paul Underhill & Corin Messer