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The Anatomy of the Orchestra: Refractions and Abstractions. A concert by Paraorchestra with Charles Hazlewood

7–8 February 2020


“We didn’t just see something. We heard something. We were immersed in something truly extraordinary…. Paraorchestra should be applauded for having something truly original to say about what orchestras can be. It is a demonstration of how we can move forward.”

Sir Nick Serota, Chair, Arts Council England on The Nature of Why

The orchestra is a thing of wonder, and of mystery. The Anatomy of the Orchestra: Refractions and Abstractions provides a unique opportunity to climb inside this perfect team and explore its inner workings.

In this part installation, part concert, performed in the Museum Atrium, audiences are invited to wander the ensemble, creating their own sonic mix, getting up close and personal with musicians as they play.

This show explores the centuries-old yet wild panache of Baroque composer JS Bach, and an abstracted, modern, and jaw-dropping reimagining of ancient musical form by Dutch composer Louis Andriessen, coupled with other modern reflections—or refractions—on these long-past musical worlds by contemporary composers Nico Muhly and Peter Maxwell Davies.

Led by conductor Charles Hazlewood and performed by musicians from Paraorchestra playing a mix of traditional and electronic instruments, this world premiere promises a 360-degree feast for the eyes and ears; an extraordinary sonic adventure like no other.

Visit Garage from Wednesday February 6, in the morning or early afternoon, and you may catch a glimpse of the Paraorchestra rehearsing The Anatomy of the Orchestra in the Museum Atrium.


Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major

J. S. Bach BMV 1048

This is the Record of John

Orlando Gibbons/Nico Muhly

Two Preludes and Fugues (in C sharp minor and C sharp major)

J.S. Bach/Peter Maxwell Davies


Louis Andriessen

The event is part of the UK-Russia Year of Music organized by the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Moscow with the support of the British Council.


Paraorchestra is the world’s first large-scale integrated virtuoso ensemble of professional disabled and non-disabled musicians.

Their mission is to redefine what an orchestra can be. They see it as an extraordinary and perfectly synchronized body of instruments that draws on the tradition of centuries but is enriched and expanded by the talents, the instruments and the zeitgeist of the twenty-first century.

The visible participation of talented disabled and non-disabled musicians playing old and new repertoire, that includes digital or assistive instruments alongside traditional ones, is a step-change in the world of orchestral music. This new “breed” of orchestra belongs at rock festivals just as much as in a concert hall; reaching the broadest range of audiences.

Artistic Director, Charles Hazlewood, has always been drawn to developing work that can reach out to the widest range of audiences. This unique collaborative approach to high-octane music-making is challenging worldwide perceptions of the status of disabled musicians in classical performance, and of classical music itself.




Free admission with advance registration

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