Wiltshire Music Centre announced as new host of national disability arts festival

Over its 20 year history, Wiltshire Music Centre has become a leading provider of high quality music participation activities for disabled people. Wiltshire Music Centre’s award-winning monthly music and film workshop for young learning-disabled adults, Zone Club, is recognised as one of the best models of arts participatory practice for people with learning disabilities in the country and, in 2016, was the winner of the highly prized Liquid Media Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Health in Wiltshire.

This year we are delighted to be expanding and publicly celebrating this work in Fast Forward Festival, a national disability arts festival that celebrates creativity and challenges expectations around disability and music.

Launched by Bristol Music Trust in 2015, the Festival has showcased trailblazing initiatives such as the National Open Youth Orchestra, the world’s first disabled-led national youth orchestra, the British Paraorchestra and Extraordinary Bodies.

At Fast Forward 2017, Bristol Music Trust announced their plans to create a National Centre for Inclusive Excellence at Colston Hall, featuring new accessible performance and learning spaces and a state-of-the-art music technology suite, as part of the £48.8 million redevelopment. With Colston Hall closed for redevelopment until 2020, Fast Forward finds a new home this year in Wiltshire Music Centre, as part of the Centre’s 20th Anniversary celebrations.

Wiltshire Music Centre works with some of the worlds most celebrated artists, including renowned classical, folk, jazz and world musicians, such as international pianist Joanna MacGregor, jazz legend Courtney Pine, award-winning orchestra City of London Sinfonia and Irish folk band Altan. The Centre presents over 160 concerts a year and works with its visiting artists to deliver an innovative Creative Learning programme in the community, providing musical participation and progression opportunities for people of all ages and abilities across the county and beyond.

“Wiltshire Music Centre’s vision is to maximise the opportunities for live music to inspire, enrich and transform people’s lives. We are extremely proud to present Fast Forward 2018 and celebrate some of the transformational projects and inspirational artists and practitioners helping to realise that vision for young disabled people in classrooms, communities and concert halls.” – Maud Saint-Sardos, Chief Executive of Wiltshire Music Centre

The three-day festival (23-25 November 2018), which begins with an Industry Symposium, will include a performance by Wiltshire special schools and BSO Resound, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s new disabled-led ensemble; the performance will be the culmination of a two-month Creative Learning project providing nine music workshops in three local schools.

Headlining the Festival, musical savant Derek Paravicini will take audience requests for an evening of impromptu piano performances, preceded by a Keynote Lecture from Derek’s mentor, composer and veteran music teacher, Adam Ockelford.

The Festival’s finale will offer an Interactive Creative Day led by Zone Club, Wiltshire Music Centre’s monthly music group for young learning-disabled adults, and special guest artists from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.