Our Connections work brings together the various strands of the Orchestra’s social and community engagement work.
OSJ’s objective of reaching broad and diverse audiences goes back to the orchestra’s earliest days. For over 50 years, we have sought not only to offer innovative concert programmes of the highest artistic quality, but simultaneously to find bold, creative ways of engaging and working with people and communities who are often excluded from music and music-making. Crossing many boundaries, the scope of our Connections work is local, national and international. OSJ’s Connections activities encompass ongoing programmes and one-off individual projects.
Our ongoing programmes focus on education and wellbeing. They include our acclaimed and long-running Music for Autism, where children and young people with autism are introduced to professionally performed classical music in an informal and accessible environment where individual differences are celebrated, as well as the newly initiated Serenading, a positive response to the Covid19 pandemic which takes live music, safely, into hospitals and mental health wards.
OSJ is committed to supporting young musicians and nurturing their talent: our Young Artists Scheme provides the opportunity.
Many of our individual projects are led by OSJ’s Associate Conductor, Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey, and have a strong focus on inter-cultural connections and partnerships and on working co-creatively to diversify music production. Through these projects we break down barriers to participation by exploring new creative horizons and empowering the individuals with whom we work to contribute to creating imaginative new orchestral compositions and to give performances of the highest artistic quality.
Recent initiatives have ranged from working with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in projects such as Displaced Voices (2018) and Journey: Bridging Cultures Through Music (2020), to the Afghan Women’s Orchestra week-long UK residency in 2019.
Heart to Heart is a Korean youth symphony orchestra for musicians with developmental disabilities. Initially founded to increase access to music, the orchestra has been successfully performing for 13 years to improve social understanding for people with disabilities. In September 2020 Heart to Heart was planning to travel to the UK for three days of music making side by side with the professional musicians of OSJ. Sadly, this had to be cancelled, but we hope to resurrect the project in the future.
Young Artists Scheme
We employ young professional musicians as soloists in many of our concerts.
‘We fully appreciate you every week and enjoy the different instruments that you all play. Without fail every Wednesday one of our guys asks ‘Are the music people coming today?’ Thank you all once again you are making a big difference at this difficult time. Please continue with your great work.’
Kathy McKee and everyone at Evenlode ward, Littlemore
Journey – Bridging Cultures
Our current project with students at Oxford Spires Academy