Featured Orchestras & Ensembles

The British Paraorchestra

The British Paraorchestra is the world’s first professional ensemble of disabled musicians.

Founded by British conductor Charles Hazlewood and television director Claire Whalley in January 2012, the British Paraorchestra is pioneering a global movement to recognise and showcase disabled musicians with extraordinary abilities. Its mission is to end the limitations placed on them, not by their physical ability, but by lack of opportunity. Just as the Paralympics have achieved so effectively in sport, the British Paraorchestra is shifting perceptions of disability and disabled people by creating a visible platform for gifted disabled musicians to perform and excel at the highest level.

“I conduct orchestras around the world, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of musicians with a disability I have encountered anywhere. There is no platform for musicians with disability, very little in the way of funding -and therefore access to the often-necessary technologies: it is virtually impossible for anyone from this community to make a living as a professional musician."

Charles Hazlewood

Charles Hazlewood has been a relentless advocate for broadening access to orchestral music worldwide, and in all the years he has toured the world working with orchestras, he realised almost none had a single disabled musician.

The Aims of the British Paraorchestra

  • To create professional, world-class opportunities for talented disabled musicians to perform as part of a ground-breaking ensemble
  • To increase the profile and visibility of disabled musicians on the world stage
  • To generate exciting new performance opportunities and collaborations for the Paraorchestra in an eclectic range of musical styles and contexts
  • To challenge perceptions of disability and remove barriers to music-making for disabled musicians
  • To encourage greater investment in the development of pioneering assistive technology for disabled musicians

National Youth Orchestra of Wales

We are delighted to support the NYOW by providing its most recently appointed leader Bethan Allmand with a violin for the duration of her role as leader.  Bethan visited the shop in 2013 to select her instrument, a Casper Strnad, 1812. 

“It is fantastic that Cardiff Violins are supporting the Orchestra in this way. The role of the Leader is an important one, they often play a number of solos within a concert and they need an instrument of sufficient quality to enable those solos to sing through an orchestra of the size of NYOW.”

Matthew Jones (NYAW Manager – Youth Music)

“'Cardiff Violins are delighted to support Bethan and the NYOW and look forward to many happy years of association”

Christopher King (Cardiff Violins)

“I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to play on the violin that Cardiff Violins have generously lent to me in partnership with the NYOW. I chose it because of its warm, rich sound and beautiful overtones. It was made by Casper Strnad in the Czech Republic in 1812. I look forward to playing it during the NYOW course and for it to continue to aid my studies in September with Yossi Zivoni at the Royal College of Music”

Bethan Allmand (Leader, NYOW)

From NYOW website:

As the first national youth orchestra in the world, the NYOW has 65 years experience in providing a first-class training experience for Wales’ young musicians and constantly delivers performances that are full of energy and passion. It is a flagship for youth music in Wales.

The NYOW presents concerts in prestigious venues across the UK and abroad, including; St David's Hall (Cardiff), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), NCH (Dublin), The Sage Gateshead, Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt (Berlin), Beethovensaal (Stuttgart), the Salle Erasmus (Strasbourg) and on the Italian island of Ischia. It is frequently invited to perform at prestigious international music festivals including the Three Choirs Festival, Fishguard International Festival and the North Wales International Music Festival.