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“It was off the scale, Open Orchestras exceeded anything that our young people have ever had the opportunity to achieve.” Fiona Richings, Head Teacher, Baytree School, Weston-super-Mare

Open Orchestras was created in 2013 to address a lack of ensemble musical provision in Special schools. Originally piloted at six schools in the South-West during 2013-15, Open Orchestras has been carefully developed through participatory design with young disabled musicians, teachers and music leaders. It’s an award-winning, game-changing programme that provides everything needed – instruments, repertoire and training, to empower Music Hubs and Special schools across the UK to set up and run their own orchestra sustainably, just like mainstreams schools do. Open Orchestras is available by annual subscription.


Open Orchestras is brought to you by Open Up Music, a charity dedicated to opening up music to young disabled people. In 2018, we launched the National Open Youth Orchestra. 

There’s a friendly team behind Open Orchestras. Here’s a few of us:

  • Barry Farrimond MBE


    Chief Executive

    Back in 2013, Barry and Doug developed the first Open Orchestras pilots in response to the lack of ensemble music opportunities in special schools at the time. A respected music technologist, he is also behind the development of the award-winning Clarion accessible instrument, beautifully played by many Open Orchestras musicians.

  • Doug Bott

    Doug Bott

    Artistic Director

    Doug used his extensive experience as an arts and education leader to build our ground-breaking training programme, the foundation of Open Orchestras. Driven by a passion for greater opportunity, diversity, inclusion and representation in music, he is also responsible for the Open Orchestras repertoire.

  • Jonathan Westrup

    Jonathan Westrup

    Programme Manager

    Jonathan has worked with disabled young people in music education for over a decade, and was Music Leader for an Open Orchestra for several years. He leads Open Orchestras training and events, creating as many opportunities as possible for our community to keep learning together.

  • Kate Duffy


    Programme Officer

    Kate makes sure you get the information you need when you need it! She works alongside Jonathan, assisting you with all things Open Orchestras.

Our Funders

Open Orchestras is offered as a subscription service to Music Education Hubs, arts organisations and schools. We also subsidise the overall cost of the Open Orchestras programme to us, through donations, sponsorship and grant funding. This keeps the subscription fee as low as possible, ensuring affordability and sustainability for subscribers, which enables more young people to benefit from this transformational programme every year.

If you would like to discuss opportunities to collaborate, support us or see our work first-hand, please email our Trusts and Foundations manager Alison at [email protected], or call her on 07449789334.

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  • The Northwick Trust
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Open Orchestras is brought to you by OpenUp Music, a charity that empowers young disabled musicians to build inclusive youth orchestras. Our programmes have received a range of prestigious awards…