New Note Orchestra

    Research output: Non-textual outputPerformance


    Conall Gleeson, a composer and research musician, devised and led workshops through which collaborative musical works were developed by New Note Orchestra (NNO), a music-creation initiative for people with challenges related to recovery from drug and substance abuse. The primary pieces are ‘Solace’, first performed in 2017, and ‘A Sense of Place’, first performed in 2018.

    Working with NNO, the research investigated the therapeutic benefits of collaborative composition in order to establish a set of practices and frameworks that can be modelled. The enquiry examined recovery as experienced by members of the orchestra through directing them to create and perform musical works. The workshops were inclusive and focused on developing listening skills, rather than instrumental performance skills, to encourage the orchestra members to compose their own scores. Gleeson conducted interviews and made films with participants in order to qualitatively assess the benefits of participation in the community orchestra during recovery from addiction.

    The study provided insights into the distinctive roles of performance and composition in the recovery process: collaborative composition was shown to provide an opportunity to explore identities, build confidence and restore a sense of control and achievement in sufferers’ lives; and the research demonstrated the importance of performance in front of live audiences, validating work and commitment by participants and offering a means to communicate directly with their communities and health professionals, helping change perceptions about the realities of living with drug addiction. The performances also served to provide audiences with a model of recovery that was celebratory and empowering to its participants.

    In addition to the performed works, findings of the research have been published in a co-authored journal article (2019).
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationSt Luke's Church, Prestonville, Brighton, UK
    Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2017


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