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RNS Moves, a unique ensemble of musicians with and without disabilities, to perform at CoMA

Posted on 17 January 2020

RNS Moves Credit Mark Savage small

Clarence Adoo was a trumpet player for Royal Northern Sinfonia before he was left paralysed from the neck down following a car accident in 1995. He now continues to play music using his electronic Headspace instrument.

We spoke with Clarence about the latest music ensemble he’s part of, RNS Moves, which rehearses and performs here at Sage Gateshead. RNS Moves is a unique, inclusive ensemble which brings together musicians with and without disabilities, featuring members of Royal Northern Sinfonia performing alongside colleagues including Clarence.

Royal Northern Sinfonia is a world-class orchestra and it’s a real challenge to be in an ensemble that is playing at that level for me physically. Mentally, it’s really rewarding. 

“RNS Moves came about because the orchestra wanted to work with Candoco Dance Company, a mix of able-bodied and disabled dancers, and the director here thought ‘is it possible, that musically, we could match that?’. So he chatted to me and we came together with this dance company and had an amazing, wonderful time with these fantastic dancers and a great combination of six or seven RNS players and a few of my disabled friends who we brought in to be part of that ensemble. As an ensemble we really enjoyed ourselves and the challenges we had of bringing the ensemble together. Everyone who came to hear us thought it was special. Out of that project came RNS Moves. 

“So far there are no musical limits to our repertoire and what we can achieve or arrange between us. It’s quite an eclectic group of instruments. As a group we’ve sometimes played with four string players, an oboe player, a modern Headspace (offering a kind of electronic synthesiser sound or harpsichord), a saxophone and an electric guitar. Where the interest lies is how we take music that is well-known and adapt it ourselves. We connect our modern inclusive building and instruments to the music from several years ago.

“It’s not really known around the world to have a combination of disabled musicians playing with able-bodied musicians of this standard, mainly because of the challenges. The ensemble had to think of the structure it had for rehearsing and venues etc., and some of the traditional working ways of a conventional orchestra have had to be broken down and changed; there has been incredible flexibility.

This is a real beacon of high-quality playing, unique around the world. We’ve created an inclusive group. It doesn’t matter whether someone has a disability – music makes a connection to all of us and people can create on all different levels.”


RNS Moves will perform at Sage Gateshead on Saturday 7 March at 7pm as part of CoMA Festival of Contemporary Music for All.  The concert is free but ticketed.

For full details of the festival, including a chamber concert RNS: Listening a World,  a New Music Trail in venues around the Ouseburn, and vocal and instrumental workshops visit


For further information, interviews or images please contact:

Gaynor Ellis, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

  1. E. T. 0191 443 4690

Emily Taylor, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

  1. E. T. 0191 443 4617 M. 07793 762 879



Notes to editors:

Mini celebrations happen daily, here at Sage Gateshead as we see and hear the difference music makes to people from all walks of life. We continually strive to reach more and more people of all ages and backgrounds through music, giving them exciting and in many cases, life-changing experiences of the highest quality. We love to tell the stories of those who have really connected with us and have found happiness and inspiration through music. Last December we celebrated our 15th anniversary and to mark this, we’re going to share some of the stories of people who have been influenced in some way by Sage Gateshead and the work that takes place here.

Listen to Clarence’s interview on Sage Gateshead’s 15th anniversary podcast here

(Clarence’s interview alone can also be found here: )

Sage Gateshead

We present around 400 events and festivals each year for a live audience of 350,000, 6 million people hear our work via stream or broadcast and 500,000 visit our building, often national and international visitors. Each year we support over 100 musicians through our artist development programme and we work with 30,000 children and young people and 20,000 adults in our creative learning programme.

We are home to the acclaimed Royal Northern Sinfonia as well as our popular, annual festivals SummerTyne Americana and Folk on the Tyne. We are dedicated to supporting emerging artists, as well as established names, offering residencies such as our Summer Studio and Folkworks Summer Schools.

Alongside our music performance and learning offer, our iconic building, designed by Foster & Partners, provides the perfect venue to over 100 conferences and events a year.

As a charity, the financial support we receive from Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, Arts Council England and our donors helps to ensure everyone in the community can experience the joys of music. Positioned as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation, our continued ambition for the future is to work to significantly to increase the number and range of people connected with music.

In our first decade, our economic impact was £283 million. We are for audiences, for artists, for the North and for the long-term. Everything we do is guided by our values: Creative, Diverse, Focused, Leading, Responsible.

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.