RNS Moves is a unique, inclusive ensemble which brings together musicians with and without disabilities to rehearse and perform here at Sage Gateshead. The group features members of Royal Northern Sinfonia performing alongside disabled musicians, including Clarence Adoo.
Clarence was a trumpet player in Royal Northern Sinfonia before he was left paralysed from the neck down following a car accident. He now continues to play music using his electronic Headspace instrument. Here Clarence describes his involvement with RNS Moves, and what it has meant to him personally and professionally:
“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 is really rewarding.”
RNS Moves came out of a join project with Candoco Dance Company, a world-leading professional dance company which includes disabled and non-disabled dancers. RNS players wanted to learn about their inclusive practise, and explore whether as a group it was possible to match this musically.
“We had an amazing, wonderful time with these fantastic dancers plus 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 a group of musicians 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, and the group was launched as a more regular ensemble during the RNS Big Birthday Bash in 2018, as part of the orchestra’s 60th Anniversary celebrations.
“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 instrument (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 and inclusive building and instruments to the music from years ago, alongside new commissions and specially composed works.”
“It is extremely rare across the world to have a combination of disabled musicians playing with able-bodied musicians of this standard, mainly because of the practical challenges. The ensemble had to think of the structure it has 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 if someone has a disability – music makes a connection to all of us and people can create on all levels.”
Since its inception, RNS Move has performed five times at Sage Gateshead. We have also auditioned nationwide to find more professional disabled musicians to join the pool of players for the group. The next stage is for RNS Moves to perform more regularly as part of our programme, and to work with national and international partners on larger collaborations and commissions.
Hear from our musicians
Listen to our musicians discussing RNS Moves on a recent BBC Radio 4 interview. They discuss the group’s aims and methods, and their individually experiences.
Click the button and head to 38m52s to listen.Listen Now