Association of British Orchestras

Music and Health

British orchestras have been working in a variety of health settings for over 25 years, these range from work in hospitals, hospital schools and hospices, to care homes, adult day centres, stroke rehabilitation, adults and young people’s mental health services and work with people living with dementia.

In 2020/21 the ABO worked with Sarah Derbyshire, Orchestras Live and Matthew Swann (then) City of London Sinfonia on a survey of ABO member orchestras, looking at their work in the health and social care sectors. The resulting report, ‘Orchestras in Healthcare’, is available to download here.

The ABO is a strategic member of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA): In 2022 the CHWA published a report of a six-month project funded by the Baring Foundation, to understand how we might help more people and organisations using creativity to support mental health to survive and thrive. The report, ‘From surviving to thriving: Building a model for sustainable practice in creativity and mental health’ is available to download here.

The ABO’s Music & Health working group is a collection of orchestras and music organisations who have come together to share experience and information, to work with academic colleagues towards a shared language for the evaluation and value of this work, to raise profile, to develop the workforce and to encourage and inspire others.

Download an overview of activity. This document will be updated regularly.

Related information

Orchestras in Healthcare (2021)

Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing

Partnerships for Recovery Musicians in Residence (2008-2017)

Bingo to Bartok: Creative and Innovative Approaches to involving older people with Orchestras

Annual Conference

The next ABO conference will take place in Bristol,
hosted by Bristol Beacon, from 24-26 January 2024.