U.K. orchestra forms to help recovering addicts maintain sobriety

Posted on: July 13, 2016

“In 2014, director Molly Mathieson created Addicts’ Symphony, a one-off Channel 4 documentary in which 10 recovering addicts put on a musical performance with the London Symphony Orchestra,” writes Kathryn Bromwich in Sunday’s (7/10) Guardian (London). “The programme focused on musician James McConnel, a recovering alcoholic, who lost his 18-year-old son to a heroin overdose, and Mathieson saw how playing helped him through the healing process. This led her to found New Note Orchestra, a Brighton-based group for people recovering from alcohol and substance misuse that has met weekly since last October. They spend 10-12 weeks composing a piece of music together that is then performed in front of an audience.… ‘We’ve got a really eclectic mix of instruments, so it’s somewhere between experimental classical music and rock,’ [Mathieson says].… The orchestra … is deliberately inclusive: anyone, from beginners to professional musicians, is welcome and rehearsals don’t require players to be able to read music.” Says Mathieson, “I was surprised at how successful it’s been so quickly. There have been small relapses, but of all the musicians we’ve got, every single one has maintained their recovery, and they say the orchestra is a vital part of that.”

Posted July 13, 2016