Drake Music Official response statement to the Press


The Lost Age profile pic Drake Music’s official response statement to recent media interest in our planned Concerto project and some of the difficulties we have experienced with a TV production company and a conductor/broadcaster.



Drake Music is the only organisation in England specialising in the use of assistive music technology to break down – physical/societal – barriers to participation. We provide previously unimagined access to music and the arts, offering a wide range of high quality, lifelong-learning opportunities.

We want to nurture, support, create and promote a rich and diverse artistic offer, developed with and for disabled people. The more music opportunities for disabled musicians and artists – both professional and amateur – the better. The fact that Charles Hazlewood has decided to establish an ‘integrated disabled orchestra’ (in his words) is in itself a positive development. However, it is disappointing to learn that Charles and What Larks have effectively appropriated Drake Music’s original ideas for Concerto and are now presenting these as if they are their own.

Over the past few years, Drake Music has done much of the groundwork for Concerto, which features a new work specially composed for an orchestra of disabled, deaf and non-disabled musicians. We developed new partnerships and assembled a strong, diverse artistic team (who are now, as we just discovered, being approached by What Larks and Charles for Paraorchestra).

It is of some concern that Charles and What Larks have not attributed the concept for the project they plan to develop for television to Drake Music at the very least. It would have been courteous and entirely appropriate.

In an email to Drake Music’s chief executive following a meeting earlier this year and concerns raised by Drake Music, What Larks’ director states that:

”We [herself and Charles] understand very clearly, that the idea was yours – it is this idea we are interested in, not any other. I’m sure once the artistic group meet, new ideas will also come to play and that process of evolution is very exciting. We totally respect your concern that the integrity of the project stays in tact.”

Drake Music, as a small disability-focussed arts organisation with limited resources, may now find itself having to compete with a fairly well-known broadcaster/conductor and a TV production company to secure additional funding for Concerto. Charles Hazlewood’s/What Larks’ Paraorchestra project bears a very close resemblance to Drake Music’s Concerto.

It is interesting to note that Charles Hazlewood, having walked out of the Concerto collaboration with Drake Music following fundamental differences of opinion (including in relation to his suggested name of Para-Concerto), subsequently invites our team to take part in his ‘Paraorchestra’ project.

Drake Music’s commitment will always be to ensure that any new commission is of high quality and does justice to the musical motivations, abilities and achievements of everyone involved, be they disabled or non-disabled. We want to create a national platform for professional, semi-professional and amateur disabled musicians to gain a measure of prominence.  Our intention is to devise a framework for performance and participation which is truly inclusive, inspiring and which demonstrates that (physical/societal) barriers can be removed to create a level playing field.

Drake Music will not be able to work with Charles Hazlewood on ‘Paraorchestra’ but we wish him good luck with his new venture.  Given the current situation and Charles’s desire to occupy the large-scale territory, Drake Music’s artistic team will channel its vision and energies into devising a smaller-scale, thought-provoking new piece for performance.