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Tuning Up is Britten Sinfonia’s ground-breaking programme, bringing orchestral music making into the prison setting at HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire.

The project was initiated by criminal justice organisation Lemos & Crane, in partnership with Orchestras Live and Britten Sinfonia. Following a number of successful iterations of the project, Britten Sinfonia is continuing to develop this relationship with HMP Whitemoor.

“It makes such a huge difference to the men and to us. For that small window, we’re not on opposite sides of the fence, we are equals just making music.”
Anthony Bodnar, Custodial Manager, HMP Whitemoor

In our 2023 project Britten Sinfonia gave an initial chamber music concert for a group of prison residents to demonstrate the instruments that would be on offer to them. Following this, each resident decided on an instrument to learn.

Our musicians ran weekly sessions teaching the residents to play and encouraging them to compose their own works inspired by Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The project concluded with a concert performance attended by friends, family and other guests.

We hope to expand on this initiative to provide regular instrumental lessons with professional musicians and ensemble sessions with workshop leader Jason Rowland throughout the year.

“A special moment of the day for me was watching the young daughters of one of our High Risk Category A men. Their dad will most likely never get to attend one of their school concerts or performances, but supporting their bond by allowing them to attend his was really something.”
Ruth Stevens, Governor, HMP Whitemoor

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