About OrchLab

OrchLab supports music-making and music appreciation with disabled adults. We do this through workshops, accessible instruments and tech, bespoke web activities, training and events.  

Now in its second three-year phase, OrchLab is run by the London Philharmonic Orchestra in partnership with Drake Music, experts in music, disability and technology.  

Community Partner Activity

Each year, we work with two OrchLab Community Partner organisations. Community Partners take part in OrchLab workshops throughout the year, receive training on OrchLab web resources, and work with us on tailored legacy plans for the future of their music-making.  

In OrchLab workshops participants create music with members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra inspired by the Orchestra’s live recordings. They use recorded samples, assistive technology, iPad apps and traditional percussion instruments. In this way, participants immerse themselves in the Orchestra’s music, while making it their own.  

OrchLab also includes the development of brand new accessible instruments, which we design and build in response to our OrchLab Community Partner participants’ access needs.

We are delighted to be working with Garwood Foundation in Croydon and St Cecilia’s Leonard Cheshire service in Bromley as our Community Partners for 2020.

Online Resources

We share resources on this website to allow OrchLab’s inclusive music-making to reach a wider audience. There are free interactive activities, games and insights into classical music designed for disability settings.  

For OrchLab Community Partners, the website also offers a social platform (My OrchLab) to build the OrchLab community. Our Partners can share comments, photos and videos of their musical journeys.

Open Events

As well as activity with our Community Partners, there are also opportunities for any disabled adults, or organisations who support disabled adults, to get involved.  Each year we run a free Open Web training session on our OrchLab web resources for staff who support disabled adults.  This is open to everyone working in disability settings.

We also celebrate music-making and collaboration at our annual OrchLab Festival day at the LPO’s home at the Southbank Centre. This fun and creative day is free to attend for disabled adults and disability organisations.  

Find out more on our Open Events page

OrchLab Partners

London Philharmonic Orchestra

The London Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the world’s finest orchestras.  There are around 80 musicians in our Orchestra, and we have a long and distinguished history, but also have a reputation as one of the UK’s most adventurous and forward-looking orchestras.  The LPO was founded in 1932 by Sir Thomas Beecham, and since then has been headed by many great names in the conducting world. Our current Principal Conductor is Vladimir Jurowski.  

The LPO is one of the resident orchestras at the Southbank Centre, where we perform many concerts all year round, as well as having a residency at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in the summer. We work with internationally renowned conductors, instrumentalists and singers and frequently tour abroad. We’re in the US and China every 2 years and regularly visit Spain, Germany, France and other countries in Europe.

The Orchestra often records for film – so you might have already heard us. Amongst many soundtracks we have recorded are The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit and Iron Man 3. In the summer of 2012 we performed as part of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames, and were also chosen to record all the world’s national anthems for the London 2012 Olympics!

Through our Education and Community department we work with schools, families and adults in the community, through concerts, workshops and online resources, and projects like OrchLab. We also run schemes for the orchestral musicians and composers of tomorrow through our Junior Artists, Foyle Future Firsts and Young Composer programmes. 

Drake Music

Drake music workshop  photo

Drake Music is a charity. We work with Disabled people to make music. That includes performing, learning different instruments, building new kinds of instruments, playing music in a group and composing. We are a group of disabled and non-disabled people working together and we have been doing this for over 25 years. We like to experiment, try out new things and have fun.

We believe that music is important for everyone. Music gives us the chance to express ourselves and share feelings and ideas. We know that people have different abilities and challenges when making music. We want to make it possible for everyone to give it a try. 

We do this in lots of different ways:

  • We build new types of instrument using new technology
  • We train teachers to work with young disabled musicians and we support schools and music organisations to be inclusive 
  • We learn about new ways to make music with technology (like using an app on an iPad)
  • We run music-making sessions and groups with people of all ages
  • We work with professional disabled musicians to develop creative projects, skills and instruments
  • We share what we learn about making music inclusive via events, social media and our website

Non-disabled people can make music in many ways. We want the same for disabled people. We want equal opportunities for everyone to make music.

Project partners