Impact Review

Our impact

In a normal year, we publish an impact report where we review our activity highlights of the previous 12 months and share our future plans and goals.

The last couple of years have been anything but normal in terms of activity.

We’ve spent the last eighteen months working in very different ways with both our partners and as an organisation. We’ve had to re-design and re-appraise how we deliver our activities with the multitude of communities that we serve. We’ve had to work out new virtual ways of collaborating and working together as a team and Board. We’ve also taken the time to support the sector throughout the pandemic, by providing support and forums for discussion of important and urgent ideas.

So, rather than write a report which will sit on our website gathering virtual dust, we thought we’d do things a bit differently this year, to better reflect how we now communicate.

We sat down with the Chair of our Board, Tony Stoller, and our CEO, Sarah Derbyshire MBE, to ask them to reflect on the last extraordinary 18 months in this film.

They share with us their reflections; discussing the innovative new approaches we’ve taken to projects and the big ideas we’ve discussed with the sector. You’ll also hear them chat about what is next for Orchestras Live, as the communities we work with and the orchestral sector itself, continue to recover from the pandemic.

The film is supported with extra reading below for those who want to dive deeper into the background of projects and topics that Tony and Sarah have discussed.

Innovative Approaches

As an organisation with many partners, we knew immediately that the pandemic was going to have a huge impact on the participants we work with, who would no longer be able to meet, to perform or create live music together.


We worked tirelessly with our partners and communities to co-curate creative solutions to support some of the most vulnerable people.

I think that's what made the piece so special because it was a celebration of diversity

~ Share Sound participant


Big Conversations

We provided leadership for the sector about how to do things differently and demonstrated this by taking decisive and inclusive action ourselves.

We set up our Regenerate series and Tea break conversations as a way to share best practice and learning, and encourage cultural exchange with people from outside the orchestral sector.

We worked with partners to produce the first research into the sector’s contribution to health and wellbeing outcomes across the UK.

One of my hopes is that people will value music much more than before as they've realised what a world without that looks like.

~ Regenerate panellist


Recognition & awards

It’s always encouraging to see our work receive recognition for its excellence, particularly when it supports work that is often side-lined and under-reported by the sector.

Our projects and participants have again been recognised in 2020/21 for their inclusive and innovative approaches.

It just helped me a lot to inspire myself to be […] the best I am really, the best version of me.

~ Destinies participant


What Next?

In 2022, we’ll be building on the legacy from our work during the pandemic. This includes playing a leading role in the sector making sure positive change continues to happen in the areas of inclusion, sustainability, community co-creation and developing innovative touring solutions for orchestras and promoters.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You lifted me out of a dark place and back into the light.

~ Buxton Festival July 2021 - Audience Feedback


Thank you

We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from our funders and partners during the pandemic. In particular, for the financial support we received from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, Arts Council England, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Scops Arts Trust, The Foyle Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation / Weston Culture Fund, which allowed our vital work to continue.