A pioneering music project, involving Derby-based orchestra of the East Midlands Sinfonia Viva, has been shortlisted for a national award.

‘Creative Journeys’ has been a partnership between Orchestras Live, Essex County Council Cultural Development team, Sinfonia Viva, Green Candle, Age Exchange,  Magic Me and Anglia Ruskin University.

It has involved creative workshops at care homes in Essex and was designed to develop relationships between older people, care workers and their surrounding communities.

The project has now been shortlisted for the Hearts for the Arts Awards 2019 which is run by the National Campaign for the Arts to celebrate the unsung heroes of local authorities who are championing the arts.

Essex County Council has been earmarked for the awards category celebrating arts projects that encourage community cohesion.

The Viva creative team was led by composer and cellist Sam Glazer, alongside  musicians Shane Brennan and Chris Rutland.

They worked with residents and staff at care homes to create new songs that celebrated aspects of the lives and experiences of the older people, including those living with dementia. 

The artistic team also supported care home staff to integrate music into their social programmes.

Sinfonia Viva Education Manager Marianne Barraclough said: “We are delighted that ‘Creative Journeys’ has been shortlisted for this prestigious award.

“The creative team Sinfonia Viva was integral to the planning and delivery of the project and we look forward to the winners being announced on February 14 following the judging by key arts industry experts.

“Music is often a key part of social activities for older people – particularly those living with dementia - but tends to focus on music from the past to evoke memories.

“This project was special because it enabled the older people and our artistic team working in the moment to share a creative experience rather than dwelling on the past.

“Research by Anglia Ruskin University also showed that ‘Creative Journeys’ was very effective in nurturing social relationships to tackling loneliness and isolation.

“It has helped care home residents to form new relationships; their carers and families have got to know a different side of the residents and they have engaged with local communities at a concert to share their work with local people – performing alongside Viva musicians on stage.”

Orchestras Live and Baring Foundation have also published a report ‘From Bingo to Bartok’ focusing on work underway with older people and has highlighted Creative Journeys as a best practice case study https://baringfoundation.org.uk/resource/from-bingo-to-bartok/

For more information on the shortlisted nominees, visit https://forthearts.org.uk/campaigns/hearts-for-the-arts/


Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102; 07951 945 665; [email protected]

Note to Editors

Grammy-nominated Sinfonia Viva is a virtuoso ensemble delivering original and extraordinary creative musical experiences. Founded in 1982, Sinfonia Viva has a national reputation as a leader in creative music activity in the UK. Its work offers relevant and enriching possibilities for all.


Sinfonia Viva is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. For more information about all of Viva’s other performances, visit the website, www.vivaorch.co.uk