The History of New Note Orchestra

An introduction by Molly Mathieson the Founder and Chief Executive of New Note Orchestra.

New Note Orchestra was inspired by the Channel 4 documentary ‘Addicts’ Symphony’.  I created the TV show after  spending time with renowned musician James McConnel.  James was a recovering alcoholic and his life took a terrible turn after his son Freddy was found dead from a heroin overdose at the age of 18.  James had used music in his own recovery and was also using it as a way to heal the pain of his son’s death.  I became interested in how music can heal people’s lives and the idea for Addicts’ Symphony was developed.  Addicts’ Symphony saw James McConnel work with ten participants for two months, building towards a concert with the London Symphony Orchestra.  He worked alongside the world renowned animateur Paul Rissman who helped the musicians compose their own symphony titled ‘Rhapsody For The Tamed’.  They showcased this with the LSO in front of an audience of 4000 people.  It had an 80% success rate in helping the musicians stay clean and sober.  The night of the concert changed my life and I was determined to take the success of the TV show and create the UK’s first recovery orchestra”. 

  • Testimonial
    James McConnel - the inspiration behind Addicts Symphony

    “My son was an extremely talented musician and his life was cut tragically short because of his addiction. I was determined to try and help as many musicians as possible to not make the same mistake. Addicts’ Symphony helped the participants beyond my expectations”.

  • Testimonial
    Rachael - Cellist

    “Being in Addicts’ Symphony was trans formative - it changed my life. Coming together and playing with other addicts meant I could be 100% myself. I learned to accept myself.”

  • Testimonial
    Melissa Fewtrell-Graham violinist.

    “I came out of rehab and thought ‘what now? Playing in Addicts’ Symphony was fundamental to my recovery. After coming out of rehab I needed a purpose. Playing alongside the other addicts was a big reason for taking part. This was a safe environment.”

Gallery of ‘Addicts’ Symphony’.