UK orchestra is declared ‘dementia friendly’

UK orchestra is declared ‘dementia friendly’


norman lebrecht

November 30, 2017

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has won a National Dementia Friendly Award.

Dougie Scarfe Chief Executive of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra said: “We could not be more proud and honoured to win Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Organisation of the year. The award is an outstanding tribute to the superb work of the BSO team in using music to empower the lives of those living with dementia and their careers and families.

“It’s really important for us to engage with all members of the community and if you are no longer able to attend our concerts or the symphony hall then it is important to us that your relationship with BSO does not end. For us the power of music is all encompassing even if you have lost the ability to communicate in some way, music is an absolute combined communication force.”

Over the last 12 months the BSO has embedded working with people living with dementia at the heart of their practice. They have delivered 92 separate sessions to 3,243 people engaged aged from 5 months to 100 years old. This work has manifested itself in many ways from people living in the community to those in residential and hospital care.



  • John Borstlap says:

    Beautiful news. I always thought that classical music and symphony orchestras in particular were dementia friendly. The time for the many concerti grossi of Joachim Alzheimer has finally come.

  • Bruce says:

    This is very cool.

    My mother has dementia. She was never a musician but always liked classical music. She can’t remember much, but she can still sing along with classical pieces that she knew before. (Also the lyrics of complicated songs like “Begin the Beguine”) Playing music keeps her calm & cheerful, which is good for her and very helpful for my dad.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Music – esp. classical music – appears to reach much deeper layers in the psyche than language or conscious thoughts and also seems to have the effect of slowing-down dementia and other brain afflictions…. it is the ‘language’ of the soul, not of the intellect. This means that there IS something like a soul, and that music is more than its sound: it carries psychological/emotional meaning. It is a consolation in such heartwrenching situations, wish you much strength.

  • Annette says:

    This is so powerful and positive. Bravo Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for changing people’s lives.