The partnership will research the impact of the programme and offer students placements on other live music projects around Hull.

A group of people including some holding musical instruments
Stroke rehabilitation patients with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra musicians

The University of Hull is to partner with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) on a range of community projects, including the expansion of a musical programme to support people recovering from strokes.

Research staff from the university’s music department will spend three years assessing the impact of Strokestra, a project developed by the RPO with Hull’s community stroke service, providing musical activities to improve mobility, flexibility, communication and wellbeing.

University students will also be offered work placements on the programme, which began as a pilot in 2015 and is now set to grow across Hull to reach 300 new participants.

Formalising a connection

The partnership formalises an increasingly close relationship between the RPO and Hull University. Over the past two years, students have been able to learn from professional musicians through initiatives such as masterclasses and an open rehearsal scheme.

This activity will be developed under the new agreement, alongside new offers of career insight, ensemble coaching and one-to-one tuition, and opportunities to gain practical orchestral recording experiences at RPO rehearsals and concerts.

Students will also be offered placements on live music events and other RPO community projects around the city. A spokesperson said this would provide them with “invaluable insight” into the creative sector and help develop their creative leadership, design and project management skills.

In addition, the university will work with the RPO to evaluate data acquired from Hull’s year as UK City of Culture and establish a shared set of objectives for audience development for classical and orchestral music.

James Williams, Managing Director at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, said: “The University of Hull has established itself as the torch-bearer for culture and innovation in the city and our partnership will play an important role in developing opportunities for students, staff and Hull’s wider communities to deepen their engagement with the RPO via its diverse programmes of activity.”

Professor Glenn Burgess, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hull, stressed the potential for students outside of the music faculty to benefit from work placements with the local authority stroke services on the Strokestra project.

“The opportunities that this partnership will offer our students are unparalleled and will give them unique experiences and an opportunity to learn from world-class musicians,” he said.