LSO works with addicts for new documentary

Ten musicians who are recovering from addiction will feature in a new British documentary.

Addicts’ Symphony, which will air on Channel 4 in late August, follows musicians whose lives have been blighted by alcohol and drug abuse.

The project was spearheaded by composer and musician James McConnel, a recovering alcoholic whose son also died of a heroin overdose aged 18.

The documentary follows the musicians as they work towards a performance with the London Symphony Orchestra, and explores the restorative potential of music. The participants include a cellist whose career was nearly destroyed by her drink and drug problem, and a heroin addict hoping to improve his relationship with his daughter.

Read: How arts projects in prisons cut reoffending rates

John Hay, Channel 4’s commissioning editor for arts, said: ‘It’s not often that we get a glimpse into the world of middle-class addiction and we’re enormously grateful to all the people who took part in this film for sharing their stories with us in such an honest, fearless and compassionate way. It’s an incredibly moving watch.’

The LSO’s Paul Rissmann, who provided the music direction for Addicts’ Symphony, said: ‘I am lost in admiration for each member’s courage, honesty and creativity. Uniting 10 people from diverse musical genres and in different stages of recovery was a considerable challenge, but over the course of eight weeks each member of the orchestra found a distinctive and highly personal voice.

‘The performance at LSO St Luke’s (pictured) was one of the most musically rewarding and emotional concerts I have witnessed. It is a testament as to how music not only touches us, but can also transform lives.’

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