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The Rhapsody Project

Tuesday 6 August 2013


RCM composers are creating new bespoke pieces of music designed to help patients at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in their treatment and rehabilitation.

Working with physiotherapists and occupational therapists, Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity has designed an innovative new way of motivating patients: the ‘Rhapsody Project’, delivered in partnership with the RCM’s Woodhouse Professional Development Centre (now Creative Careers Centre), following a successful year of hospital ward performances. Through an audio guide tour developed by Imagineear, the project couples the paintings, sculptures and installations of Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals’ impressive art collection with specially-composed relaxing pieces of music.

The 15 emerging composers selected for the project were chosen from over 250 applicants through a nationwide competition, and include recent RCM graduates Charlotte Harding, Mika Sawai and Marcos Fernandez.

RCM Head of Composition William Mival will be mentoring the composers over the coming months, guiding the development of their compositions and exploring with them the role that art can play in the healing process. RCM musicians will be recording the new works when they are completed later in the year.

These new compositions will draw on the growing body of research that looks at the ways different types of music can impact on health. Physiotherapist Darren Brown believes that the Rhapsody Project is already having a powerful effect, explaining: ‘Without the audio guide, my patient stayed in bed. But the patient and I are using the incentive of the music to go a bit further off the ward each day.’

The project ambassador is the award-winning composer Eric Whitacre, who has said: “I am honoured to support the ground-breaking work of Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity. Their vision to create works of art for the healing environment will provide benefits today and a legacy for the future. This is a tremendous opportunity for young composers to embrace, and a complex challenge. I look forward to hearing their work.”