Hear and Now

Hear and Now is our award-winning intergenerational community project.

Hear and Now unites young and old in music making, movement, poetry and spoken word.  We have developed the project over the past 10 years with specialist partners in Bedford and Leicester.

“Thank you for this amazing experience. It feels absolutely awesome to be a part of something that is so much more than the sum of its parts. Everyone was so lovely and I feel we created something that crossed the boundaries of love and happiness in a merging of generations and new and old talents.”

Carer and Hear and Now participant, 2022


Hear and Now 2022

Revisit our 2022 Hear and Now project featuring dance artist Serena Williams from our previous Artists in Residence, House of Absolute.

About the project

Hear and Now is a unique musical collaboration between older people living with dementia and their carers, young singers and instrumentalists from grassroots community organisations, and members of the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Through a series of workshops, participants contribute spoken and musical ideas, emotions, movement, memories and ambitions. This creative process provides a therapeutic element for participants living with dementia, improves understanding and communication with younger participants, and enables isolated people to build valuable relationships with others from their local community.

Through facilitated discussions on stereotypes, memory, and shared language between different generations and cultures, combined with creative music workshops, participants provide the inspiration for, and directly contribute to, the music and performance elements of the final piece.


Hear and Now: Collection

When the pandemic struck in 2020, we developed a brand new online project to continue sharing our stories, laughter and music despite lockdown.

Key features

A platform for participants to create their own original music, lyrics and movement via discussion, reminiscence and creative workshops.

Mentorship opportunities and peer-to-peer support.

A collaborative, safe environment in which to share experience and challenge stereotypes.

Young instrumentalists receive coaching from Philharmonia musicians, and play side-by-side with members of the Philharmonia in performance.

An associated research project with University of Bedfordshire to assess the impact of working intergenerationally on the health and well-being of participants and professional artists – a sector-leading initiative among UK orchestras – was published in spring 2020.

Research project with the University of Bedfordshire

In 2019, the University of Bedfordshire undertook a small-scale research project investigating the effects of taking part in Hear and Now on the wellbeing of participants, carers, artists and facilitators. Through focus groups and workshop observation, the team recorded measurable improvement in wellbeing among all groups. Their conclusion recommended Hear and Now as a model of best practice within the sector.

View University of Bedfordshire research report

For more information about the Philharmonia’s work with community groups and families and how to get involved, please contact Teddy Prout, Director of Learning & Engagement, on 020 7921 3900 or teddy.prout@philharmonia.co.uk

Partners & supporters

Hear and Now in Bedford is co-produced with Orchestras Live and presented in partnership with Fusion Youth Singing, Tibbs Dementia Foundation’s Music 4 Memory and the University of Bedfordshire, with support from Bedford Music Hub, Bedfordshire Music Trust and Bedford Music Co-operative.

Hear and Now in Bedford 2023-2024 is supported by:

Orchestras Live

Hear and Now in Leicester is delivered in partnership with Leicester Musical Memory Box and Geet Sangeet.

Hear and Now in Leicester 2023-24 is supported by:

Leicester City Council: Belgrave Ward Councillors (Community Ward Funding)