Oxford Schools Intercultural Music Exchange

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Primary Investigator

Dr Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey

Faculty of Music, University of Oxford

St Catherine's College


Partner Organisations:

Orchestra of St John’s

Oxford Spires Academy

Faculty of Music, University of Oxford



Dr Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey, Postdoctoral Researcher, Faculty of Music

Dr Toby Young, Postdoctoral Researcher, Faculty of Music

Professor Samantha Dieckmann, Faculty of Music

About the project:


This musical initiative brings together twelve year 12 students with twelve young asylum seekers and other newly arrived international students who are part of the STEP (Steps Toward English Proficiency) programme at the Oxford Spires Academy. Together, with the support of composer Toby Young, conductor Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey and students from the Music Faculty’s Music in the Community Course, they are tasked with exploring each other’s musical heritages, sharing the journeys which have brought them together today, and discussing how music is part of their individual and collective identities. Working with musicians from the Orchestra of St John’s and workshop leaders, the students will design a new composition for orchestra which interweaves the musical histories and identities of the group, and amplifies the voices of these creative young people within the Oxford Community. Performances of the new work will be performed by the Orchestra of St John’s in Dorchester Abbey and at the North Wall Arts Centre in Oxford, as well as at the Oxford Spires Academy. A research strand, exploring the experiences and impact of intercultural musical initiatives is embedded in the project, conducted by postgraduate students supervised by Professor Samantha Dieckmann.


Part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, one of the founding stones for the

future Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities.