Paradox Orchestra Stands Up for Sheffield Homeless

'Accessability to all' at the heart of concert series
Colin Petch
April 22, 2024

Paradox Orchestra is hosting a series of concerts over the coming months for charitable causes across Yorkshire, including two upcoming concerts in aid of the homeless in Sheffield in the magnificent setting of Sheffield Cathedral.

The orchestra will play iconic hits from Pink Floyd on the evenings of 16 May, and Fleetwood Mac on 12 July.

The concerts are part of the cathedral’s commitment to being a ‘place for all,’ bringing communities together with shared cultural events.

The orchestra, which was founded in 2020, has forged a reputation for staging breath-taking concerts that put a classical twist on rock, pop, R&B, Drum & Bass and dance hits.

Many of the musicians are graduates of Leeds Conservatoire, who have played with the biggest acts in pop, such as Ed Sheeran, Louis Tomlinson, Marc Almond, and Little Mix.

The concerts will raise funds and awareness for The Cathedral Archer Project, which supports the homeless in Sheffield.

Michael Sluman, 33, founded Paradox Orchestra, said: “Classical music is proven to have a profound effect on our wellbeing. We want to ensure the artform is accessible to all, and to remind audiences that we have a shared humanity. We promise a soulful, enriching, uplifting, entertaining and inclusive experience.”

Paradox Orchestra is passionate about hosting concerts in the heart of the communities the musicians live and work in, with accessible central venues such as cathedrals and town halls.

Ben Rossi, Development Manager at Sheffield Cathedral, said: “The cathedral is an iconic building in the heart of Sheffield, which means many different things to a diverse group of people - worship, sanctuary, education, music, community, and celebration. We have also been working hard to promote the cathedral as an affordable and versatile venue where people can enjoy inspirational music, exhibitions, and events.”

Ben added: “Our new partnership with Paradox Orchestra is evidence of this hard work coming to fruition and the cathedral truly being ‘A Place for All People.’ Through the Cathedral Archer Project, it is also a place where homeless and vulnerable people can seek out a warm meal, help and support. With a percentage of concert proceeds contributing to the vital work of the Cathedral Archer Project this new venture is also a fine example of organisations coming together to help those most in need.”

Michael Sluman is a graduate of Leeds Conservatoire and enrolled in a PhD at the Royal Academy of Music. Growing up in a mining town near Sheffield in a working-class family, he is a relative rarity in classical music. His dad was a porter and mum a health-care assistant.

Michael confirms: “In various studies, classical music has been shown to have a positive impact on all audiences, including those struggling, such as the homeless, providing a sense of calm, promoting relaxation, and offering a form of self-expression and art appreciation. It’s proven to reduce stress and anxiety, elevate mood, and enhance overall well-being. We will be working with the Sheffield homeless by providing Inspire Days and access to our rehearsals and performances for free.”

The Paradox Orchestra has an inhouse team of orchestrators, DJ's, musical arrangers, and tech staff, to tailor new musical shows. The orchestra has just signed up to do a series of immersive, orchestral light shows this December at Sheffield Cathedral.

Taking It To Church: Paradox Orchestra And Followers
Taking It To Church: Paradox Orchestra And Followers

The much in demand orchestra is also taking the Pink Floyd concert to Selby Abbey on 11 May and Huddersfield Town Hall on 17 May.

Michael added: “We want to demystify classical music and reach younger, and hard-to-reach audiences to make it accessible, enriching and fun. We have employed over a hundred local musicians in the last three years, whilst promoting inclusiveness, diversity, accessibility, and equal opportunities. Classical music is for all.”

Michael spent his twenties playing guest principal oboe in professional orchestras all over the world, performing in major concert Halls at locations such as Sydney, Tokyo, Seoul, Berlin, Dallas, Los Angeles, Granada, and New York.

A BBC Next Generation Artist, he’s also worked in jazz, with projects at the Barbican for the London Jazz Festival and North Sea Jazz Festival, performing with a hip hop orchestra with LA session composer, Miguel Atwood-Fergason. He’s also recorded Rob Keeley’s Triple Concerto with the Malaga Philharmonic, which is available from Toccata Records.

He said: “The success of Paradox Orchestra is drawing on my experiences and classical training, while being open minded to new sounds, collaborations, and opportunities, and not being scared to take risks. It’s a win-win as audiences enjoy the music more, while supporting young musicians in the classical profession and good causes.”

Paradox Orchestra performs 50 Years of Pink Floyd at Sheffield City Cathedral on 16 May, 7.30pm and Fleetwood Mac on 12 July, 7.30pm. Tickets are available HERE.

Other upcoming concerts include:

50 Years of Pink Floyd - 11th May at Selby Abbey, and 17th May Huddersfield Town Hall.