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Honorary Degree for inspirational musician

Press release   •   Dec 02, 2013 00:00 GMT

Musician and performer Clarence Sarkodee-Adoo has received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Northumbria University, Newcastle.

Clarence, who is the Education Animateur with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, began his musical career as a child, playing cornet, piano and trumpet with The Salvation Army.

He graduated from the Royal College of Music and built a reputation as one of the UK’s most talented and versatile trumpeters, playing with world-renowned orchestras including the Scottish Opera, the London Sinfonietta and the City of London Sinfonia.

He has performed in several West End shows and was a member of Courtney Pine’s Jazz Warriors before joining what is now the Royal Northern Sinfonia more than twenty years ago.

A road accident in 1995 left Clarence paralysed from the shoulders down and unable to play the trumpet, but he continues to perform and inspire audiences.

Clarence has learned to play the Headspace, a sophisticated electronic instrument created especially for him. Headspace is controlled by head movements and using delicate precise breaths, similar to playing a wind instrument.

He travels across the region visiting schools, colleges and adult groups for the Royal Northern Sinfonia where he leads workshops and encourages people to enjoy new forms of music. He also conducts the Clarence Adoo Brass Band; leading dramatic performances from the band by moving his head and using facial expressions.

Clarence is a founder member of the pioneering British Paraorchestra which played at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics. The orchestra recognises and showcases disabled musicians with extraordinary abilities.

He was awarded an MBE in 2012 in recognition of his services to music and the way he has inspired people since his accident.

Clarence Sarkodee-Adoo received his Honorary Doctorate of Music at Northumbria University’s Academic Congregation ceremony held at the Sport Central Arena.

Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focussed, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. To find out more about our courses go

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