Intermezzo was a GIANT music project that involved a collaboration between The Belfast Ensemble (creators of the hugely successful Abomination – a DUP Opera) and international law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills from their Belfast base in the Ormeau Gasworks.

The project was supported by Arts & Business NI. Over the course of 12 months The Belfast Ensemble worked with a group of employees to teach them how to play a musical instrument – clarinets, flutes and violins were the weapons of choice and the monthly lessons would culminate in each of the participants sitting their Grade 1 exam. ‘Grade 1 or Bust’ was the idea – the reality was slightly different.

At the same time a group of people from the Herbert Smith Freehills senior management team were to take lessons from Conor Mitchell (of The Belfast Ensemble) on conducting a chamber orchestra.

The project demonstrates how to worlds that appear to be far removed from each other can in fact be a source of learning and enjoyment for all involved. The personal relationships, the leadership lessons, the human challenges and the coming together of a group of people with a common goal. It’s easy to do a token leadership development programme that ticks a few boxes – putting a project like this together takes something more extraordinary.