our story

The Imperfect Orchestra (IO) is an eclectic ensemble of musicians based in Plymouth (UK) creating live music accompaniments to film, theatre, dance, performance art, and many other visual art forms. IO has no fixed line-up and metamorphoses with each performance, mixing classical and modern instruments, writing original scores and soundtracks inspired by a wide variety of musical genres including rock, folk, electro, jazz, ambient and classical in collaboration with filmmakers and artists.

IO formed in 2013 and has consistently maintained principles of collaboration, artistic expression, performance, diversity, inclusivity and, perhaps most importantly, celebration of the amateur. These principles were born out of the Plymouth-based film collective Imperfect Cinema, from which The Imperfect Orchestra originated.


Since their inception, Imperfect Orchestra have composed and performed six original film soundtracks:

Home (2013), Tamar (2015) & Secrets of the Universe (2017), with filmmaker and co-founder of Imperfect Cinema, Dr Allister Gall. 

Relic (2016) in collaboration with artist Katy Richardson.

Battleship Potemkin (1925/2017) commissioned by Peninsula Arts in collaboration with the BFI.

Metamorphosis (2018) for which IO co-founder Chris Muirhead made his first film. 

Beyond the silver screen:

Immersive Orchestra // Plymphony No.1 in Sea (2018) in collaboration with artist Shannon Watson and a group of wild swimmers.

Artistic Research Will Eat Itself (2018), a performance for an academic arts conference.

319 Yokota (2019), a memorial to the late Susumu Yokota held at London's esteemed Union Chapel.

The Unattended Moment (2019), Diniwe and the Hadedas's multimedia production at The Theatre Royal, Plymouth.

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The Imperfect Orchestra have developed a working philosophy based around a celebration of the amateur, participatory practice, experimentation with instruments and constructing or subverting non-musical objects into their ensemble that make them a community project as well as a creative outlet for all involved. 


IO's compositions always contain a large element of collaboration between the players and embellishment through collective involvement and jams. Beginning by discussing themes and style, the music takes shape often in abstract and unusual forms, before writing and recording sessions in the rehearsal room help to shape it into the finished 'imperfect' score. The Imperfect Orchestra members generally do not have a traditional education in music and generally come from predominantly punk and alternative music backgrounds which gives their compositions and performances the energy and style for which they are becoming known and respected.

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