It has been such a busy Autumn & Winter here at Orpheus Sinfonia.

The hugely exciting news from the past 12 months has been the award of a grant for £50,000 a year, over five years, from the Skyrme Hart Charitable Trust towards our new Orpheus Sinfonia Foundation Programme.

This significant new chapter in Orpheus’ development brings together all we have learnt from our first decade to ensure we are evolving to meet the current needs of musicians and continuation of music in today’s climate. In this first year of the programme we have had over 280 applicants across instrumentalists, composers, conductors and singers. Already we are hearing from our selected participants of the enormous benefit this structured programme is delivering.

Notable own-promotions in the Autumn, providing 136 musician opportunities, included:
Orpheus Sinfonia Foundation Programme – Season Launch
14 September 2023 at St George’s Hanover Square
Conducted by Artistic Director, Thomas Carroll and featuring US violinist Nathan Meltzer – who won the Windsor Festival International String Competition aged just 16. This evening signified the start of a new official partnership with Windsor Festival, whereby future International String Competition winner’s as part of their prize will perform a concerto with Orpheus Sinfonia – bringing the very finest young musicians in the world together with what we do here at Orpheus. Now 23, Nathan gave a superb account of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto “to an ovation worthy of a rock concert” from the capacity audience. Foundation Conductor, Derrick Morgan, made his debut with Orpheus in Jessie Montgomery’s Records from a Vanishing City – a fascinating fusion of Latin jazz, alternative rock, Western classical, avant-garde jazz, and Caribbean dance music. Thomas Carroll rounded off a superb evening’s music-making with Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.
In the words of an audience member “Wonderful uplifting concert. Skilled and enthusiastic young musicians under inspirational leadership of Thomas Carroll.”

Fred and the Fantastic Tub-Tub – London Premiere
22 October 2023 at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall
as part of the London Literature Festival

October saw us make our debut centre stage at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, in another brilliant new chapter for Orpheus Sinfonia this Autumn. Our own commission, this magical, musical adventure for children, by Orpheus composer James Marangone and with a story by Classic FM presenter Zeb Soanes, was brought to life by our musicians, at its London Première, with Zeb Soanes narrating and Thomas Carroll conducting. The hall was packed with hundreds of families and there were many excited young children meeting our musicians after the performance. Earlier this week, we’d taken Fred and the Fantastic Tub-Tub into schools with high SEND needs in the much deprived areas of Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, and SL1, Slough, reaching 442 children. This was made possible by successful grant applications and our own fundraising. These days brought live music to children who simply would not ever experience it otherwise, and engaged with them in interactive performance and workshops. The invaluable impact of this was illustrated in children’s responses “I didn’t know I was allowed to listen to music like that”; “They actually let us join in”; “Please come back”.
Perhaps the most moving moment though was when a non-verbal pupil who rarely communicates or engages, upon experiencing the live musical performance began drawing profusely on their whiteboard. Illustrating what they were hearing, the emotional connection this made with them, the stimulation it triggered, and visibly showing joy. This moved the carers/teachers to tears, such was the rarity of engagement with this child.

Orpheus Sinfonia Foundation Programme – Inspirations
16 November 2023 at St George’s Hanover Square
For the second concert in our Foundation Programme series we were hugely excited to welcome the internationally-renowned clarinettist Michael Collins. He captivated audience and musicians alike in Gerald Finzi’s virtuosic clarinet concerto, and it was highly inspiring to be able to give our musicians the opportunity to work with, and learn from him. Bernstein’s energetic Overture to Candide was followed by Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s brilliantly-written Beyond the Road Begun, which was directed by our Foundation Conductor, Derrick Morgan, continuing to build the varied repertoire our Foundationers explore with us. The evening was completed with a performance of Brahms’s iconic Symphony No. 1; as an audience member put it “the highlight for me was the obvious enjoyment Orpheus had playing Brahms. What a fantastic display of talent and commitment.”

Candlelit Celebration of Christmas
21 December 2023 at St George’s Hanover Square
We were thrilled to bring back our ever-popular seasonal highlight – A Celebration of Christmas by Candlelight. The programme was brought together by our core Principals, giving them opportunity to explore all that music affords to bring joy and uplift to audiences. Sensational soprano Sky Ingram joined us for this wonderfully festive occasion, utterly entrancing the audience whom the musicians all met over drinks after the performance. As many of you have requested, we are pleased to share with you the date-for-your-diary for 2024 – Wednesday 18 December.
In the words of an audience member “Absolutely wonderful, exceeded expectations. Fabulous church, talented orchestra which produced a variety of pieces and some amazing melodies. The highlight for me was this incredible soprano; I don’t think I’ve heard such a great voice so close up before.”

Elsewhere, furthering the opportunities and experiences we are able to give our musicians, and those we can reach and engage with our music, Orpheus Sinfonia was invited to:

  • Perform with West Sussex Philharmonic Choir and London Pro Arte Choir
  • Return to Windsor Festival in a programme of D’Astorga and Handel
  • Perform Beethoven’s Septet at Imperial College
  • Give our first ever nightclub performance at Koko in Camden with inimitable Selda Bagcan
  • Perform 15 shows of Peter and the Wolf, to live screenings of the 2006 stop-motion film for audiences in Bury St Edmunds
  • Begin the New Year performing Side-by-side with the Ealing Youth Orchestra in a programme of a Tabla Concerto and Shostakovich Symphony 5 – giving our next generation of musicians an insight into professional music making, opening doors and inspiring aspirations.