The King’s College London Symphony Orchestra is the flagship ensemble of the Music Department at KCL, and over the past 15 years it has grown both in size and stature to make its mark on the capital’s music scene, emerging as one of the best student-led orchestras in the UK and attracting members from a variety of institutions across London as well as King’s College London itself. Based in the heart of Central London, the opportunity to perform in a variety of the capital’s historic and beautiful venues and make music alongside extremely talented student musicians has continued to inspire our members.
KCLSO has flourished under the batons of renowned conductors since it was founded. Beginning with Toby Purser (Principal Conductor, Orion Orchestra) the role of musical director then passed on to Robert Tuohy (Assistant Conductor, Orchestre National de Montpellier), Daniel Cohen (Principal Conductor, Jersey Chamber Orchestra) and then to Dominic Grier (Guest Conductor, The Royal Ballet and Opéra National de Lyon). In 2012, KCLSO was delighted to welcome Jonathan Lo as musical director, who continues to lead the orchestra to new levels of success.
In recent years, KCLSO has gone on two international tours, visiting destinations including Belgium, France, Germany and Luxembourg, and have been met with great enthusiasm (and standing ovations). We have already started planning our next exciting venture.
Our very successful 2015-16 season began with our December concert featuring Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony. We went on to fit three more concerts into the rest of the academic year, highlights of which include Beethoven’s renowned Symphony No. 5, Holst’s The Planets and Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2. Repertoire for the 2014-15 Season included Bernstein’s West Side Story, Symphonic Dances, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 7 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9. We eagerly anticipate our next season’s programme!
As well as providing valuable and varied orchestral experience, KCLSO holds a concerto competition. This provides the opportunity for some of the extremely gifted members to showcase their talent alongside the orchestra. Last year’s winners were Claudia Moore-Gillon who played Prokofiev’s first Violin Concerto, Alex MacFarlane playing Hindemith’s Der Schwanendreher on the viola and Alanna MacFarlane’s performance of Weber’s Bassoon concerto.
Last season, a series of conducting classes for student conductors run by Colin Metters culminated in an orchestral conducting masterclass alongside KCLSO, allowing several young conductors to have their first experience leading a full-scale symphony orchestra. As well as these masterclasses, KCLSO offer the opportunity of an Assistant Conductor position to a KCL music student for a season, providing extremely valuable orchestral conducting experience with one-to-one coaching from our Musical Director, Jonathon Lo. Previous Assistant Conductors have gone on to undertake postgraduate conducting studies at institutions including the Royal Academy of Music and Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory.