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.
Not only does KCLSO perform in our home city of London, we also represent our university and the best of student music making abroad on our international tours. Past destinations include Belgium, France, Germany and Luxembourg, where we have been met with great hospitality, enthusiasm (and standing ovations). Our most recent tour to Cologne was a great success, featuring Stefan Cunningham with Nielson’s Flute Concerto, and we’re very much looking forward to our next adventure in Summer 2018!
Our very successful 2016-17 season began with our December concert in the stunning St. Pancras Church, featuring Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Kachaturian’s Spartacus Suite No. 2 and Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with soloist, Lantian Gu. Always on the hunt for new and exciting projects, in February we showcased our production of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide in collaboration with King’s Opera Society, a partnership we hope will continue to flourish. To round off the season, KCLSO performed Mendelssohn’s Calm and Prosperous Voyage, Debussy’s La Mer and Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto in B flat, K. 191 with soloist, Debbie Barnes, led by the able hand of guest conductor, James Ham.
As well as providing valuable and varied orchestral experience, KCLSO holds an annual concerto competition. This provides the opportunity for some of our extremely gifted members, plus members of the King’s music department, to showcase their talent alongside the orchestra. This year’s winners were Lantian Gu, Debbie Barnes, Stefan Cunningham and Liz Isles, who will be performing Ibert’s Concertina de camera in our first concert of the 2017-18 season on 28th October.
As an orchestra, we pride ourselves on our work with young, emerging conductors. 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. As well as this, we also take part in masterclasses as part of an orchestral conducting course run by Colin Metters at KCL, allowing several young conductors to have their first experience leading a full-scale symphony orchestra.