Orion has rapidly built a reputation as one of the most dynamic orchestras on
the UK's music scene. The orchestra exists to promote the best young musicians in
the country, with its performances recognised for their vitality, energy, and
With Orion's players selected from the most talented music college students and
recent graduates, it gives its members the experience of working at all of
London's leading concert venues, as well as a platform for especially talented
young soloists. As orchestra in residence at the Aberystwyth International
MusicFest, the orchestra provides unique experience to student conductors and
composers. It awards annually both a Conductors Prize and a Young Conductors
Bursary, supported by the Richard Carne Trust. Additionally, in 2012 it awarded
its first Composers Prize, supported by the Royal Overseas League.
Since its formation in 2005 by artistic director Toby Purser, notable soloists
have included Joanna MacGregor, Julian Lloyd Webber, Tasmin Little, Susan Gritton,
Anne Murray and Dennis O'Neill. Exceptional young soloists have included
violinists Nicola Benedetti, Valeriy Sokolov, Jack Liebeck and Charlie Siem,
pianists Teo Georghiu, Tom Poster and Panos Karan, percussionist Martin Grubinger,
cellist Guy Johnston, tenor Jesus Leon and soprano Laura Mitchell.
Each year, Orion's repertoire embraces the wide range of genre, style and
skills its musicians will need in later professional orchestras, with music from
Austria to Azerbaijan and encompassing symphonic, opera, contemporary and even
Middle-Eastern and Latin-American music. Alongside mainstream repertoire,
neglected works they have championed include the premier of a rediscovered
Stravinsky orchestration of The Song of the Volga Boatmen, excerpts from Veniamin
Fleishman's little-known masterpiece, Rothschild's Violin, and the first
performances in over seventy years of Dorothy Howell's Piano Concerto and of Cyril
Scott's Harpsichord Concerto.
They have launched an acclaimed CD of Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.3, with the
young virtuoso Panos Karan, while a recently recorded live performance of British
music was released by Cameo Classics last year. A concert in November 2010 with
Iranian composer Shardad Rohani was filmed and broadcast by BBC Persia, while
their recent recording with Rick Wakeman of 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth'
reached the shops last Christmas.
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