Our Mission

Orion Orchestra was founded to provide young musicians the opportunities and mentorship needed to bridge the gap between music college and their professional careers, while inspiring the next generation through our accessible concerts.

Musical vitality

Orion doesn’t work with young musicians just to help launch their careers; we strongly believe in the vitality of the music that a young orchestra can produce. Our musicians are often playing repertoire for the first time ever - this excites us and our audiences.

Inspiring the next generation

Through our Noisy Notes series, we take a full symphony orchestra where it wouldn’t normally go, and give children with the least opportunity the chance to try out musical instruments for the first time. 

Widening access

We set aside 20% of all of our concert tickets to give away free to schools and other charitable causes, meaning that people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to come to classical concerts get the chance.

How we work

With Orion's players selected from the most talented music college students and recent graduates, we give young players experiences working at London's leading concert venues, giving them the chance to work under the highest professional standards.

Our concert programme aims to cover a broad and diverse repertoire, encompassing all of the skills necessary in a career: from symphonic and operatic, to contemporary and cross-over.

With valuable mentorship from leading international musicians and Orion alumni, we aim to give our players a holistic training in what it takes to start their professional careers.

Since Orion's 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.

“Orion has provided me with a huge amount of real professional orchestral experience, which I hadn’t experienced before playing with the orchestra”
— Henry Hargreaves, cello

Player Profile: Siobhan Clough

Gary Matthewman - Artistic Director and Principal Conductor

Follow Gary on Twitter:  @songpianist

Follow Gary on Twitter: @songpianist

We are delighted to announce Gary's appointment as our new Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, succeeding our founder and present Artistic Director Toby Purser for the 2019-20 season and beyond.

Gary is well-known to British audiences as a song pianist, having performed worldwide with many leading names in the world of classical singing. Following a year enrolled on the prestigious conducting programme at the Royal Academy of Music, mentored by Sian Edwards, he is now gaining a reputation as an emerging conducting talent. Notable early engagements as conductor include Britten’s War Requiem (Chamber Orchestra) with soloists Mark Padmore and Roderick Williams at the Sage Gateshead, working as Assistant Conductor on Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk for Graham Vick’s Birmingham Opera Company with the CBSO (Conductor, Alpesh Chauhan) and performances of Strauss and Beethoven with the Vacation Chamber Youth Orchestra in Yorkshire. He joins Glyndebourne Touring Opera as assistant conductor on Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (Conductor, Ben Glassberg) this Autumn.

Gary is Professor of Vocal Repertoire at the Royal College of Music and song coach for the Jette Parker Young Artists at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.


Who we are

Patron - HRH Princess Michael of Kent
President - Lady Solti
Vice President - Peter Sheppard

Chief Executive - Jan Cassidy
Artistic Director & Principal Conductor - Gary Matthewman
Founder and Principal Guest Conductor - Toby Purser
Associate Conductor - Sue Perkins
Assistant Conductor - Dorian Todorov
Orchestra Manager - Denis Cassidy

Development - Karen Phillips
Secretary - Lucy Harris
Bursar/Treasurer - Andrew Hollingsworth

Trustees - Stephanie Marshall (Chair), Jan Cassidy, Denis Cassidy, Margaret Pollock, Karen Phillipps, Toby Purser, Andrew Hollingsworth, David Wakefield

Contact Us

For all enquiries, please contact Gary Matthewman, our Artistic Director, at: gary@orionorchestra.org.uk