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.
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.
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.
Toby Purser - Artistic Director and Principal Conductor
In 2005 Toby Purser founded the Orion Orchestra as a stepping-stone orchestra for the most talented instrumentalists leaving music college. Toby recently completed two seasons as ENO Mackerras Conducting Fellow, and has conducted for Grange Park Opera, Opera National de Paris, St Petersburg Festival Orchestra and many leading British orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, which he conducted in Jesús León’s debut CD Bel Canto for Opus Arte CD. Appointed Music Director of New Sussex Opera last year, his recent production of Stanford’s The Travelling Companion has been nominated as Best Rediscovered Work by the International Opera Awards 2019.
He has most recently returned from conducting performances of La Bohème in Dublin for Lyric Opera, Ireland. For English National Opera, he has conducted The Turn of the Screw, The Marriage of Figaro and La Traviata. At Grange Park Opera, he has conducted Madama Butterfly, Eugene Onegin, Rigoletto and Fortunio, which was also performed at the Buxton Festival, and with Opera Della Luna The Daughter of the Regiment, Orpheus in the Underworld, the UK premiere of Johann Strauss’s operetta Das Spitzentuch der Königin, and Tales of Offenbach.
Who we are
Patron - HRH Princess Michael of Kent
President - Lady Solti
Vice President - Peter Sheppard
Artistic Director & Principal Conductor - Toby Purser
Associate Conductor - Sue Perkins
Assistant Conductor - Dorian Todorov
Chief Executive - Jan Cassidy
Orchestra Manager - Denis Cassidy
Development - Karen Phillips
Secretary - Lucy Harris
Bursar/Treasurer - Andrew Hollingsworth
Trustees - Jan Cassidy, Denis Cassidy, Margaret Pollock, Keith Day, Karen Phillipps, Andrew Hollingsworth, Stephanie Marshall
Advisory Board - David Campbell, Loredana Guetg-Wyatt, Guy Johnston, Nina Kaye, Jonathan Myles-Lea, Sue Perkins, Peter Sheppard
For all enquiries, please contact Max Vickers, Head of Communications - email@example.com