What We Do
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.
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 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
Toby Purser is presently ENO Mackerras Conducting Fellow, Artistic Director of the Orion Orchestra, and Artistic Director of the Peace and Prosperity Trust.
In 2005 Toby Purser founded the Orion Orchestra, and has developed it into a leading organisation for young musicians. Other orchestras he has conducted include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, London Concert Orchestra, L’Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Kotorart Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of Opera North, the Orpheus Sinfonia, Sinfonia Viva, Kammerphilharmonie Graz, and the St Petersburg Camerata.
In November 2014, he made his company debut at ENO conducting two performances of The Marriage of Figaro, and most recently worked as assistant conductor to Mark Wigglesworth on their new production of Alban Berg’s Lulu, and on the world premiere of The Winter’s Tale last January. Next season he will be conducting performances of La Traviata and The Turn of the Screw.
He has been a regular guest conductor at Grange Park Opera where he conducted Madama Butterfly, Eugene Onegin, Rigoletto and Fortunio, which was also performed at the Buxton Festival. Recent engagements include working as Assistant Conductor at the Paris Opera Bastille on Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin, and at Longborough on Wagner Tristan und Isolde. He conducted Rossini’s Le Comte Ory for Chelsea Opera, Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underword, and Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment for Opera Della Luna at Iford Arts, and Haydn’s La Canterina and Lo Speziale for Bampton Classical Opera. Working for Pimlico Opera each winter since 2008, he has conducted productions in various prisons, with a cast of inmates performing alongside professionals in repertoire including Sister Act, Les Misérables, Sugar, Sweeney Todd and West Side Story. A CD a Bel Canto arias recorded with Mexican tenor Jesús León and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic was recently released.
Who we are
Patron - HRH Princess Michael of Kent
President - Lady Solti
Vice President - Peter Sheppard
Artistic Director - Toby Purser
Chief Executive - Jan Cassidy
Orchestra Manager - Denis Cassidy
Orchestra Officer - Max Vickers
Associate Conductor - Sue Perkins
Assistant Conductors - Johann von Stuckenbruck, Ben Glassberg
Development - Karen Phillips
The Great Bear (Benefactors) - Jenny Lo
Secretary - Lucy Harris
Bursar/Treasurer - Andrew Hollingsworth
Trustees - Sir Thomas Boyd-Carpenter (Chairman), John Derrick, Michael Berry, Denis Cassidy, Keith Day, Wasfi Kani (OBE), Karen Phillipps, Andrew Hollingsworth, Toby Purser
Advisory Board - David Campbell, Loredana Guetg-Wyatt, Guy Johnston, Nina Kaye, Jonathan Myles-Lea, Sue Perkins, Peter Sheppard