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.


Toby Purser - Artistic Director and Principal Conductor

Toby Purser began his musical studies as a chorister and a music scholar at Winchester College, studying piano for a year in Vienna before returning to read music at Oxford, where he founded the Oxford Philomusica and was conductor of the Oxford Sinfonietta. Having begun his conducting studies with George Hurst, he spent two years at the St. Petersburg State Conservatoire studying with Ilya Musin, and then a further three years at the Royal Academy of Music with Colin Metters.

Toby Purser, Principle Conductor of Orion Orchestra

Toby Purser, Principle Conductor of Orion Orchestra


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

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 first came to prominence following recognition in the 2002 Leeds Conducting Competition, and was appointed Assistant Conductor of L'Ensemble Orchestral de Paris for 2007 following his participation in the Vendome Academy with Janos Furst and John Nelson.

Orchestras he has conducted include the English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, London Concert Orchestra, L’Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Kotorart Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of Opera North, the Orpheus Sinfonia, Oxford University Orchestra, Sinfonia Viva, Kammerphilharmonie Graz, St Petersburg Camerata and the St Petersburg Festival Orchestra. From 2002 until 2011 he was principal conductor of the London International Orchestra. A CD a Bel Canto arias recorded with tenor Jesús León and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic is due for release next April.


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