The Sinfonia of Cambridge was founded in 1980 by a local businessman and keen musician, Miles Rackowe, who believed that Cambridge deserved an orchestra comprised of local musicians, performing to the highest standard. It is now acknowledged to be one of the leading orchestras of the region.
The orchestra is entirely independently run, and, thanks to generous sponsorship from local businesses over the years, it has been able to perform up to six concerts a year, thus establishing itself as one of Cambridge’s more permanent musical institutions.
The orchestra’s members are largely Cambridge or East Anglia based qualified musicians, teachers, and gifted amateurs from the professions, many of whom have now played with the orchestra for a number of years. It also draws associate members from further afield. Many guest artists have formed established links with the orchestra and return on a regular basis.
As well as providing opportunities for local performers, the orchestra has worked with many of the country’s top soloists, including Nigel Kennedy, Stephen Isserlis, Jill Gomez, Susan Milan, Jeremy Menuhin, Raphael Wallfisch, Boris Benezovsky, and Tasmin Little. Conductors have included Guy Woolfenden, Grant Llewellyn, Mark Shanahan, Peter Britton, and Russell Keable. The orchestra has recently appointed Howard Williams as Musical Director.
The Sinfonia of Cambridge prides itself on the variety and breadth of its programming, and indeed there is no such thing as a typical programme. Its usual ‘large chamber’ proportions are particularly well suited to some of the lesser known late classical and twentieth century pieces, but it is equally at home performing Haydn and Mozart. It frequently expands to a full symphony orchestra for concerts which include works from the later romantic repertoire.