The New Cambridge Sinfonia


“The strongly dramatic opening made one’s hair stand on end and the piano entry confirmed that this was going to be an equally strong reading full of high drama and beauty.”

Sinfonia of Cambridge, Mike Levy, Local Secrets

In 1980 local businessman and keen musician Miles Rackowe formed the Sinfonia of Cambridge to fulfil his belief that Cambridge deserved an orchestra comprising local musicians performing to the highest standard. It was quickly acknowledged to be one of the leading orchestras in the region.

As with the Sinfonia of Cambridge, our post-COVID orchestra the New Cambridge Sinfonia will be entirely independently run and, thanks to generous sponsorship from local businesses, will aim to perform at least three concerts a year. Thus, the Sinfonia will establish itself once again at the centre of the city’s musical scene, but with a new title and emphasis, as one of Cambridge’s more permanent musical institutions.

The new orchestra will recruit some of the best players in the area:  qualified musicians, teachers, and gifted amateurs from the professions based in Cambridge and East Anglia. It will also draw associate members from further afield. Many guest artists who formed established links with the old orchestra will be welcomed back to perform with us again in the near future.

As well as providing opportunities for local performers, the Sinfonia has worked with many of the country’s top soloists, including Nigel Kennedy, Stephen Isserlis, Jill Gomez, Susan Milan, Jeremy Menuhin, Raphael Wallfisch, Boris Berezovsky, John Lill and Tasmin Little. This tradition will be maintained. Conductors have included Guy Woolfenden, Grant Llewellyn, Mark Shanahan, Peter Britton, Graham Ross and Russell Keable. We are pleased that Howard Williams will continue with us as Musical Director with the aim of building on the successes and popular reputation of the old orchestra.

The New Cambridge Sinfonia aims to explore a wide range of performance opportunities and venues. The orchestra will have the versatility to function as a chamber orchestra for music by, for example, Haydn and Mozart, along with some lesser-known late classical and twentieth century pieces, and as a full symphony orchestra for concerts to include works from the later romantic repertoire.