The formation of a culture – Seraphin Chamber Orchestra

Cambridge University is a hotbed for talented, enterprising and thoughtful musicians. What better an environment then to set up a new string orchestra, a rare beast in the UK’s music scene where smaller orchestral projects are dominated by early music ensembles or new music specialists heavily weighted towards the woodwind, brass and percussion elements of the orchestra.

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The Seraphin Chamber Orchestra was born out of a desire to perform the rich vein of repertoire for strings, from Vivaldi and Mozart through to Stravinsky, Britten and beyond, as well as to encourage living composers to write for this ensemble. SCO seeks to provide experience for top student players working in a condensed intensive fashion which fits in with their studies, in collaboration with young professionals. The Orchestra also aims to support emerging composers, encouraging them to explore the possibilities of writing for strings and granting them performances of their work in an open-minded culture and by committed players.

The challenges of setting up a new orchestra are numerous and complex, but the enthusiasm and commitment of the players has been a significant boost each time another challenge disrupts my plans! Repertoire planning is fun and exciting, as is rehearsing and performing with the orchestra, but devising marketing strategies, organising the box office, securing concert and rehearsal venues, hiring parts and raising funds are all removed from my artistic comfort zone and can often feel quite overwhelming. It is all worth it when twenty talented musicians come together to make fantastic music.

So what are my ambitions for the Seraphin Chamber Orchestra? I will not be studying at Cambridge forever and do not wish the Orchestra to disappear when I complete my PhD. By the time I graduate in 2019, I hope to have a financially independent orchestra with a strong following and the capacity to hold its own beyond Cambridge’s stone-walled colleges.

The original ideals of combining talented students with professionals, performing a wide range of neglected music and inspiring a new generation of composers will always remain at the heart of the Seraphin Chamber Orchestra.

Our next concert will take place at 8pm, 19th November at King’s College Chapel and tickets are available to purchase online here.

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If you would like to follow the Seraphin Chamber Orchestra please do join our mailing list for notice of future concerts, exclusive ticket offers and insights into the orchestra’s process.

You can also follow us on Twitter @SeraphinCO and Facebook.

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To support our endeavour the Seraphin Chamber Orchestra would be hugely grateful for donations of any size which help our continued development. Please contact info@joylisney.com for more information.

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