Finchley Chamber Orchestra

Finchley Chamber Orchestra
A Brief History

Finchley Chamber Orchestra was formed in 1954 as Finchley Orchestra. It is a self-funding, community-based orchestra comprising ex- and semi-professionals, music teachers and administrators, and talented local amateurs. Its regular membership comprises double woodwind, two horns and trumpets, timpani and strings, with additional players recruited as necessary.


David Lardi, who has held the conductorship since 1974, is a professional conductor with a performed repertoire of over 1500 works. He also holds the conductorships of Finchley Chamber Choir and North London Symphony Orchestra, and for over twenty years was a Professor at Trinity College of Music. Previous conductors have included Geoffrey Corbett and Nicholas Braithwaite.


From 1966 to 1993, the orchestra was led by Norman Metcalfe, who had played with the Halle Orchestra under Sir John Barbirolli before moving to London. Norman retired from the leadership after 27 years of valuable and much appreciated service, though he played with us regularly for some years after that. He was a very welcome guest player as recently as July 2005, and we were saddened to learn of his death in July 2008.

In 1994, Norman was succeeded by Jennifer Thorn, who made major contributions to the orchestra’s development over the following decade. Jennifer left us in 2003 to pursue chamber music and other activities, and Anna Dryer Beers took up the role in 2005, giving us strong leadership over the following six seasons before moving on herself at the end of 2011.

Others who have led our concerts since 1994 include: Karen Anstee, Katherine Bamber, Kaye Barker, Tina Bowles, John Crawford, Gavin Davies, Tom Evans, Philip Gibson, Janet Hicks, George Hlawiczka, Stephen Morris, Peter Newman and James Widden.

George Mattar became our regular leader during our 2011-2012 season.


Our soloists are frequently drawn from amongst the rising stars of the younger generation. Over the years these have included Nigel Kennedy, Tasmin Little, Robert Max, Simon Mulligan, Alice Neary, Natalie Clein and Valeriy Sokolov.

Soloists who have been engaged to perform with us since 1994 include: Cihat Askin, Peter Bussereau, Shana Douglas, Peter Fisher, Takane Funatsu, Lucy Jeal, Valeriy Sokolov, Jonathan Stone and Jennifer Thorn (violin), Natalie Clein, Helen Cooper, Aleksei Kiseliov, Alice Neary and Joseph Spooner (cello), Daniel De-Fry (harp), Otis Beasley, Eugene Catone, Alon Goldstein, Torville Jones, Natalia Loresch, Maria Mazo, Miwako Miki, Simon Mulligan, Asagi Nakata, Andrew Saunders, David Trafford, Samantha Ward, Jonathan Wilson, Jessica Zhu and Andrew Zolinsky (piano), Emily Marriot (flute), Adrian Wilson (oboe), Susan Gill, Anna Hashimoto, Colin Lawson and Sarah Williamson (clarinet), Rebecca Hill (horn), Philip Cobb (trumpet), Sarah Blood, Melanie Marshall and Katherine Walker (soprano), Meryn Nance and Vivienne Trenner (mezzo), Gerard Delrez (bass-baritone).


The orchestraís repertoire ranges from small-scale baroque works and music of the classical period via large-scale romantic pieces to music of the last and present centuries, with special emphasis on British composers including commissions and first performances. It has performed symphonies, for example, by Beethoven, Bizet, Borodin, Brahms, Bruckner, DvorŠk, Gounod, Haydn, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Parry, Prokofiev, Saint-SaŽns, Schubert, Schumann, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and Vaughan Williams as well as major orchestral and choral works by Elgar, Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky, Tippett and others, expanding as required by the repertoire.