The Kensington Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1965, is one of London’s leading amateur orchestras. It provides opportunities for advanced players to study and perform works from the classical and modern repertoire, including pieces that are rarely heard in the concert hall.
The orchestra gives three concerts a year in the Royal Borough in the handsome surroundings of Chelsea Old Town Hall, or sometimes at the newly restored Cadogan Hall near Sloane Square. The concerts are well known for their friendly ambience and sense of occasion.
The KPO provides a platform for well-established soloists, as well as exciting younger players seeking an early opportunity to display their musical talents. Soloists over the years have included Iona Brown, Hugh Bean, Eileen Croxford, Jack Brymer, Penelope Thwaites, and Masayuki Kino and up-and-coming, “younger generation” soloists such as Roger Owen, Melina Mandozzi, Thomas Carroll , Chris Braime, Nicholas Gethin and Inbal Segev.
The KPO has benefited from the expertise and enthusiasm of three very different Musical Directors since its inception. Roger Gabriel, a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, established the orchestra with its first leader, Marjorie Robinson, and conducted it for thirty-five years until his retirement in 2000. He was succeeded by Alexander Briger, the young Australian conductor, who is now appearing regularly with London’s professional orchestras.
Mark Fitz-Gerald, the orchestra’s present Musical Director, took over in 2002. He is well known throughout the musical world, conducting professional orchestras and opera companies throughout Europe on a regular basis, but retaining a great gift for inspiring and developing amateur ensembles.