About the orchestra
Kensington Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1965, is one of London’s leading amateur orchestras. It provides opportunities for advanced players of all ages to perform works from the classical and modern repertoire, including pieces that are rarely heard in the concert hall.
From 2002-2020 the orchestra was conducted by Mark Fitz-Gerald, who developed the orchestra to major artistic highs and into less well explored yet highly rewarding repertoire. We have all benefited enormously from his wonderful musicianship and deep commitment to the orchestra and its members.
In 2020, Claudio Di Meo was appointed as Musical Director, and has very quickly brought his boundless enthusiasm, leadership qualities and exceptional musicianship to KPO.
KPO attracts and retains talented musicians, a number of whom are present or former music students. We generally have full string sections at rehearsals. There are competitive try-outs for wind and brass seats on the rare occasions that they become vacant.
The orchestra has a professional leader, Abigail Dance, who has been with the orchestra since 2015. At KPO, there is a well-established ethos of collaboration and transparency, with major decisions being taken based on feedback from the orchestra as a whole.
Repertoire has ranged from the popular to the unusual. A careful balance is sought over the year to ensure that both audience attendance and player engagement remains high.
The orchestra is dedicated to supporting emerging new talent such as Laura Ayoub (violin), Fenella Humphries (violin), Joel Ashford (horn) and Tim Lowe (cello), as well as enjoying many opportunities to play with well-established soloists, such as Melina Mandozzi (violin), Thomas Carroll (cello), Jonathan Ayling (cello), Pip Eastop (horn) and Milos Karadaglic (guitar).
KPO rehearses every Monday evening during school term time at St Peter’s Church, 119 Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AL between 19:00 and 21:30. We also have a rehearsal on the concert day at the concert venue.
KPO’s season runs between September and July every year. We have generally played three concerts per season– usually in November, March and June. Our main concert venue is Chelsea Old Town Hall, Kings Road, Chelsea SW3 5EE.