Cambridge University Sinfonia (CUS)

Cambridge University Sinfonia is a high-quality symphony orchestra, drawn from top student instrumentalists in Cambridge. The Sinfonia rehearses once a week, on a Thursday, in a relaxed and sociable environment, and performs a wide range of repertoire under its student Conducting Scholar and a range of prestigious guest conductors. These have recently included John Wilson, Sian Edwards, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Richard Armstrong and Libor Pesek. With each project, CUS members receive coaching from professional orchestral musicians and benefit from professional marketing and orchestral management.

Cambridge University Sinfonia perform three concerts per year: one in Michaelmas term, one in Lent term and one in Easter term at the end of the year. CUS have also enjoyed highly successful joint tours with CUO over previous years, most recently travelling to Krakow, Poland in July 2019.

For more information about the Sinfonia please contact Joe Wardhaugh.

2019-20 Programme

Friday 6 December 2019, 8.00pm

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
Sibelius Symphony No.1

Tess Jackson conductor (CUMS Conducting Scholar 2019-20)

Saturday 18 January 2020, 8.00pm

Mahler Symphony No.2

Members of CUS join Cambridge University Orchestra and members of Cambridge University Wind Orchestra
Choirs of Clare, Gonville and Caius, Jesus and Selwyn Colleges
Andrew Gourlay conductor
Elin Pritchard soprano
Kathryn Rudge mezzo-soprano

Saturday 7 March 2020, 8.00pm

de Falla
Night’s in the Gardens of Spain
Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade

Mark Zang piano (CUMS Concerto Competition 2019 prize-winner)
Tess Jackson conductor

Recent conductors, soloists and coaches

Sir Roger Norrington, Sian Edwards, John Wilson, David Hill, Sir Richard Armstrong, Libor Pesek, Martin Yates, Jamie Phillips, Carlos Izcary, Rory Macdonald, Ryan Wigglesworth and Holly Mathieson.

Peter Donohoe, piano; Oliver Coates, cello; Kristine Balanas, violin; Sergey Levitin, violin; Virginie Robilliard violin; Fiachra Garvey, piano

Charles Mutter, leader of the BBC Concert Orchestra
Simon Channing, head of woodwind at Royal College of Music
David McCallum, trumpeter in BBC Concert Orchestra
Keith Bragg, head of woodwind at Royal Academy of Music


Under the esteemed direction of Toby Hession and featuring soloist Jacqui Martens (violin) Cambridge University Orchestra presented the following programme:

Lutosławski – Little Suite
Mozart – Violin Concerto No.5
Tchaikovsky – Symphony No.6

In the following venues:

Thursday 25 July, 7pm
St Catherine’s Church, Kraków

Friday 26 July, 7pm
Sacred heart of Jesus Church, Kęty

Saturday 27 July, 4pm
The Amphitheatre, Rabka

Tour 2016: The Rhineland
In July 2016, CUMS Symphony Orchestra set off for Germany, where they gave three outstanding concerts under the baton of Joel Sandelson. The orchestra performed an all-Russian programme including Tchaikovsky’s The Tempest and Rachmaninov’s Symphony No.2 to large audiences in Cologne, Andernach and Bonn. Performing in the impressive Bonn University Hall was a particular highlight. Outside of the busy concert schedule, there was time for a number of leisure activities: climbing up Cologne Cathedral, watching the famous Andernach cold water geyser, visiting Beethoven’s birthplace in Bonn and, of course, sampling the German beer!

Helen McKeown, Tour Manager 2016

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Tour 2015: Amsterdam
CUMS SO spent five days in Amsterdam, where they performed Elgar’s ‘In the South’ and Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, conducted by Joel Sandelson. One of the concerts was broadcast live on local television.

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Tour 2014: Ghent
CUMS SO performed Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Ginastera’s Estancia Suite in Ghent, as part of the Gentse Feesten.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I perform with Cambridge University Sinfonia?
If you wish to be considered for a place in CUS, you must audition. CUMS Auditions take place at the start of each academic year, during Freshers’ Week. All members of the previous year’s orchestra must re-audition along with the new players. For more information about auditions, including how to sign up, please see here.

How are CUS places allocated?

Following your CUMS audition, if successful, you will most likely be offered one or both of the following options:
1. A place in all CUS concerts for the year (December 2019, March 2020, May 2020).
2. Some members will be given the chance to play along side members of CUO and CUWO in the big concert in January 2020 in King’s College Chapel.

Please note that there may be exceptions to thiss for some instruments, depending on orchestration. Your concert commitments for the year will be made very clear following your audition.


Registered Charity No. 1149534

Cambridge University Musical Society
West Road Concert Hall
11 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP
Principal Guest Conductor
Sir Roger Norrington CBE
Artistic Advisor
Sian Edwards
Director, Cambridge University Symphony Chorus
Richard Wilberforce
Director, Cambridge University Chamber Choir
Martin Ennis
Associate Directors, Cambridge University Chamber Choir
David Lowe, Nicholas Mulroy