About the National Symphony Orchestra

National Symphony Orchestra

Leader: Matthew Scrivener
Guest Leader: Rita Manning
Managing Director and Artistic Director: Justin Pearson
Principal conductor: Paul Bateman
Principal Guest Conductor: John Andrews
Principal Associate Conductor: Rimma Sushanskaya

The NSO is one of the longest-established and most versatile professional freelance orchestras working in Britain today. It has an impressive recorded legacy as well as a busy diary of live concert performances. The NSO is admired for both its versatility, its ability to communicate, connecting with audiences with consistent commitment and passion. The orchestra has recently found renewed energy and direction under its managing director, Justin Pearson.

During the challenges of the 2020 COVID pandemic NSO was the first orchestra to return to Air Lyndhurst studios, recording Debbie Wiseman’s score for the film “To Olivia”. NSO featured in two episodes of Netflix’s “The Crown”. The orchestra having been chosen to record the scores for Queen Elizabeth II 90th birthday celebrations, will again perform for Her Majesty’s 95th in 2021 at Windsor Castle. With newly appointed Principal Associate Conductor, Rimma Sushanskaya, the orchestra recorded discs of Mozart concerti and symphonies, and Beethoven 05 Symphony and Romances (Matilda Milwidsky) released on the Guild label.

NSO has toured to Spain with Katherine Jenkins and Alfie Boe and was proud to play at the ceremony marking the handover to the nation of the new DNRC Rehabilitation Centre in Loughborough in the presence of Prince William and the Prime Minister. In March 2019, NSO performed at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In the Autumn of 2019 NSO appeared in a nationwide UK tour with Tasmin Little and Philip Dukes as soloists, conducted by Rimma Sushanskaya. Visits to New York and corporate concerts for Viking Cruises at London’s Cadogan Hall were highlights of the season, as well as working on new television productions for both HBO and Netflix. Performances of Beethoven symphonies and the Emperor Piano Concerto have been released on Chasing the Dragon records in 2019.

In 2018, NSO topped the classical charts for weeks collaborating with presenter Alan Titchmarsh and composer Debbie Wiseman for a project named “The Glorious Garden”. In 2017, NSO again occupied top spot with a recording of new music in Debbie Wiseman’s “Musical Zodiac”. The recent release of the film “Edie” starring Sheila Hancock featured NSO on its soundtrack. NSO returned to Abbey Road Studios in November 2018 with Debbie Wiseman and Stephen Fry, recording a soundtrack to Fry’s book, “Mythos”, another no.1 disc in the classical chart.

Maestro Anthony Inglis and the NSO are annually featured on Cunard’s RMS Queen Mary 2 for the latest in a series of invariably sold-out, Last Night of the Cunard Proms Cruise performances. The NSO is delighted that this relationship with Cunard continues to flourish. The orchestra has enjoyed a special relationship with Warner Leisure Hotels, performing a series of Prom concerts through 2019/20.

The National Symphony Orchestra was founded in the 1940’s and immediately became a significant recording orchestra. From the 1980’s the reputation and standing of the orchestra surged forwards, successfully performing and recording for audiences in a dynamic range of genres: Classical, Film and TV scores, West End and Broadways Musicals, accompanying celebrated international singers, all of which it continues to do to this day.

Though based in London, the NSO performs throughout the United Kingdom, drawing its fine players from all round the country. The NSO prides itself on the huge audiences that regularly support its concerts. The orchestra has performed Opera Evenings with artistes such as Dame Kiri Ta Kanawa and Lesley Garrett

Viennese Nights, Tchaikovsky Galas and programmes of popular classics have been performed to capacity houses at prestigious venues including The Royal Festival Hall, Barbican, Royal Albert Hall and Symphony Hall, Birmingham to name but a few.

The NSO played seasons with the New York City Ballet when they visited the London Coliseum, performing under the baton of Charles Barker and Jack Every; the orchestra toured extensively for The Moscow City Ballet for many years each time they visited Britain.

The NSO has recorded more than 40 complete major classic musicals. This significant legacy means that the NSO is one of the most recorded orchestras at EMI Abbey Road Studies. These musicals, marketed mainly in the USA, often sold more than 1.5 million discs, including recordings of Phantom of the Opera and West Side Story. The Leonard Bernstein Estate remarked: ”There is no finer recording of West Side Story than that which was laid down by the NSO”. The orchestra have also performed a number of spectacular televised and recorded concerts under the direction of distinguished composer conductors from the worlds of TV and Film, such as Barrington Pheloung, the Oscar-winning composer Anne Dudley, Ron Goodwin and Debbie Wiseman – currently Classic fm’s Composer-in-Residence.