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About the National Symphony Orchestra

NSO Biography

The NSO is one of the longest established and most versatile professional orchestras working in Great Britain today. It has a firmly established national and international reputation, with 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 and to connect with audiences with virtuosity, commitment and passion. The orchestra has recently found renewed energy and direction, making a nationwide contribution to music making in Britain.

In 2020 NSO is working closely with both Netflix and HBO on drama series that have huge international following, for programmes that will be shown later in the year. NSO strings will appear live on stage with Michael Ball and Alfie Boe on a nationwide tour. In May, the orchestra plans to perform under the baton of Debbie Wiseman for H.M.Queen Elizabeth II at the Windsor Royal Pageant, as well as appearing at the palace of Versailles near Paris. NSO will be recording the scores for film and television scores, as well as appearing at popular outdoor Proms concerts such as the Flying Prom for the Shuttleworth Collection in August.

In September 2020 with conductor Anthony Inglis, NSO return to Cunard’s RMS Queen Mary 2 for the latest in a series of annual, and invariably sold-out, Last Night of the Cunard Proms transatlantic crossing performances. The orchestra plans to make its USA debut on arrival in New York. NSO is delighted that their relationship with Cunard continues to flourish. The orchestra enjoys a special performing relationship with Warner Leisure Hotels, playing Warner Prom Concerts in 2020.

In 2019, the orchestra topped the classical charts for weeks in a collaboration between Alan Titchmarsh and Debbie Wiseman called “The Glorious Garden”. The album achieved so many sales that it even appeared in the popular charts. In 2017, NSO again occupied top spot with a recording of new music in Debbie Wiseman’s “Musical Zodiac”. The release of the film “Edie” starring Sheila Hancock features NSO on its soundtrack.

In May 2018, NSO toured to Spain with Katherine Jenkins and Alfie Boe and in June NSO 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 Prime Minister May and The Duke of Cambridge.

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, under the charismatic leadership of percussionist and manager Anne Collis, 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. The orchestra enjoys a special relationship with current chart-topping vocalists by backing Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins. (Quotes)

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 Orchestra has been conducted by such prestigious maestros as Vilém Tauský, David Coleman, Martin Yates and its current principal conductor, Anthony Inglis. Inglis has conducted more than any other maestro at the Royal Albert Hall.

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 Everl; 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 orchestra 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.

Among the many stars with whom the NSO has appeared are Reba McEntire, Dame Shirley Bassey and Sir Cliff Richard. The NSO has shared the stage in Hyde Park with Sir Elton John and tours Europe twice a year with a hugely successful production entitled “The Show – A Tribute to ABBA”. The NSO have also performed with Robbie Williams, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall and many more luminaries from the world of popular music. It has also accompanied artists such as Hayley Westenra, Goldfrapp, Kanye West and Vanessa Mae and were the orchestra on stage during episodes of ITV’s ‘Push the Button’ with Ant and Dec.