News & Reviews

Sinfonia Viva is active in the largest cities and the smallest village communities, working with participants from all backgrounds, entertaining audiences from intimate church settings to major concert halls.

Our projects and concerts make news.

Read about what we do - and if you have any queries about a particular event, please contact us

  • Sinfonia Viva Clinches National RPS Award

    Sinfonia Viva Clinches National Award

    A partnership project involving Derby-based Sinfonia Viva, the Orchestra of the East Midlands, has won a prestigious RPS (Royal Philharmonic Society) Music Award – the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK.

    The project entitled ‘Classically Yours’, involving Sinfonia Viva, Orchestras Live, East Riding Council and Manchester Camerata orchestra, has won the Audiences and Engagement category of the RPS Music Awards – recognising outstanding initiatives that engage new and existing audiences with classical music.

    ‘Classically Yours’ involved a number of community engagement projects and performances reaching more than 2,000 people in Yorkshire as part of the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 programme.

    Viva’s involvement in the project included workshops in nurseries and then a performance of its ‘Flutter & Fly’ family concert.

    The Viva creative team also worked with three community groups to compose new songs inspired by their experiences which they performed in the town alongside the Orchestra and then again in Bridlington alongside Manchester Camerata and other community groups.

    Viva Chief Executive Peter Helps said: “I am delighted that this special partnership, the work it delivered and the contribution from groups in the Pocklington area has been recognised by this most significant national award.

    “I would like to thank all the musicians involved, both professional and non-professional, for their amazing work. The award is shared between us all.”

    For more information about Viva and its wide repertoire of work, please visit



    Media enquiries:

    Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102; 07951 945 665;

    Note to Editors

    Sinfonia Viva

    Sinfonia Viva is a virtuoso ensemble delivering original and extraordinary creative musical experiences. Founded in 1982, Sinfonia Viva celebrated its 35th anniversary this year and has a national reputation as a leader in creative music activity in the UK. Its work offers relevant and enriching possibilities for all.

    Sinfonia Viva is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. For more information about all of Viva’s other performances, visit the website, 

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  • Frank Zielhorst

    Meet the new Principal Conductor of Sinfonia Viva Frank Zielhorst.

    Hear how Frank went from the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and the Conservatoire of Amsterdam, to eventually become Principal Conductor of Sinfonia Viva.

    An Introduction to Frank Zielhorst

    Find out more about Frank and hear him talk about his musical background, his hobbies and passions and the art of being a Principal Conductor.

    An Introduction to Masters & Maestros

    Hear Frank talk about Masters & Maestros - his debut as Principal Conductor of Sinfonia Viva, as he explores the programme for the concert taking place in Derby Cathedral. 

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  • Sinfonia Viva, Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, 29.11.17

    Review by Mike Wheeler & Music and Vision 

    Sinfonia Viva, Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, 29.11.17

    Prokofiev had his tongue in his cheek when he gave the name ‘Classical’ to his first symphony, which both celebrates his Haydn-Mozart models and subverts them at the same time. Sinfonia Viva and conductor Duncan Ward turned in a spruce, dapper performance which missed nothing of the impish undercurrents. The first movement’s crispness, finesse and buoyancy, was matched by elegance and poise in the second. The gavotte was dispatched with a deliciously neat pay-off, and the finale bubbled with Prokofiev’s mischievous energy.

    It was good to hear Hummel getting a moment in the spotlight. His Piano Concerto No 2 may not be the greatest work in the repertoire but it is full of charm, and often more. Soloist Clare Hammond put poetry centre-stage rather than virtuosity, though goodness knows there was plenty of that, too, especially in the many passages for the right hand in thirds. The first movement had drive as well as elegance, with the Italianate second theme bouncing along engagingly. In the proto-Chopin second movement, the piano’s crystalline runs stood out against a firm orchestral bedrock. From there, Hammond eased gently into the finale, in which elegantly-shaped woodwind solos punctuated the general ebullience.

    To start Part 2, we heard Sibelius working his usual magic with a minimum of notes in Scene with Cranes, from his score for the play Kuolema (also the source of his popular Valse Triste). The clarinets’ two-note bird calls pierced the string’s atmospheric back-drop, with fragile solo violin and cello laying the piece to rest at the end.

    Then all that was swept aside in the palpable excitement of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 4, ‘Italian’. The surge of energy in the first movement (with repeat – hooray!), set off the gracefully and elegantly shaped phrases of the second, whose final pizzicato cadence was barely whispered. The minuet third movement became more of an elegant waltz. Then, after a minimal pause, came an account of the finale that was simply irresistible in its readiness to live dangerously.

    At the end it was announced that, sadly, this was Duncan Ward’s last concert as Sinfonia Viva’s Principal Conductor. He has made a big impact during his few years in the job. We’re sorry to see him go, but we wish him well for the future.

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  • Where's That Monster? - Monster Moves Videos

    See our monstrous videos here! 

     Copying Monster

     Tick Tock Monster

     Volcano Monster

     Slimy Monster

     The Mystery Monster!

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  • Sinfonia Viva Derby Residency Brings Anniversary Year To a Close

    Folk tunes, classical gems and even music played from rooftops around the Cathedral are just some of the highlights of Sinfonia Viva’s four-week Autumn Derby Residency.

    Grammy-nominated Sinfonia Viva, the East Midlands’ only professional orchestra, will mark the climax of its 35th anniversary year with the series of performances which showcase the Orchestra’s innovative diversity.

    Hot on the heels of Sinfonia Viva’s return to the outdoor stage at Darley Park on September 3, the Orchestra will launch the new Autumn Twilights season by welcoming the acclaimed Tedesca Quartet to Derby Cathedral on Friday September 22.

    Twilights, which is presented by Sinfonia Viva and Derby Cathedral in association with Orchestras Live and Arts Council England, has been a popular programme throughout the past year.

    The series includes performances by Sinfonia Viva and by visiting musician in the majestic and atmospheric environment of Derby Cathedral.

    On September 22 Tedesca Quartet will perform stirring renditions of Dvorak’s Three Cypresses emotive love songs. This will be followed by Martinu’s stirringly beautiful String Quartet No.7, before the concert comes to rapturous end with Dvorak’s String Quartet Op.51 in Eb, a favourite for string quartets around the world.

    Twilights continues at Derby Cathedral on Wednesday October 4 when Viva’s Principal Conductor Duncan Ward will take the baton as well as directing from the piano for an orchestral performance of inspiring and tender music.

    The concert is entitled ‘Simple Gifts’ and is named after the song that inspired Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ and Wagner’s ‘Siegfried Idyll’ that was written as a present to his wife on the birth of their child Siegfried.

    Both pieces are joined in the programme by Milhaud’s ‘La Creation du Monde’ and scores by Martinu and Wagner.

    Viva’s wind quintet then returns to the Cathedral on Friday October 6 for a late afternoon and then evening concert as part of the hugely popular Derby Folk Festival.

    The Folk Reflections programme will take the audience across the globe to experience the vast influence and reach of folk music throughout history.

    Featuring shanties, Slavonic dances, Romanian folk, miniatures from Devon and Norfolk, as well as extracts from Paul Patterson’s Westerly Winds, the concert is free for festival wristband holders with tickets available for general music lovers.

    The climax of Viva’s Derby Residency will see a special commission, again as part of Derby Folk Festival, entitled ‘Call From On High’ on Sunday October 7.

    The free outdoor performances will see musicians playing from rooftop locations at 12 noon, 3pm and 5pm with each ten-minute show starting with the Cathedral bells chiming on the hour.

    The live music and sound score has been composed by Andrew Williams and specially commissioned for the city by Sinfonia Viva.
    Andrew Williams explained: “The different compositions will be towering folk ballads that tell the story of Derby and Derbyshire’s history.

    “The best vantage points are Iron Gate and Amen Alley and I hope that everyone will enjoy these emotionally charged flights of musical fancy that will be whisked into the air from the top of Derby Cathedral and down to the busy streets below.

    “Each site specific piece will be performed on the hour, starting with the last chime of the hour bell and will sound across Derby’s Cathedral Quarter, as a celebration of the enduring importance of music and folk traditions.”

    Sinfonia Viva Chief Executive Peter Helps continued: “Andrew’s ‘A Call From On High’ is an innovative and unique way for us to close our anniversary Derby Residency which is designed to show a range of different playing styles and repertoire.

    “It perfectly illustrates our vision to make orchestral music accessible to all - taking our musicians to the rooftops in the city centre to play music that can be enjoyed by everyone from the streets below.

    “We wanted to mark our 35th year by reaching more people than ever both through our concert programme and our nationally acclaimed education and community outreach programmes.

    “As well as orchestral performances, our aim was to work with 3,500 people of all ages which we have certainly achieved.

    “Highlights of our anniversary year have been the ‘Mechanical Advantage’ education residency, the Twilights performances at Derby Cathedral, the launch of Sing Viva, our new carers’ choir, which performed for the first time at Darley Park and touring the region with our mobile inflatable venue.

    “This has been a whirlwind anniversary year and I am delighted that we will be coming home to Derby for the final leg of 2017 with such a diverse range of music to be enjoyed by all.”

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