Ely Sinfonia was founded in November 1999 by a group led by ADeC (Arts Development in East Cambridgeshire), with the aim of becoming a beacon of excellence as East Cambridgeshire’s own community orchestra.
Since then it has become one of the region’s best respected orchestras. Today, Ely Sinfonia is made up of players of all ages and from a wide range of backgrounds, including school and college students, business professionals, retired people and local music teachers. Its repertoire ranges from mainstream works to the contemporary, including special commissions. In addition to running its own regular concerts, it has close links with Ely Cathedral, regularly providing small groups to play at services such as the Easter Day Mass. Other projects include open workshops, when less experienced players have the chance to play alongside the orchestra’s regular members and develop their orchestral and ensemble playing techniques. In addition, Ely Sinfonia is a strong supporter of the Cambridge Young Composer of the Year competition and winners’ pieces have frequently been played at its concerts.
Rather than meet on a weekly basis, Ely Sinfonia has established a successful formula of concentrated rehearsals during the few weeks leading up to each concert.
The orchestra is privileged to have international cellist Raphael Wallfisch as its honorary president. He has performed with Ely Sinfonia several times and in October 2014 was joined by his wife, the highly respected violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch, to play the Brahms Double Concerto for violin and cello with the orchestra.
Ely Sinfonia is completely independent and run by its members. It is a registered charity, number 1161642. The constitution and rules of the orchestra can be downloaded from here.
Steve Bingham – Artistic Director
Steve Bingham was appointed Artistic Director of Ely Sinfonia in January 2008, having previously worked with them in both a leading and coaching capacity.
Steve studied violin with Emmanuel Hurwitz, Sidney Griller and the Amadeus Quartet at the Royal Academy of Music from 1981 to 1985, where he won prizes for orchestral leading and string quartet playing. In 1985 he formed the Bingham String Quartet, an ensemble which has become one of the foremost in the UK, with an enviable reputation for both classical and contemporary repertoire. The Quartet has recorded numerous CDs and has worked for radio and television both in the UK and as far afield as Australia. The Quartet has worked with distinguished musicians such as Jack Brymer, Raphael Wallfisch, Michael Collins and David Campbell.
Steve has appeared as guest leader with many orchestras including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, English National Ballet and English Sinfonia. He has given solo recitals both in the UK and America and his concerto performances include works by Bach, Vivaldi, Bruch, Prokofiev, Mendelssohn and Sibelius, given in venues as prestigious as St. Johns’ Smith Square and the Royal Albert Hall.
In recent years Steve has developed his interest in improvisation, electronics and World music, collaborating with several notable musicians including guitarist Jason Carter and players such as Sanju Vishnu Sahai (tabla), Baluji Shivastrav (sitar) and Abdullah Ibrahim (piano). Steve has released a number of solo CDs, including “Duplicity” his first album, which has been played on a number of radio stations, including BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. The Independent gave it a 4-star review.
Steve has many years’ conducting experience with both amateur and student orchestras and ensembles.
You can find out more about Steve on his website at www.stevebingham.co.uk.