Come with us on a journey to the frozen north

Ely Cathedral, Saturday September 24th


If you haven’t heard a piece of music in which the soloists are birds – real ones – here’s your chance. Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara based his Cantus Arcticus on recordings taken near the Arctic Circle and in the bogs outside the town of Liminka in northern Finland.  The result is utterly beautiful and surreal, a conversation between the real, represented by the orchestra, and the dreamlike songs of cranes, larks, geese and whooper swans, played all round the Cathedral in surround sound.

We are also thrilled to be joined by Britten Sinfonia’s co-principal flautist, Thomas Hancox, to play Carl Nielsen’s delightful Flute Concerto. Combining piquancy with drive and humour, it is both sophisticated and graceful, demanding virtuoso playing and delicate musicianship from the soloist.

Finally, bask in the lush romanticism of Sibelius’ Symphony no 1 in E minor, a piece filled with pathos and Nordic chill redolent of the fact that it was written just as the Russian Tsar Nicholas II was curtailing Finland’s self-governance.


‘Thomas Hancox enjoys complete technical control, his phrasing is awesome, his tonal quality in all registers is beguiling and he communicates informatively and humorously with his admirers’

The Westmorland Gazette


‘An amazing and memorable experience’

These were the words of journalist and blogger Rosemary Westwell about Ely Sinfonia’s concert on Saturday 30th April 2022.  She said “It’s at times like these that we really appreciate the first-rate concerts that we have in our magnificent Ely Cathedral.”

In our first full orchestral concert since lockdown, we played two pieces, Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings and Mahler’s   Symphony No 1, arguably one of the greatest musical treats in the orchestral repertoire.

About the Dvořák, Rosemary commented that “The richness of the massed stringed instruments was infused with warmth. This charming work in the hands of these fine instrumentalists took us on an amazing, varied journey ranging from joyful emotional heights, rhythmic buoyancy, rapid sweeping climaxes to delicate wistfulness. “

She was equally impressed by the Mahler, which she said: “(it) gave us much to think about and as I left the concert, my mind was still buzzing with the excitement of the work.  All life was here and such meaningful effects were only possible through the unsurmountable skill and dedication of these excellent instruments led by their phenomenal conductor, Steve Bingham.”  

We would like to thank everyone whose help made this wonderful concert possible.

To download and print the programme, please click here .  Please note that this is designed to print on A4 paper on both sides and for the pages to fall into the right order once the sheets have been assembled. 

Ely Sinfonia Orchestral Workshop 2023

Having had to miss 2022 due to Covid issues we’re delighted to be able to announce our 2023 workshop day as Sunday 8th January. The repertoire will be Tchaikovsky’s wonderful Symphony no.6, the “Pathétique”. More information about our workshops can be found here.

Ely Sinfonia Newsletter

The latest copy of our newsletters (January 2022 and addendum newsletter!) can be found here!

Ely Sinfonia Cards for sale!

For more information and to see a sneak peak of the cards and how to order them, please visit the Friends of Ely Sinfonia page

Charity Status and Gift Aid Form

To download a copy of the Ely Sinfonia gift aid form, both for members to complete (if not already done so) or for those kind enough to make a donation to the orchestra, please click here. This will download a Word document, so once you have clicked the link, please look at the bottom of your screen to find it.  Please do remember to tell us if your tax status changes and we are no longer able to claim gift aid on your donation.

Registered Charity Number 1161642

Friends of Ely Sinfonia

Interested in supporting your local orchestra?

To become a Friend of Ely Sinfonia please click here and see what benefits it can bring you and the orchestra.

Click here to download past and present Friends’ newsletters.

If you wish to give us the gift aid on your membership fee or to make a donation, you can download a gift aid form by clicking here.  This will download a Word document, so once you have clicked the link, please look at the bottom of your screen to find it.

We look forward to seeing you at our concerts and workshops.

Membership of the orchestra

If you are interested in joining the orchestra, please use the Contact Us page of this website to get in touch. Information about subscriptions, and renewals for existing members, can be found on the Members Area page.