The Lakeland Sinfonia Concert Society
Bringing high-quality classical orchestral music to Kendal for over 50 years
The Lakeland Sinfonia Concert Society was a development from the Kendal Chamber Orchestra, and has provided over 50 years of fine, live, classical orchestral music in Kendal. The Society is a UK registered charity No: 505373, and has two objectives, a) to manage the Lakeland Sinfonia orchestra, and b) to present live orchestral classical music concerts in Kendal. Pre-COVID, each season was better than the last, and over the last 10 years there has been steady development in aspiration and achievement.
The Kendal Chamber Orchestra originally played in Kendal Parish Church and Kendal Town Hall. The orchestra was later renamed the Lakeland Sinfonia, and its series of concerts was augmented by other orchestras, notably the Northern Sinfonia. The Society held a gala concert in May 1982 at the opening of Kendal Leisure Centre and Westmorland Hall, and since then all the concerts have been held there.
Photo: The Lakeland Sinfonia December 2018
Each season, from October to April, the Society stages a series of eight live classical orchestral concerts, typically featuring five orchestras – The Hallé, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Lakeland Sinfonia, and other orchestras that vary from season to season.
The Lakeland Sinfonia, which is the Society’s own orchestra, plays two of the season’s concerts. The players, who are musicians drawn from across the north-west of England, greatly appreciate the opportunity to play with internationally renowned conductors and soloists – such an opportunity is not available elsewhere in the area. The orchestra is managed by Peter Crompton who is also the librarian, the Leader is violinist Martin Hughes, and Wyn Davies is a frequent conductor. The Society’s President is Thorben Dittes, Artistic Director of the Royal Northern Sinfonia.
The BBC Philharmonic came for the first time in 1984, and their concerts were broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Nowadays the orchestra still records its concerts in the Westmorland Hall for future broadcasting. The Hallé first played for us in 1989.
Many well-known artists have graced our stage, some in the early stages of their careers: Dimitri Alexeev, Imogen Cooper, Emma Johnson, Nigel Kennedy, Julian Lloyd Webber, Christina Ortiz, Maxim Vengerov and Simon Rattle. More recently we have given performing opportunities to Alina Ibragimova, Giovanni Guzzo, Robin Ticciati, Garry Walker, Sam Boden, Alexei Ogrintchouk and Elena Urioste, all of whom are now carving out careers on the international stage.
Over the last few years well-established performers such as Freddy Kempf, Nicola Benedetti, Angela Hewitt, Julian Bliss, Tasmin Little, Jennifer Pike, Alessandro Taverna, Andrew Gourlay, Julian Rachlin and Thomas Zehetmair have all brought great pleasure to our audiences with their expert music-making. And local superstar saxophonist Jess Gillam brought the house down when she joined The Hallé at the Westmorland Hall in January 2020.
Photos: Jennifer Pike (c) Arno Jess Gillam
The Society is run by a small band of enthusiastic trustees; all volunteers, they meet regularly to oversee the business of the Society, each having their own area of expertise and responsibility. The trustees, other volunteers, service providers and local businesses undertake the work to commission, plan and deliver the concert series and the development of the Lakeland Sinfonia orchestra. A lot of the workload is on concert nights, and we would be grateful for further assistance on the night with meeting and greeting the audience, the pop-up box office, and assisting people to find their seats in the auditorium. If you would like to help then please contact us.