About

Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini and Stravinsky Petrushka, Duke's Hall, 2023. Liz Isles Photography

The University of London Symphony Orchestra is widely recognised as one of the leading student orchestras in the UK. Founded in 1955, ULSO was established to give students from the diverse academic backgrounds of the University of London the opportunity to develop their interests in orchestral playing.

The Orchestra seeks to provide the unique opportunity to study and perform some of the most challenging symphonic repertoire to the very highest standards, both for students not specifically studying music who wish to further their performance skills, as well as those pursuing careers as professional musicians.

I remember performing Mahler 5 with ULSO. Possibly the most iconic piece for a trumpet player - it was amazing to play it in such a supportive environment.
Jason Evans - Principal Trumpet, Philharmonia Orchestra
ULSO provided some of the most enjoyable and informative orchestral experience of my student days.
Alex McFarlane - Associate Principal Viola
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
ULSO provides performance experience which you may not get elsewhere at University or Conservatoire.
Alex McFarlane - Associate Principal Viola
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
ULSO is not only regular playing that you might not get at college in your first few years, but it’s also great socially - getting to meet other players that you might not meet elsewhere.
Finlay Bain - 4th Horn
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
I feel that the experiences I garnered from ULSO have helped me with my future professional career.
Alex McFarlane - Associate Principal Viola
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
ULSO helped me to learn how to play in a section and how to deal with certain aspects of playing - like if I happened to have duff chops on that day(!)
Finlay Bain - 4th Horn
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
The social experience was great and I still have lasting friendships from my time in ULSO.
Alex McFarlane - Associate Principal Viola
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

ULSO is a great place to meet like minded musicians, to learn great repertoire, and perform to an extremely high level.
Jason Evans - Principal Trumpet, Philharmonia Orchestra

Upcoming Concerts

Players

Photo of violinist Photo of violinist Photo of violinist

ULSO is made up of students from nearly every university in London. We are unique in that we offer students the opportunity to rehearse and perform large-scale symphonic works to an exceptionally high standard, regardless of what they study - entry is soley by audition. We have a strong mix of both Conservatoire students and students who wish to pursue music as a serious hobby.

ULSO rehearsals take place on Tuesday evenings between 18:30 and 21:30 at St Stephen's Church, Gloucester Road, London, SW7 4RL.

Conductors

Daniel Capps - Music Director

Daniel is our current Music Director and Principal Conductor. He first performed with ULSO in 2010 and has remained closely involved during his residency in New York. Read his full biography at danielcapps.com.

Guest Conductors

Every year, ULSO invites professional guest conductors to lead some of our projects. We have been fortunate to have attracted conductors of exceptional quality, including Peter Stark, Justin Doyle, Masayuki Cavalho and William Carslake.

ULSO is run by students for students. A committee is elected from the orchestra each year and is responsible for the behind-the-scenes organisation necessary for the success of the orchestra. Here are the profiles of the current committee members so you can spot them during rehearsal. Come and say hello!

Chair

Photo of current Chair

Akira Liu
RCM

chair@ulso.co.uk

Hi everyone! I’m Akira, the orchestra’s chair for this season and also a trombonist. I am pursuing a doctorate at RCM in trombone pedagogy and embouchure dystonia. On behalf of the 2024/25 ULSO Committee, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to all who are members of the orchestra, thinking of joining us, alumni or friends, or simply dropping by! It’s our job as a committee to keep ULSO running smoothly and ensure every player gets the most out of playing with the orchestra, so please do reach out to us if you have any questions! I look forward to inviting everyone to our 70th anniversary season!

Vice Chair

Photo of current Vice Chair

Valeria Varlashova
Imperial Graduate

vice.chair@ulso.co.uk

Hi, I am Valeria, the orchestra’s vice chair for this season. I’m a violinist and am currently completing a Master’s in Mathematics & Finance at Imperial College London. I previously graduated from Manhattan School of Music in New York, and joined ULSO in 2023. I’m excited to be part of the committee this year, and looking forward to a great season!

Orchestral Manager

Photo of current orchestral manager

Elly Chen
UCL

orchestral.manager@ulso.co.uk

Hi, I am Elly. I am a violinist and also ULSO’s orchestral manager for this season. I am a King’s alumni and now studying Digital Humanities at UCL for my master’s degree. This year is my third year in ULSO and second year as a committee member, and I look forward to celebrating ULSO’s upcoming 70th anniversary with everyone!

Administrator

Photo of current Administrator

Alexia Huan
KCL

admin@ulso.co.uk

Hello! I’m Alexia, a violinist and I will be the admin for ULSO this season. I am currently studying music in King’s College London and I look forward to another exciting season with ULSO :)