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 provide students from the diverse academic backgrounds of the University of London’s component colleges with the opportunity to play together.
The orchestra seeks to provide students with the unique opportunity to study and perform some of the most challenging symphonic repertoire to the highest standard, catering both for those wishing to continue and develop their performance skills whilst completing degrees in non-musical subjects, as well as attracting members seeking to pursue careers in professional music. Repertoire highlights of recent seasons include Strauss Eine Alpensinfonie, Shostakovich Symphony no. 11, Stravinsky Rite of Spring. In addition, the orchestra has worked alongside world-class soloists such as Nicola Benedetti, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, and Tom Poster.
In March 2009, ULSO performed for the first time at the internationally-recognised Cadogan Hall in London. An extremely successful performance, the programme comprised Haydn Cello Concerto in C with cellist Guy Johnston and Shostakovich Symphony no. 4. Following the 2009 debut, the orchestra was welcomed back to Cadogan Hall in March 2010 alongside Michael Collins, widely considered to be the world’s most versatile clarinettist, performing Weber Clarinet Concerto No. 2 and Mahler’s epic Symphony no. 6. A return to Cadogan Hall in Spring 2011 saw the orchestra perform Shostakovich Symphony no. 11. In addition, ULSO made its St. John’s Smith Square debut in February 2011 with a programme of Wagner, Beethoven, and Sibelius.
In July 2010, internationally-renowned conductor Daniel Capps took over as Music Director of ULSO. Repertoire highlights for his debut season include Stravinsky Rite of Spring and Shostakovich Symphony no. 11. In addition, the orchestra collaborated with a guest conductor, Matthew Wood, in Summer 2011 for a programme including Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique and Respighi Fountains of Rome.
In September 2008 ULSO toured to Hong Kong. An incredibly successful tour, the orchestra played alongside celebrated young soloists Nicola Benedetti and Leonard Elschenbroich, performing in two of the city’s most prominent concert venues, Sha Tin Town Hall and Hong Kong City Hall.
In 2011–12, ULSO embarked on an ambitious season of eight projects, including a recording session for Silent Opera and performances of repertoire such as Stravinsky Petrushka, Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra and Shostakovich Symphony No. 10.
The 2012 – 13 ULSO Season was defined by its ambitious repertoire, including Stravinsky’s Firebird, Sibelius Symphony No. 2 and other major works. The orchestra welcomed Guest Conductor, Justin Doyle on Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 and Shostakovich Symphony No. 9 and world-renowned cello soloist, Eve-Marie Caravassilis in a charity concert for Trinity Hospice.
A student-run society, ULSO must rely on sponsorship in order to survive. The orchestra is generously supported by the University of London Union. The orchestra was supported by Faber Music Ltd. from 2009 - 13. In addition, ULSO is extremely grateful to its Friends, without whom none of the fantastic projects it undertakes would be possible.