Sinfonia of Leeds

Honorary President: Michael Beverley DL

Sinfonia of Leeds was founded in 1972 by Graham Bennett and gave its first ever concert on 13 January 1973 at the City of Leeds and Carnegie College, Becketts Park, Headingley (now part of Leeds Beckett University). Graham's avowed aim was to bring together the best amateur musicians in the area and to weld them into a chamber orchestra with professional standards of performance and presentation. He conducted the orchestra for the next 17 years.

David Greed succeeded Graham Bennett as Music Director and Principal Conductor in 1990, and has encouraged the orchestra to broaden its musical horizons and grow in order to play some of the larger symphonic works.

From 2003-12 Dougie Scarfe, Opera North horn player and then Director of the Orchestra, Chorus and Concert Programme at Opera North, was appointed Associate Music Director.

In 2014 Anthony Kraus, then Assistant Head of Music at Opera North, joined the orchestra as the new Associate Music Director.

In addition to performing the standard orchestral repertoire, Sinfonia has commissioned and performed new works by Philip Wilby, Arthur Wills, William Kinghorn, Lawrence Killian and Graham Lynch.

Sinfonia has worked with many eminent soloists including the pianist Michael Roll, the late Ralph Holmes (violin) and the Leader of the English Chamber Orchestra, Stephanie Gonley. Our connection with Opera North, through David Greed and Anthony Kraus has given us an opportunity to work with a number of ON soloists including, in recent years, David Aspin (viola), Sally Pendlebury (cello) Colin Honour (clarinet), Andy Long (violin), Catherine Lowe (oboe) and Murray Greig (trumpet).

In addition, Sinfonia is committed to supporting young musicians and has featured the following over the last few years: Yuanfan Yang and Lara Melda (piano), Jordan Black (clarinet) and Sophie Rosa, Nathalie Shaw and Emma Oldfield (violin).

We are always interested in hearing from potential players, particularly string players, and especially viola players. If you are at Grade 8 or above and are interested please email info@sinfoniaofleeds.org.uk

Honorary President

Michael Beverley

Sinfonia of Leeds is delighted to announce that Michael Beverley DL has accepted the invitation to become its Honorary President.

Michael has had an extremely interesting business career which he blended with a significant pro bono involvement with the Arts and Education. He served as a Board member of Opera North from 1991 to 2010 the last 12 years of which as Chairman.

In 2013 at the invitation of Sir John Eliot Gardiner he agreed to serve as Chairman of the MCO ( Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras ie English Baroque Soloists and Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique), retiring in 2019.

His involvement with the University of Leeds has stretched over 20 years covering fund raising and commercial activities. He recently donated a significant sum to launch the Michael Beverley Innovation Fellowships, innovation being an area of especial interest. 

All this has been made possible through the support he received whilst a partner with Arthur Andersen where he spent 30 years retiring in 2001 as UK Regional Senior and Managing Partner. 

After which he has built, with his daughter Rachel, the businesses of the One Medical Group which principally delivers primary care services under contracts from the NHS. 

Michael is a fervent Leeds United supporter and was a Board member from 1988 to 1995 and had to remind himself that the choice of the team was beyond his competency.

Our Music Directors

David Greed - Music Director
David Greed

David Greed studied at the Royal College of Music in London. In 1978 he was appointed Leader of the newly formed Orchestra of Opera North becoming the youngest leader in the country.

He has appeared regularly as a soloist, both with the Opera North Orchestra and with other orchestras throughout the region. David's repertoire is extensive, including the concertos of Brahms, Elgar, Sibelius, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Bruch, Barber, Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi, as well as other smaller works. He has performed the Sibelius, Elgar, Bruch, Mendelssohn and Barber concertos with the Orchestra of ON.

He has appeared as guest Leader with many orchestras - The Philharmonia, City of Birmingham, National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Philharmonic, Halle, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Royal Opera House, Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, Irish Chamber, Guildford Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Northern Chamber Orchestra and English National Ballet. He led the Orchestra of the Royal Opera on a concert tour of the USA.

He has recorded The Lark Ascending (Vaughan-Williams) for Naxos with David Lloyd-Jones and the Orchestra of Opera North. He has also recorded the Elgar Violin Concerto with Hertfordshire Youth Orchestra.

In his position of Music Director of the Sinfonia of Leeds David has completed recordings of the piano concertos of Bartok, Lutoslawski, Chopin, Rachmaninov's 3rd Concerto and Beethoven's Emperor Concerto. David also holds the position of Principal Conductor of the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra (Middlesbrough) and has conducted the Helix Ensemble (Loughborough), the City of Leeds Youth Orchestra, and at the Royal Northern College and Chetham's School, Manchester. David has also made visits to the State of Kasakhstan and has held the position of Principal Guest Conductor with its National Symphony Orchestra. He coaches violin and holds masterclass sessions for the National Youth Orchestra violin sections.

He plays on a violin by J.B. Guadagnini owned by the Yorkshire Guadagnini 1757 Syndicate.

Anthony Kraus - Assistant Music Director
Tony Kraus

Anthony read Music at Bristol University, where he was University Organ Scholar, and conductor of the University Chamber Choir and Orchestra. Subsequent studies as a répétiteur at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama resulted in him winning the Ricordi Prize for conducting, followed by a year at the National Opera Studio in London.

Since then he has worked for English Touring Opera, New Youth Opera, and various other opera companies. He has also been a regular coach at music summer schools, including the Royal School of Church Music and the Finchley Children's Music Group. He has performed throughout the UK and Europe, both as a pianist and organist.

From 2003 until 2017 he was on the staff of Opera North, appointed as Chorus Master, and subsequently as Acting Head of Music and Assistant Head of Music. While on the music staff there he conducted several productions, including The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, Cautionary Tales! (Errolyn Wallen), The Bartered Bride, L’enfant et les sortileges (Ravel), The Adventures of Pinocchio (Jonathan Dove), Carousel (Rogers and Hammerstein), Ruddigore (Gilbert & Sullivan) and Joshua (Handel). He has also appeared with the Orchestra of Opera North and Sinfonia Viva in concert, and is Music Director of the British Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, and Associate Music Director, Sinfonia of Leeds. He has also worked regularly with the Leeds Festival Chorus, and with Huddersfield Choral Society and Sheffield Philharmonic Choir.

Future plans include conducting Madama Butterfly for Opera North, Hansel & Gretel for the Royal Northern College of Music, Falstaff for Garsington Opera (as assistant), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for The Grange Festival.