About the Orchestra

The Orchestra

North Somerset Philharmonia was formed in 1995 as the Nailsea Concert Orchestra and has been performing classical favourites in North Somerset ever since. In October 2023, the members voted to change the orchestra name to North Somerset Philharmonia. This reflects the wider repertoire that we now perform and will make it easier for the orchestra to encourage players and audience from further afield.

With many of our founding members still playing a vital part in the orchestra, along with the addition of many more new players, the orchestra continues to go from strength to strength and has come to be seen as something of a local institution.

Our members span a wide age range and all share a great passion and enthusiasm for playing music.

We enjoying playing classics and light music and regularly perform Beethoven, Mozart, Rossini and Haydn, along with seasonal pieces, and film scores.

Regularly featuring promising young solo musicians and vocalists, the orchestra offers music for the young and old alike. See our Our next concert page for details of our next concert.

Our Conductor: Ben England BEM

Ben England BEM is an internationally celebrated conductor and music educator. He studied music at the University of Bristol, specialising in composition and conducting before becoming an Advanced Skills Teacher and leading music in schools across two counties. Ben’s innovative work combining music education and technology have led to him being nominated for four National Music and Drama Education awards, including the Francesca Hanley Inspiration award in 2022. He has conducted many of Bristol’s finest ensembles, including the Bristol Ensemble, Bristol Opera, the Bristol Cabot Choir and more.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 Ben established a number of digital ensembles rehearsing on YouTube, and is widely regarded as the world leader in online rehearsals and music-making. These groups included the Self-Isolation Choir (with 6000+ singers) which produced Handel’s Messiah in its entirety and was seen all around the world, and Homechoir – a free online singing group which has grown to nearly 3000 regular members and still meets together several times per week (homechoir.org for details). As a result of this pioneering work, he was awarded the British Empire Medal by the Queen for his services to choral music and the community.

Additionally, Ben was commended by the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2020 as one of the inspirational musicians of the year. Ben continues to lead thousands of singers globally in unique performances of digital music, rehearsed and recorded through the internet. His work with digital choirs has featured prominently in national and international media, including BBC Evening News and World Service, BBC Radio 3 and 4, Classic FM, Scala Radio, NHK Evening News (Japan), CBS Evening News (USA) and many more. He has worked with prominent musicians such as Patrick Hawes, Nigel Short and Tenebrae, John Suchet, Laurence Cummings, Marina Mahler, Ralph Allwood MBE and John Rutter CBE.

Our Leader: Ali White

Ali White studied violin and viola with Professor Richard Crabtree before attending Birmingham Conservatoire where she gained a BMus(Hons) and Post Graduate Diploma in Performance. Whilst completing here Post Graduate studies, she was awarded the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s string training scheme, and also toured and recorded with Chris de Burgh.  Ali regularly plays in a string quartet and has been teaching violin and viola in the local area for over 20 years.

If you’d like to lean more about the orchestra, please contact us

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