Guest conductor September 2018: James Murray
James Murray is a conductor, composer and pianist based in London. He studied piano and composition at the Royal Academy of Music, and conducting at the Royal College of Music, graduating with distinction in 2014.
He has conducted a wide variety of music at major concert venues and recording studios in London. As a conductor of contemporary music he has given more than 100 premieres of new works, including concerts with the London Sinfonietta, the Nonclassical series, and a collaboration between the Royal Academy of Music and Chicago’s MIT, later recorded on the Academy’s in-house label.
From 2006-2010 he shadowed the chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Gianandrea Noseda, and more recently conducted the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as a finalist in the Leverhulme Young Conductor scheme. He is chief conductor and co-founder of the Sydenham Sinfonia, chief conductor of the Vanbrugh Ensemble and regularly conducts many amateur and youth orchestras and choirs across the UK. Recent collaborations include concerts with violinist Simon Standage and pianist Tom Poster.
Also active as a choral conductor, James has worked with London Voices and London Contemporary Voices, and has recently conducted the Yorke Trust chorus and orchestra in performances of Handel's L'Allegro il Penseroso ed il Moderato on baroque instruments.
As a composer, James's works include a musical for children based on the Pied Piper, a concerto for Musical Saw and orchestra for the Really Terrible Orchestra, which premiered in London and New York, and the award-winning Variations on a theme by Tarrega (better known as the Nokia ringtone!).
Guest conductor January 2018 and January 2019: Joel Sandelson
Having graduated from Clare College, Cambridge in 2016 with a triple-starred first in Music, Joel Sandelson is currently studying conducting at the Royal Academy of Music with Sian Edwards. Since 2013 he has conducted the Barbican Chamber Orchestra, directing them in successful London concerts and working with soloists including Alexander Baillie, Max Baillie, Bartholomew LaFollette and Viv McLean. He is also the founder and conductor of Wond’rous Machine, an innovative period-instrument orchestra focusing on eighteenth-century music.
At Cambridge he was the Conducting Scholar of the Cambridge University Music Society for two years after winning the university’s conducting competition twice. He conducted concerts with their flagship symphony orchestra in Cambridge and on tours in Europe in repertoire including Mahler, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. He has assisted conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Edward Gardner, Trevor Pinnock and John Wilson. Upcoming engagements include concerts with Istante Ensemble, Orchestra of St John’s, Perseus Ensemble, and study at Tanglewood.
As a cellist, he has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician, including several recitals at Wigmore Hall and concertos with orchestras in the UK and Europe.
Conductor Emeritus: Simon Thompson
Simon Thompson was the musical director and conductor of Amadeus Chamber Orchestra for 30 years until October 2017 when he decided to step down. Amadeus players have greatly appreciated Simon’s musicality, meticulous preparation, his warmth of manner in rehearsals and his very clear beat! We all feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Simon and to have participated in so many highly successful and enjoyable concerts. We are delighted that Simon has accepted the honorary title of ‘Conductor Emeritus’ for Amadeus.
Founding conductor: Keith Swanwick
Amadeus Chamber Orchestra was formed in 1975 by its first conductor Keith Swanwick. It quickly became established as the leading local chamber orchestra of St Albans. Keith handed the baton to Simon Thompson in 1988.