About Britten Sinfonia

Britten Sinfonia is one of the world’s most celebrated and pioneering ensembles. The orchestra is acclaimed for its virtuoso musicianship, an inspired approach to concert programming which makes bold, intelligent connections across 400 years of repertoire, and a versatility that is second to none. Britten Sinfonia breaks the mould by not having a principal conductor or director, instead choosing to collaborate with a range of the finest international guest artists from across the musical spectrum, resulting in performances of rare insight and energy.


Britten Sinfonia is an Associate Ensemble at the Barbican in London, has residencies across the east of England in Norwich, Cambridge (where it is an Ensemble-in-Residence at the University) and Saffron Walden, where the orchestra becomes Resident Orchestra at Saffron Hall in Autumn 2016. The orchestra also performs a chamber music series at Wigmore Hall and appears regularly at major UK festivals including the Aldeburgh Festival and BBC Proms. The orchestra’s growing international profile includes regular touring to North and South America and Europe. The orchestra made its debut in China in May 2016 with a three-concert residency in Shanghai, as well as performances in Beijing and Wuhan.

Founded in 1992, the orchestra is inspired by the ethos of Benjamin Britten through world-class performances, illuminating and distinctive programmes where old meets new, and a deep commitment to bringing outstanding music to both the world’s finest concert halls and the local community. Britten Sinfonia is a BBC Radio 3 broadcast partner and regularly records for Harmonia Mundi and Hyperion.

Central to Britten Sinfonia’s artistic programmes is a wide range of creative learning projects both within schools and the community. Britten Sinfonia Academy is a dynamic chamber orchestra for talented secondary school-aged musicians from the east of England. Mirroring the adventurous programming and musical excellence of Britten Sinfonia, the Academy works without a conductor, playing side-by-side Britten Sinfonia musicians who nurture and challenge our members, developing their musical and leadership skills. We also hold an annual composition competition, OPUS, offering unpublished composers the chance to receive a professional commission.

In 2013 Britten Sinfonia was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Ensemble having previously won the Chamber Music Award in 2009 and the Ensemble Award in 2007. Britten Sinfonia recordings have been Grammy nominated, received a Gramophone Award and an ECHO/Klassik Recording Award, and most recently were awarded a BBC Music Magazine Award for its recording of James MacMillan’s Oboe Concerto. In 2014 Britten Sinfonia was nominated for an Olivier Award for its collaboration with the Richard Alston Dance Company.