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Setting the standard for bold musical experiences.
Inspiring communities
across the East of England with internationally acclaimed music making.
Building connections
with other art forms and musical genres.
Creating breakthrough opportunities
for the next generation of composers and performers.

One year on

A year ago we launched our Play On appeal to help secure the orchestra's future in light of the 100% cut in our regular Arts Council England funding. 12 months later, we're nearly halfway towards our target of £1million. We've enjoyed a range of incredible artistic highs over the last year, both in the concert hall and in communities throughout the east of England. Watch to see what we've been up to.

“one of our most innovative and vital ensembles”
The Guardian (February 2023)
“Britten Sinfonia ought to enjoy national treasure status”
The Telegraph (March 2023)

For 30 years Britten Sinfonia has been pushing the boundaries of what a chamber orchestra can do

We’re rooted in the East of England – where we are the only professional orchestra working throughout the region – yet we also have a national and international reputation as one of the best ensembles playing today.

We’re known for our adventurous programming and stunningly high-quality performances, but also for our acclaimed nurturing of new talent and work with schools, hospital patients and communities across our home region.

Britten Sinfonia is defined not by the traditional figurehead of a principal conductor, but by the dynamic meeting of outstanding individual players and the broad range of their collaborators – from Steve Reich, Thomas Adès and Alison Balsom to Pagrav Dance Company, Father John Misty, Rufus Wainwright, and Anoushka Shankar.

Our future plans include:

  • Surround Sound Playlist: innovative experiences in East of England cathedrals and unusual spaces, designed to be enjoyed by people who have never been to a classical music event before.

  • An expansion of our work in schools and hospitals, and with people living with life-limiting conditions, empowering people to use music to enhance their lives.

  • Music on Your Doorstep: a year-round programme of cross-generational musical activities and concerts in East of England towns under-served by arts organisations.

But there's a problem...

Britten Sinfonia has been cut from Arts Council England’s National Portfolio. 

That means we have lost 100% of our regular public funding, resulting in a shortfall of £1m over three years.

Everything we have built over the last 30 years and planned for the future is at risk.

Watch our original appeal film

The Play On film features (in order of appearance): Steve Reich (composer), Dobrinka Tabakova (composer), Alison Balsom (trumpeter), Dani Howard (composer), Mishka Rushdie Momen (pianist), Benjamin Grosvenor (pianist), Sir James MacMillan (composer), Mahan Esfahani (harpsichordist), Roderick Williams (baritone), Thomas Adès (composer and conductor), James B. Wilson (composer), Judith Weir (composer), Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano, Rachel Moorhouse (primary school teacher, Peterborough), Catherine Pride (nurse, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge), James Mayhew (children's book author and illustrator), Nico Muhly (composer), Urja Desai Thakore (artistic director, Pagrav Dance Company).

“We definitely need more live classical music outside of our biggest urban centres – in smaller cities, towns and rural spaces. Fortunately we have a successful model for this, widely considered to be the UK’s finest chamber orchestra – inventive in its public approach, accessible and creative. This is, of course, Britten Sinfonia. Hearing less of – or even losing – this vital ensemble is not an option, especially in its East of England centres. Please support Britten Sinfonia's Play On appeal.”
Judith Weir (Master of the King's Music)

We need your support more than ever before

Whether you are able to contribute £20 or £20,000, please help us replace the £1m we are losing, so that Britten Sinfonia can continue to light up the East of England and beyond.

We hope that you are able to consider making your gift a recurring one, to continue supporting the orchestra over the longer term.

In conjunction with this appeal we are also running a major gift appeal, so if you are considering a larger gift (over £5,000) then please get in touch with us directly at and we will be in contact.

A child dances to music in a hospital classroom

How your donation helps

Some examples of how your contribution will be used

A person plays the cello
£10 - Pays for the hire of one musical instrument for a day in one of our participation projects.
Children sit on a hall floor watching musicians perform on stage
£50 - Pays for the hire of a community centre for a New Sounds or Pushchair Playlist session in rural communities.
Two musicians lead a workshop for primary school children
£100 - Contributes to an interactive music-making workshop in a school.
A cellist performs in a hospital room
£1,000 - Pays for Britten Sinfonia musicians to work with patients for a week-long residency at CUH Addenbrooke's Hospital.
A conductor leads musicians in a rehearsal
£2,500 - Pays for a day of rehearsal by a chamber ensemble, including travel and venue hire.
Composers compare notes during a rehearsal
£5,000 - Pays for an emerging composer to be embedded with the orchestra for a year.

Find out more about Britten Sinfonia

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