"The most directly emotional music to be experienced live post-lockdown."
Arts Desk (2020)
Founded in 2016 by conductor Tom Fetherstonhaugh, Fantasia Orchestra is formed of some of the country’s most exciting young musicians. The orchestra’s thrilling and varied concerts showcase classical and contemporary music-making of the highest level. Their performances have drawn great acclaim, with Fantasia’s recent concerts being described as ‘the most directly emotional music to be experienced live post-lockdown’ (The ArtsDesk).
Formed of talented young musicians at the start of their musical careers, Fantasia Orchestra tackles a broad and eclectic range of repertoire with fresh, youthful, and energetic vigour, breathing new life into old works and celebrating new ones. Recent highlights during the Covid-19 pandemic include Tasmin Little’s final concerto performances, Dvorak’s Cello Concerto with 2016 BBC Young Musician winner Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and performances with Jess Gillam at Wells Cathedral. Fantasia made their festival debut at the Proms at St Jude’s in 2019, playing with Isata Kanneh-Mason; they returned in 2021 for the Schools Prom and Last Night of the Proms, where they were joined by violinist Thomas Gould and baritone Tom Mole.
Fantasia Orchestra is a champion of new music. Regularly commissioning new compositions and working alongside some of the country’s finest young composers, Fantasia Orchestra focuses on performing at the cutting-edge of the UK’s contemporary music scene. Recent seasons have seen premieres by Raymond Yiu, Alex Ho, and Richard English.
Education is central to the ethos of Fantasia, and 2020 saw the launch of its partnership with the music education charity DaCapo Foundation. As DaCapo’s orchestra-in-residence, Fantasia musicians work closely with students from across London and beyond to deliver high quality training and exciting musical experiences. Together, the organisations are developing new music education software to roll out into primary schools across the country.
Fantasia Orchestra regularly collaborates with musicians from around the world. The orchestra fosters a relationship with the Lindenbaum Festival in South Korea, a musical hub which promotes peace between the Koreas through music. Fantasia Orchestra has an artistic partnership with the Oxford Chamber Music Festival, which sees Fantasia members performing alongside some of the world’s finest chamber musicians.