St. Woolos Sinfonia, previously known as St. Woolos Players, originates from a group of instrumentalists around the musical circle of Newport cathedral, Gwent in South Wales, UK. In 2005, Professor Brian Peeling initiated small groups who would meet to play chamber music for pleasure, under the direction of Jeanette Massocchi, soon starting to give recitals and concerts, usually at St. Woolos Cathedral.
Described as a “happy blend of student and professional musicians, teachers of their instruments and enthusiastic amateurs” (South Wales Argus 2011), the orchestra gained popularity with audiences and musicians alike performing in various venues in Cardiff, in Gwent and beyond, intending to bring the joy of high-quality performed classical music to a broad range of people as possible.St Woolos Sinfonia, in principle, a chamber orchestra aiming to capture the intimacy and transparency of less frequently played small-scale works, have very successfully performed in various formations, from a small chamber ensemble to a large size symphony orchestra.
In 2012, St Woolos Sinfonia registered as a charitable organisation. The orchestra has established symbiotic links with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, giving young talented musicians a concert platform both as soloists, but also to play alongside experienced and enthusiastic professional musicians, many of whom now core members of the orchestra.
The St Woolos Sinfonia usually give 3 concerts per year as orchestra, and up to 10 concerts per season in various other ensemble sizes – chiefly in Newport cathedral, but also in various other Welsh venues including St German’s church and Stoutzker Hall in Cardiff, St Mary’s in Newport, Pembrokeshire. The orchestra successfully collaborated with Torfaen Choral Society, and regularly with Cardiff Bach Choir. In 2012 St Woolos Players gave its acclaimed debut at the 50th Festival of Music and Drama in Llantillio Crossenny and in 2013 at the Raglan Music Festival.
Since 2014, exceptionally talented young New Zealand conductor Tianyi Lu has taken the orchestra as their guest, and lately Principal Conductor to highly acclaimed concert performances to the utmost delight of the audiences and musicians.
In May 2015, St Woolos Sinfonia – orchestra in the City of Newport – have accepted the kind invitation by The Dean and the Chapter of Newport cathedral to become “Orchestra – in –Residence” in the cathedral.
Due to the quality of its performances under the baton of Tianyi Lu, St Woolos Sinfonia generates ever-increasing interest from outstanding musicians to play with the orchestra both as soloists and in the Tutti. The orchestra successfully manages to bring the joy of classical music not only to increasing audiences of music lovers from Gwent, from Monmouthshire and much further away but actively seeks to connect with communities who may not yet had the opportunity to discover classical music for themselves. The orchestra and its audiences are most grateful for the support the orchestra receives by its sponsors, its management team and by the Friends of the St Woolos Sinfonia.