About us

Covent Garden Sinfonia


Covent Garden Sinfonia (formerly the Orchestra of St Paul's) is firmly established as one of London's most dynamic and versatile chamber orchestras. Under the baton of Founder and Artistic Director Ben Palmer, since 2007 the orchestra has been developing a reputation for imaginative programming and exciting, stylish performances. Resident at the famous Actors' Church, St Paul's in Covent Garden, the orchestra performs regularly at London's leading concert venues, including Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room, St John's Smith Square, Cadogan Hall and Milton Court. 

Based around a core of principal players, CGS adapts to each project, ranging in size from a small ensemble to a full symphony orchestra of 70 or more. Covent Garden Sinfonia is one of the UK's foremost orchestras specialising in the performance of music live to film, with recent screenings including E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialPsycho, Casablanca, The Gold Rush (and other Chaplin shorts), Peter and the Wolf, The Snowman, and the world premieres of Neil Brand's scores for Oliver Twist and Hitchcock's The Lodger. The orchestra's latest recording, a disc of music by Antonio Lotti with chamber choir The Syred Consort on the Delphian label, entered the Specialist Classical Chart at No. 2, was chosen as the BBC Radio 3 Record Review 'Disc of the Week', and was selected as one of Presto Classical's Top Ten discs of 2016. Other recordings include a critically acclaimed CD of music for strings by Elgar, Malcolm Arnold (both in arrangements by David Matthews) and Robert Simpson.

The 2018/19 season includes two performances at the Purcell Room: works by Max Richter, Pēteris Vasks and Arvo Pärt with violinist Fenella Humphreys, and a programme based around Cheryl Frances-Hoad's Quark Dances, bringing together music by Biber, Bach, Stravinsky and John Adams, as well as a return to the Proms at St Jude’s. Recent seasons have included a sold out performance of Haydn's The Creation at St John's Smith Square, screenings of new silent film London Symphony at the Barbican Cinema and other venues across London, Walton's Façade at Wells Cathedral School's Cedars Hall, The Dream of Gerontius in Guildford Cathedral, and Mica Levi's Under the Skin at the Everyman Cinema Muswell Hill. Covent Garden Sinfonia has performed at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Roundhouse, LSO St Luke's, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, and The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, and at festivals such as the Proms at St Jude's, Yorkshire Silent Film Festival, and the English Music Festival. Highlights include a nine-concert tour of China, a Beethoven symphony cycle, and sold out performances of Verdi Requiem and Bach's Mass in B minor at St John's Smith Square.  Covent Garden Sinfonia has worked with such acclaimed soloists as Carolyn Sampson, James Gilchrist, Roderick Williams, Andrew Staples, Steven Osborne, and, as both composer and pianist, David Owen Norris. The orchestra's patron is Sir Roger Norrington, one of the world's leading experts in historical performance.