Imperial College Symphony Orchestra
ICSO was established in 1948. It is currently under the baton of conductor Richard Dickins and is run by a committee of full-time students. The orchestra regularly perform nineteenth and twentieth century repertoire on campus (in South Kensington) and beyond. As well as performances at the Cadogan Hall and with the Imperial College Choir. The orchestra has strong links with the choir of The Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester, with whom they perform a concert once a year.
In March 2008, ICSO gained the title Symphuni Orchestra of the Year 2008, after winning the final of the first ever Symphuni competition, beating the orchestras of the University of Cambridge, Southampton and Manchester with a performance of the Storm from Britten's Four Sea Interludes, followed by Rachmaninov's Isle of the Dead.
Richard Dickins, a graduate of the Royal College of Music where he was an Exhibitioner and prizewinner, studied conducting with Norman Del Mar. He subsequently worked as Del Mar's assistant on many occasions with orchestras such as the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic and Bournemouth Symphony. He has gained a reputation for his high degree of sympathetic rapport with concerto soloists and this has led him to work with some of the UK's finest musicians including Raphael Wallfisch, James Bowman, Christopher Cowie, John Harle, Noriko Ogawa and Philip Dukes.
In 1983, he made his Italian conducting debut with performances of Walton's Facade with the Lindsay Kemp Dance Company for La Scala at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan, following which he took the production on tour throughout Italy. Later that year he was invited to conduct further productions in London at Sadler's Wells and at the Edinburgh Festival. Since then he has had a busy schedule working with orchestras throughout the UK and abroad.
In 1992, he made a first appearance in Hungary conducting Verdi's Requiem at the Liszt Academy in Budapest. In 1994, he was the London Chorus Master for the World Festival Choir's performance of the Verdi Requiem with Luciano Pavarotti and in 1995 he made his debut with the Ulster Orchestra. He is founder conductor of the string orchestra London Concertino with whom he was recently invited by the UAE Ambassador to perform at the celebrations to mark Arab National day. His commitment to contemporary music has led to his being invited to conduct a number of first performances including works by Timothy Salter, John Madden, Rick Birley and Anthony Bailey.
Richard Dickins is well known for his work with young musicians. He became conductor of the Symphony Orchestra at Imperial College London whilst still a student and was later appointed the College’s first Musician-in-Residence. He is also principal conductor at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. He was recently elected an honorary member of the RCM and was presented with this honour by the Prince of Wales. Richard Dickins has appeared on BBC national and local radio as well as Classic FM.
- Beethoven - Piano Concerto No.3 (soloist: Charles Owen)
- Beethoven - Piano Concerto No.4
- Beethoven - Piano Concerto No.5
- Beethoven - Symphony No.9
- Berlioz - Roman Carnival Overture
- Bernstein - Overture to Candide
- Britten - Four Sea Interludes
- Bruckner - Te Deum
- Kodály - Háry János Suite
- Mahler - Symphony No. 1
- Michael Torke - Javelin
- Mozart - The Magic Flute Overture
- Peter Hope - Along the Shore
- Prokofiev - Romeo and Juliet orchestral suites
- Prokofiev - Violin Concerto No.1 (soloist: Michal Cwizewicz)
- Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3
- Sibelius - Finlandia
- Sibelius - Symphony No.5
- Sibelius - Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47 (soloist: Michal Cwizewicz)
- Rachmaninov - Isle of the Dead
- Richard Strauss - Death and Transfiguration
- Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring
- Vaughan Williams - Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis
- Verdi - Requiem
- Wagner - Tannhauser Overture
Professional soloist collaborations
- Charles Owen, piano
- Bernard Roberts, piano
- Michael Thompson, horn
- Raphael Wallfisch, violincello
- Andrew Zolinsky, piano
- 2002 - Faking It - With the help of ICSO, conductor Richard Dickins successfully transformed punk rocker Chris Sweeney into a maestro capable of conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in four weeks. The series won a BAFTA in 2002 and this episode the Rose d'Or of Montreux in 2003.
- 2003 - The Human Mind - ICSO spent two days at the Royal College of Music filming with Professor Robert Winston for an episode of his BBC documentary.
- Summer 2003 - Italy & France
- ICSO's first foreign tour in many years. They performed two concerts to capacity audiences in Montecatini Terme (Tuscany) and another in Paris's famous Église de la Madeleine to an audience of over 2000. Their programme included Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, Stravinsky's Firebird Suite and the Elgar Cello Concerto (with ICSO principal Nick Taylor).
- Summer 2005 - Czech Republic & Slovakia
- Summer 2007 - Catalonia & Paris
- ICSO spent six days in Catalonia, staying in Solsona, and playing three concerts in the Barcelona area. The programme included Kabalevsky's Violin Concerto with Michal Cwizewicz and Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. They then stayed overnight in Rueil-Malmaison, Paris, again performing in Église de la Madeleine to over 2000 people.
- ICSO Spring Concert (8 March 2006) on Live! - 
- Another Great Concert from ICSO (2 December 2005) on Live! - 
- IC Choir & Symphony Orchestra in Concert (3 June 2005) on Live! - 
- ICSO Autumn Concert (24 November 2005) on Live! - 
- Julian Lloyd Webber, Symphuni judge (27 March 2008) mentions ICSO - 
- Classic FM Arts Daily Podcast (28 March 2008) interview with Symphuni judges -