Imperial College Symphony Orchestra

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Imperial College Symphony Orchestra (ICSO) is the main symphony orchestra at Imperial College London. It comprises 80 to 90 players, nearly all students from all departments at Imperial College.


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[1] 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.

Conductor biography[edit]

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.

Recent repertoire[edit]

Professional soloist collaborations[edit]

Television appearances[edit]

  • 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 2005 - Czech Republic & Slovakia
    • ICSO spent the majority of their time in the Moravian city of Uherské Hradiště where they were received warmly, had an audience with the mayor and performed three successful concerts, one to local school children. Their programme included Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 5.


  • ICSO Spring Concert (8 March 2006) on Live! - [1]
  • Another Great Concert from ICSO (2 December 2005) on Live! - [2]
  • IC Choir & Symphony Orchestra in Concert (3 June 2005) on Live! - [3]
  • ICSO Autumn Concert (24 November 2005) on Live! - [4]
  • Julian Lloyd Webber, Symphuni judge (27 March 2008) mentions ICSO - [5]
  • Classic FM Arts Daily Podcast (28 March 2008) interview with Symphuni judges - [6]


External links[edit]