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“One of the very best amateur groups in the country”

Classical Music Magazine

“The most professional-sounding of non-professional orchestras”

The Sunday Telegraph

“Kensington Symphony Orchestra once again scores over most professional orchestras”

Classical Source

Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor (b. 1964)

The thriving tradition of amateur music-making in the UK and London in particular has almost no precedent in Europe. Since its foundation in 1956, Kensington Symphony Orchestra has produced programmes that are challenging, stimulating and innovative in a way that their professional colleagues often wouldn't dare risk. Following the outstanding performance of my tone poem Storr in 2013, I asked KSO’s conductor, Russell Keable, whether he would be interested in launching my next symphony, No.4. I was delighted when he agreed. An Arts Council England commission was secured and the first performance will be in the Barbican Centre in May. The symphony is written in memory of my old friend and fellow symphonist John McCabe and is dedicated to his widow, Monica. The work is in one large movement that falls into three spans. The first opens with a flood of energy but as it develops gains tension by a gradual broadening of the pulse until, after an extended climax, it eases into a central slow span that is more darkly expressive in character. The finale attempts to recreate some of the jocular humour heard in Haydn's finales. It culminates with a return to the first theme with some vigorous support from two sets of timpani, which are, of course – in a nod to Nielsen – part of an “Inextinguishable” tradition when writing fourth symphonies!

Matthew Taylor, March 2017

KSO performance history

Conflict and Consolation    1995-96 Season
Storr    2012-13 Season
Symphony No. 4    2016-17 Season