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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

Holly Mathieson

Holly Mathieson

Holly Mathieson

New Zealand-born Holly Mathieson was named Resident Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland Junior Orchestra in 2015, after two sell-out concerts, and 5-star reviews as guest conductor in 14/15. She is founder and Artistic Director of the Horizont Musik-Kollektiv (Berlin), and recently joined the performance faculty at Goldsmiths University, London. This season, she works as assistant conductor with Opera North (L'elisir d'amore) and Longborough Festival Opera (Tannhäuser), and returns to NZ for concerts with St Matthew Chamber Orchestra, Opus Orchestra and Dunedin Symphony Orchestra. In the 2016-17 season she will be a finalist for the music directorship at Illinois Philharmonic. She was recently named by Zonta NZ as one of New Zealand's 50 Women of Achievement.

In the 2014/15 season she held one of the world's most prestigious fellowships for young conductors, the Leverhulme Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, granting her opportunities to assist Donald Runnicles at the BBCSSO, and work with RSNO and Red Note Ensemble. She also debuted in London as the 2015 Christine Collins Young Artist Conductor in Associate at Opera Holland Park to critical acclaim, and was a finalist in the competition for assistant conductor, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

In the past, she has assisted both Esa-Pekka Salonen and Christoph von Dohnanyi at the Philharmonia Orchestra (London), and assisted Marin Alsop at the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Prom, the BBCSO Last Night of the Proms, and with the Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra on their recent European tour. In April 2014 she worked for the first time with the acclaimed Zafraan Ensemble in Berlin. In 2013, she debuted with St Matthew's Chamber Orchestra (NZ) the Vanbrugh Ensemble (London) and Opera Holland Park (London), and was cover conductor to Chris Warren-Green at the Charlotte Symphony (US). 2013 also saw success in being chosen as one of four young conductors from around the world to participate in the Interaktion Dirigentenwerkstatt des Kritischen Orchesters with players from the Berlin Philharmonic and other German orchestras, and a place as one of Dartington International Summer Schools advanced conducting fellows. She was immediately reinvited to Dartington in 2014 as a guest conductor.

Opera work includes several seasons with Opera Otago (NZ), including their critically acclaimed production of Così fan tutte at the 2008 Otago Festival of the Arts, the southern hemisphere premiere of Salieri's Falstaff (2006), and the world premiere of Anthony Ritchie's The God Boy (2004). As Artistic Director of the Solid Energy Chorus and Assistant Conductor at Southern Opera in 2009 and 2010, Holly collaborated on productions of Aida, Gianni Schicchi, Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream and Die Zauberflöte. She also assisted conductor Tecwyn Evans in the University of Otago's seasons of Madama Butterfly (2003) and Carmen (2006), and in 2013 was Chorus Director at London's Opera Holland Park. ​In 2014 she assisted Garry Walker at Garsington Opera (UK) in their award-winning production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.

KSO performance history

16/03/2019 at St John's Smith Square
04/03/2017 at St John's Smith Square