Symphony No. 8: Neil Mantle / Scottish Sinfonia
Sinfonia was founded in 1970 by Neil Mantle and has to date performed over two hundred concerts. It has a basic playing strength of ninety, augmented or diminished as required.
The orchestra is a highly successful mixture of professional players, instrumental teachers and amateurs with an age range of seventeen to seventy, all united in one common aim: to make music to the highest standard of which they are capable.
Sinfonia has been fortunate to have the services of a professional leader, Michael Rigg, who has guided the violins with distinction for over thirty years.
Although the orchestra has a wide range of repertoire, it has become especially noted for its Mahler performances which were for many years a central feature of Fringe Music at the Edinburgh Festival. These concerts always attract acclaim from both audiences and critics alike.
In the course of its forty year history there have been many highlights, but Sinfonia is especially proud to be able to claim the first performance in Scotland - nearly seventy years after its composition - of Strauss's mighty Alpine Symphony. More recently, they were the first non-professional orchestra to programme the "new" Elgar/Payne Third Symphony.
The orchestra's complete Mahler series has now been released on Compact Disc. The success of these live recordings does much to spread Sinfonia's name beyond the U.K.
Since 2011, the orchestra's home has been at St Cuthbert's Parish Church. Unique amongst British orchestras, Sinfonia enjoys the inestimable benefit of not only giving concerts in the same venue but also scheduling all rehearsals there. Thus, there are no sudden and disconcerting adjustments of balance to be made in a sudden change of acoustic between venues.
In October 2012, the orchestra took part in a performance of Elgar's "Dream of Gerontius" in Glasgow University's beautiful Bute Hall. Scottish Sinfonia was joined by massed choirs from Bearsden and Glasgow University for this charity performance in celebration of the life and work of Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti.
Neil Mantle MBE - Conductor of Scottish Sinfonia
Neil Mantle began conducting at the age of fifteen when he formed his own Chamber Orchestra. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music and later at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, where he won the conducting prize. Later he was awarded the second prize in the Leeds Conducting Competition in 1986: this led to engagements with various Scottish Orchestras.
He has conducted for both BBC Radio 3 and Radio Scotland with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and has appeared frequently with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In 1994 he made his debut with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
In addition to his work with Scottish Sinfonia, Neil is also Musical Director of the Edinburgh Bach Choir.
Neil Mantle has a large repertoire of some 350 scores conducted at public concerts. Although he is at home in a wide range of schools and styles, he is especially regarded as an exponent of British Music: most noteably Elgar and Vaughan Williams.
Neil is a specialist choral examiner to the Associated Board - making his first foreign tour with them between June and August of 1998. He is a member of the Royal Society of Musicians and holds a recently bestowed degree of the Royal Academy of Music.
In the June 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours List, Neil Mantle was awarded an MBE for services to Music in Scotland