A UNIQUE musical affiliation has been launched in Taunton.

The Southern Sinfonia and Queen’s College have formed a partnership and the highly renowned chamber orchestra will become Orchestra-In-Residence at Queen’s College.

It is believed that the school is only school in the country to have its own orchestra-in-residence.

The Southern Sinfonia, which has just celebrated its 25th anniversary, has an outstanding reputation across the south of the UK for the international standard of its playing.

A series of concerts are planned in the newly refurbished 568 seat Queen’s Hall beginning with the inaugural concert at 7.30pm on Friday, May 26.

It will feature the world famous guitarist Craig Ogden performing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez as well as Mozart’s overture to ‘'Don Giovanni' and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 ('Eroica’).

Mr Ed Jenkins, director of music at Queen’s, said: “The purpose of this visionary collaboration is to enrich and inspire the communities of Queen’s College, the town of Taunton and the surrounding area by providing access to live music played to the highest standard by an outstanding professional orchestra.

"We are delighted that we have been able to develop this partnership with the Southern Sinfonia; it is an extremely exciting project.

“The residency will provide the vital opportunity for both parties to jointly develop a variety of educational projects for the wider community.”

The Sinfonia said it is keen to involve people in all ages in a range of musical opportunities as a key element of the partnership is benefitting the wider community.

Each concert will have associate events open to musicians from across the region.

The forthcoming event will feature a classical guitar masterclass given by Mr Ogden on the afternoon of May 26, followed by an open rehearsal where he will perform the Concierto de Aranjuez with the Southern Sinfonia in preparation for the evening concert.

It is also hoped to provide a children’s concert during the morning for local primary school children.

Dr Lorraine Earps, headteacher, said: “We believe that music can be an extremely positive force in an individual’s life and that, by providing this access, we can enable children and adults to experience high-quality live music and, as well as deriving enjoyment from this, they can be inspired to engage more in music as both listeners and performers.

“Both the Southern Sinfonia and Queen’s College have a strong ethos and desire to provide exciting and educational musical opportunities in the community for all ages and this collaboration will enable us to make this vision a reality.”

Simon Chalk, artistic director of Southern Sinfonia said: "We are all thrilled at the Southern Sinfonia by the launch of this very exciting collaboration with Queen's College.

"Having moved the orchestra's base to Taunton from its previous home in Newbury some 18 months ago, in order to cement our role as the Chamber Orchestra for the region, to find such a willing partner as the College is an absolutely magnificent opportunity for us to make a real and lasting contribution to both music and education in Taunton and the South West as a whole.

"Finding a 'true home' for any Orchestra in the current climate is often a luxury and, thanks to the visionary approach of the leadership team at Queen's College, we at Southern Sinfonia have been afforded such an opportunity. We look forward to what we believe will be a magical journey of discovery for both organisations."

  • To book tickets for this musical event, visit bookings.queenscollege.org.uk or call 01823 340880.