The Philharmonia Orchestra visits Sutton!

The Philharmonia Orchestra visits Sutton!

Music Education Hubs work to provide children and young people with as many musical experiences and opportunities as possible. An essential part of our provision is creating occasions where they can learn from professional musicians and explore professional venues. At the end of April, Sutton Music Service was delighted to invite members of the Philharmonia Orchestra to the borough to perform for the pupils in our schools and teach them about their instruments.


Founded in 1945, the Philharmonia is a world-class symphony orchestra that works worldwide, giving concerts, making recordings, reaching new audiences, and pushing the boundaries of digital technology. In the heart of London, the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall has been the home of the Philharmonia since 1995. 

Sutton Music Service is proud to have organised this opportunity for Sutton schools to join us for these fantastic, inspiring performances, with over 1500 primary aged pupils attending over three days. To ensure that as many pupils could benefit, we held the events simultaneously at two venues: the Charles Cryer Theatre in Carshalton and St. Andrew’s Church in Cheam. The Philharmonia provided a string quintet and a brass quintet.


Adrián Varela, the 1st violinist for the Philharmonia conductor and composer/ arranger, led the string quintet. He skillfully picked a repertoire to showcase each instrument’s sound and roles in the string family. The pupils were treated to a performance of Autumn from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, where through questioning, the pupils learnt how the music tells the story. The pupils heard a performance of Mozart’s Divertimento No. 1 in D, a performance of Mento Mood composed by Ayanna Witter-Johnson, and a very cheeky arrangement of Postman Pat that showcased the double bass.

The brass quintet was led by Philip White, trombonist for the Philharmonia and member of staff at Trinity Laban. Philip and his fellow musicians demonstrated how brass instruments worked using different lengths of hosepipe before giving a series of inspiring performances, including The Pink Panther Theme by Henri Mancini.


Both Adrián and Philip brilliantly led these workshops, engaging and inspiring all of the pupils who attended. For many pupils, attending these events was their first school trip since the COVID restrictions were lifted.


On the last day, we were excited to invite our Secondary schools to St. Andrew’s to have a special workshop led by Adrián Varela and the string quintet designed to help them develop their listening and appraising skills for GCSE Music.

Just wanted to say a huge thank you to Sutton Music for arranging the wonderful concert with the Philharmonia Orchestra today! The children loved it and were very inspired by it, with lots saying they would like to learn the violin! I have also had lovely comments from the parents. I thought the man leading the session was brilliant and had a great rapport with the children!

Thanks for organising the concert last week, it truly was a privilege.

A huge thanks to all at the Philharmonia Orchestra for these fantastic events, and we hope to welcome them back to Sutton very soon.

Want to learn a string or brass instrument?

Visit our website to find out how you could learn at our Wednesday and Saturday Music Academy, or talk to the Music Coordinator at your school to see if you can learn there.

If you play already, why not join our Young Musician String Group or one of our  other orchestras or wind bands?