New Horizons 2024/25
Meet the Conductors

4 exciting new concerts, 4 esteemed guest conductors

Across the 2024/25 De Montfort Hall concert season, the Bardi Symphony Orchestra welcome four esteemed guest conductors…

Sunday 6th October 2024 at 3pm

Dvořák Cello Concerto

Ortiz – Kauyumari
Dvořák – Cello Concerto
Brahms – Symphony No.2

Natalia Luis-Bassa

Natalia is a Professor of Conducting at the Royal College of Music and a part-time lecturer at Huddersfield University, Principal Guest Conductor of the Oxford University Orchestra and Music Director of Wellington College Orchestra. In the UK, she has worked with orchestras such as Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Paragon Ensemble, Southbank Sinfonia… [read more]

As an advocate for music education for young people Natalia has established a long-standing association with the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain and has built strong relationships with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain,  Benedetti Foundation, The Purcell School, Wells Cathedral School, Oasby Music Group, Derby & Derbyshire Schools’ Orchestra, Yorchestra, Kent County Symphony Orchestra, Six Counties Symphony Orchestra/Cerddoriaeth Ieuenctid y Chwe Sir, Nottingham Youth Orchestra, Birmingham Schools Symphony Orchestra.  

She has also taken her work and efforts to promote orchestral practice beyond the borders and has collaborated with the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS) in Qatar in 2016, The Asia Pacific Activities Conference (APAC) in Beijing, China in 2018 and in Jeju, South Korea in 2024.

Her advocacy for music education takes her to create links between the University Orchestras around the world, participating in concerts and workshops with the Oxford University Orchestra, Cambridge University Orchestra, Kent Youth Symphony Orchestra, Leeds Conservatoire, University of Madison Symphony Orchestra – Wisconsin, USA.

Promoting the conducting craft for young people has been a highlight in her career and her workshops have been successful around the country.

Natalia has been principal conductor of Hallam Sinfonia, Haffner Orchestra, Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra in the UK and Orquesta Sinfónica de Falcón in Venezuela.  

She was invited to be the first woman to conduct the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra and Jersey Symphony Orchestra and has been invited to work with orchestras around the world including Bombay Chamber Orchestra, Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, Teresa Carreño Symphony Orchestra among others.

Natalia began her musical studies at the world famous El Sistema in Venezuela. She read music at the University Institute of Musical Studies (IUDEM), being the first person to obtain a degree in Orchestral Conducting in her native country.

Completing her Postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music in London, she held the RCM Junior Fellowship in Opera Conducting for two years in which she won the Michael Mudie Conducting Prize and the Ricordi Prize.

Natalia holds a Master’s degree from the Huddersfield University and since 2007 has been appointed Elgar Ambassador an honour that she received from the Elgar Society Prize.  She participated in The Maazel-Vilar Conducting Competition and holds the second prize.

She furthered her studies in masterclasses with George Hurst, Lorin Maazel, and had a close mentorship with Sir Colin Davis.

Sunday 1st December 2024 at 3pm

100 Years of Rhapsody in Blue

Sibelius – Symphony No.7
Ravel – Bolero
Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue
Respighi – Pines of Rome

Jonathan Lo

Jonathan Lo is Music Director & Chief Conductor of the Australian Ballet, prior to which he was Music Director of Northern Ballet, and Staff Conductor at the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, a position created for him in 2021. He was a Jette Parker Artist at the Royal Opera House, and was Conducting Fellow with Birmingham Royal Ballet and Rambert Dance Company… [read more]

For the Royal Ballet, and together with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Jonathan has conducted for live cinema relays in repertoire such as Romeo & Juliet and The Sleeping Beauty, other credits for the Company include a wide range of works from The Nutcracker, Cinderella, through modern classics by Christopher Wheeldon, Crystal Pite and Wayne McGregor, including the first revival of the latter’s Dante Project. His versatility in repertoire sees him being as comfortable and successful in Swan Lake or La Fille mal Gardee to working with some of the world’s most celebrated choreographers, with forthcoming highlights to include conducting for the world premiere of Cathy Marston’s Atonement and Christopher Wheeldon’s Oscar. Sought after by ballet companies and orchestras internationally, Jonathan is a regular guest conductor for Dutch National Ballet (including the Company’s 60th anniversary Hans van Manen Festival), Zurich Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Cape Town City Ballet, Australian Ballet, and has appeared in performances with the BBC Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, Adelaide Symphony, Manchester Camerata, and the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra in China, with whom he was Principal Guest Conductor from 2015-2018.

Born in 1987 in Hong Kong, Jonathan read music at the  University of Oxford, before studying conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music on a major scholarship. He has held a range of music directorships since he was 18, including the New Bristol Sinfonia, the Haffner Orchestra, and was Senior Lecturer in Conducting at the Leeds College of Music. 

​Jonathan was Music Director of the Manchester Chamber Choir from 2015-2020, and in this role worked as chorus master for the BBC Philharmonic both at the BBC Proms and in the recording studio. In addition to the choir’s series of concerts, Jonathan also conducts them regularly for broadcasts on BBC Radios. In addition to his duties with Northern and the Royal Ballet, future highlights include a national tour Amsterdam festival of the Hans van Manen celebration with Dutch National Ballet, The Australian Ballet & Zurich Ballet.

Sunday 23rd March 2025 at 3pm

Isata Kanneh-Mason plays Rachmaninov

Glinka – Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture
Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No.3
Borodin – Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor
Stravinsky – The Firebird 1919 suite

Toby Purser

Head of Conducting at London’s Royal College of Music, Toby Purser’s recent engagements have included A Feast in the Time of Plague for Grange Park Opera; Fidelio, Hansel and Gretel and La bohème for Lyric Opera, Dublin; the UK première of Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers at Wilton’s Music Hall; La Belle Hélène in a co-production between New Sussex Opera and Opera della Luna; The Princess of Trébizonde for New Sussex Opera; and Le Comte Ory for Chelsea Opera Group… [read more]

As Musical Director of New Sussex Opera, Toby Purser conducts the recently released CD from the production of Stanford’s The Travelling Companion, on Somm Céleste (nominated for an International Opera Award). He is founding Musical Director of the Vienna Opera Festival and Academy, for whom he has conducted Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni. His inspirational music-making has prompted guest invitations from Opéra National de Paris, St Petersburg Festival Orchestra and many leading British orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, which he conducted in Jesús León’s debut CD Bel Canto for Opus Arte CD, and Sinfonia Viva.

For English National Opera, where he completed two seasons as ENO Mackerras Conducting Fellow), he has conducted The Turn of the Screw (nominated for an Olivier Award), The Marriage of Figaro and La Traviata; for Grange Park Opera, he has conducted Madama Butterfly, Eugene Onegin, Rigoletto and Fortunio; and for Opera della Luna, The Daughter of the Regiment, Orpheus in the Underworld, the UK premiere of Johann Strauss’s Das Spitzentuch der Königin and Tales of Offenbach. For Pimlico Opera, he has conducted productions in various prisons, with a cast of inmates performing alongside professionals, in repertoire include Carmen the Musical, Les Misérables, Sugar, Sister Act, Sweeney Todd and West Side Story.

Since 2019, Toby Purser has been Principal Guest Conductor of the Orion Orchestra, which he founded in 2005 and as Artistic Director of the Peace and Prosperity Trust, he has been furthering cultural collaboration between the UK and the Middle East. Recognised as a world leader in the conducting community, at the beginning of lockdown, he launched Conductors in Isolation, an online forum which now has over 1600 members worldwide.

Sun 18th May 2025 at 3pm

The Planets

Tchaikovsky – Violin Concerto
Holst – The Planets suite

De Montfort Hall, Leicester

Tom Fetherstonhaugh

Tom is Artistic Director of Fantasia Orchestra and the Assistant Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. His recent projects include a joint concert with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra, a concert for peace in the Korean Demilitarised Zone, and a return to Ulster Orchestra for Handel’s Messiah… [read more]

Tom has conducted concerto performances with leading soloists including Alena Baeva, Alim Beisembayev, Julian Bliss, Danny Driver, Jess Gillam, Thomas Gould, Isata Kanneh-Mason, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Vadym Kholodenko, Tasmin Little, Jennifer Pike, Laura van der Heijden, Steven Osborne, and Maria Włoszczowska.

In 2022, Tom was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. His second season in the role (2023-24) sees him conduct 39 performances across the year, with a wide range of repertoire and international soloists.

Tom founded Fantasia Orchestra in 2016, at its inception being a group of budding young musicians from junior Conservatoire departments. It has grown into an orchestra of exciting talent who have a busy schedule at festivals and venues across the country.

At the invitation of the Kanneh-Mason family, Tom conducted the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2022, and is delighted to be working with the orchestra now on an ongoing basis.

He has been a member of The Grange Festival’s music staff team for the past three years, working on productions of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, and Verdi’s Macbeth. In 2023 Tom returned as Assistant Conductor for the world premiere of David Matthews’ Anna, conducted by Jac van Steen.

As well as Fantasia Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Tom has conducted the Brandenburger Symphoniker, Britten Sinfonia, Ulster Orchestra, Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra, Lindenbaum Festival Orchestra (Korean Demilitarised Zone), Jersey Chamber Orchestra, Oxford University Sinfonietta, the orchestra of the Oxford Chamber Music Festival, Southbank Sinfonia, Leicester Symphony Orchestra, Hereford Symphony Orchestra and, aged 13, the choristers of Westminster Abbey on their tour to Russia.

Tom started his musical journey with the Suzuki method of violin playing, and was a chorister of Westminster Abbey. He trained with conductor Roland Melia, of Ilya Musin’s school. Tom read music at Merton College, Oxford, where he held organ and academic scholarships and graduated with a First. He then studied conducting with Sian Edwards at the Royal Academy of Music where he held the Julien Award. Tom graduated in 2021 with Distinction, winning the Norma Simpson award for his contribution to the Academy and a DipRAM prize for an outstanding final performance.