Simon Chalk announced as Hull Philharmonic Orchestra's new Musical Director

The Hull Philharmonic Society and Orchestra are delighted to announce the appointment of their new Musical Director, Simon Chalk.

Simon conducted the orchestra in the recent 22/23 season February concert and we  are pleased to cement our association with such a distinguished and experienced musician. He has already demonstrated a huge enthusiasm for the society and has exciting plans to expand our musical reach both within the city and beyond over the coming years.


Simon responded to his appointment with the following statement:

“I am absolutely delighted and honoured to be appointed as the new Music Director of the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra following in the long line of the orchestra’s previous distinguished conductors. It is a privilege to lead this talented group of musicians and collaborate with them to create exceptional and memorable experiences for our audiences. I am very much looking forward to our exciting journey of artistic growth and exploration together!”

Simon was born and educated in a small mining village in South Wales and began playing the violin at age 11. He studied conducting and violin at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and spent his early career as a teacher, violinist and chamber musician with the Almira String Quartet, gradually relinquishing the bow in favour of the baton.

Currently based in the West Midlands, Simon has performed with and conducted orchestras and ensembles throughout the UK and internationally. He was appointed Chief Conductor of the Slovak Sinfonietta in September 2015 for a three-year tenure and now continues his relationship with the ensemble as their permanent guest conductor.

We are all excited to see what brilliant new successes can be achieved under Simon’s musical directorship, and invite you to join us in welcoming him to the podium. Simon will be conducting all three of the Hull Phil’s 2023/24 concerts at Hull City Hall: Music, Magic and Mystery on Sunday 26th November 2023, 4pm; Northern Lights on Saturday 2nd March 2024, 7.30pm; and Take Me to the Movies on Saturday 11th May 2024, 7.30pm. For tickets to these concerts, please click here to book.

Posted on 24th Aug 2023 13:13:07 by

Tags: News.

Law firm’s generosity funds live orchestral music experience

Williamsons Solicitors has hit a high note with local GCSE students after sponsoring the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra’s Young Person’s Ticket Scheme.

The East Yorkshire law firm’s generosity funded 12 Sirius Academy pupils to attend a recent concert at Hull City Hall for free so that they could experience a live symphony orchestra.


It is not the first time that Williamsons has supported the long-running initiative which has provided hundreds of free tickets to Hull secondary schools, in particular to help young people studying GSCE Music.

The firm also supports the Hull Philharmonic by providing a home for its extensive music library.

Year 10 pupil Kaitlyn Marsham-Cook said that watching an orchestra live was better than watching it on TV or listening to a recording: “You can actually see all of the technique and people physically playing. This helps me when thinking about my own violin playing,” she said.

Fellow student Isaac Gwinnell said: “It shows how grand the music truly is. It required such attention to detail and focus and made the entire hall feel alive.” 

Their teacher and coordinator of music at Sirius Academy, Sarah-Jane Waterhouse, is also a longstanding violinist with the Hull Philharmonic. She said: “It is invaluable for the students to see live music; it really helps bring their studies to life. We are very thankful to Williamsons Solicitors and to the Hull Philharmonic committee for making it happen.”

With the students having balcony tickets, they were able to benefit from some of the best seats in the house at the concert which featured Beverley-born percussionist Laura Bradford in a visually spectacular performance of Séjourné’s Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra. The orchestra was conducted by guest artist Simon Chalk in a programme that also included Rachmaninov’s Symphony No 2 and Kabalevsky’s Overture to Colas Breugnon.

Jane Cousins, a director at Williamsons Solicitors, said that she was pleased to be able to help. “We have a policy of supporting local talent into long and fulfilling careers at the firm, so this initiative is fitting in that it truly reflects our values of providing opportunities for all. We are very glad that the students enjoyed and benefited from the experience.”

The Hull Philharmonic’s next concert is on May 13 at Hull City Hall. They will play Dvorak’s The Noonday Witch, Liadov’s The Enchanted Lake, Franck’s Les Djinns, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. The guest conductor is James Ham who is currently conductor of the London Orchestra Project, a chamber orchestra featuring some of the UK’s finest orchestral players, which he co-founded.

Williamsons Solicitors offers an extensive range of legal services including commercial property, clinical negligence, personal injury, defence advocacy, family and childcare, residential property conveyancing, and wills and probate. Its head office is in Hull, with branches in Driffield and Bridlington. The firm employs more than 120 staff.

Posted on 9th May 2023 08:20:54 by

Tags: News.

Spotlight on: New Players!

The Hull Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the country’s finest amateur orchestras – one that is ever-changing and ever-growing. Each season we welcome new players who bring with them their diverse and interesting perspectives and musical backgrounds.

With that in mind, here are some thoughts from two of our newest playing members about their musical careers and their reflections on their time with the Hull Phil so far:

Rebecca Stokes (Cellist):

I so enjoyed the March concert - playing such exciting music with such a fabulous sounding (and big) orchestra was just brilliant.

I last played orchestral repertoire at the University of York (with Christine Rostron) about 100 years ago, and my time there included a rather lovely tour to the Greek Islands and a term of leading the cellos while the music students were busy with their final recitals.

I was for many years, an actor-musician, so was able to keep my playing up in small on-stage ensembles – including playing Joanna in Sweeney Todd and Audrey in As You Like It in the West End. I also played double bass and bass guitar in Chess in Toronto, though I can confirm that I am, in fact, not a double bassist or, indeed, a bass guitarist!

Most recently, I’ve been enjoying my boys learning the cello and playing in the excellent East Riding Youth Orchestra with Peter Walker. I had a crack at the Shostakovich when I was in my own Youth Orchestra, the Harrow Young Musicians, so I’m hoping it all comes flooding back. Thank you very much to the Hull Philharmonic for having me and making me feel so welcome.

Jessica Bestley (Percussionist):

Hi all! I’m Jess. I’m 25, from Beverley and I’m currently working as a Learning Support Assistant at Kingsmill Special School in Driffield. My musical interest started when I started having piano lessons at 7 years old. When I was in year 8 at high school, I decided I wanted to learn another instrument and Miss Ward (Sarah of first violins to all of you) suggested I started percussion. From then, I started having percussion lessons and joined several ensembles as well as the East Riding Music Service’s Youth Orchestra during which time I even got to go on tour to Austria! However, since I left sixth form in 2017, I hadn’t really played any percussion… until I joined the Hull Philharmonic.

Although I was quite nervous to play in front of an audience again, I really enjoyed our concert in the City Hall, and I am really looking forward to playing Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony in the May concert. It is a piece I know quite well as I studied it at A level. I hope our concert in May will be just as enjoyable as the last.

Whether you’re a committed local amateur musician looking to diversify your musical portfolio or someone who wants to get back into playing in a large ensemble, get in touch. We welcome new players into all sections for the forthcoming 2023/24 season, though we are especially interested in recruiting to strings at the moment – players must be skilled to grade 8 or equivalent. If this could be you, please email [email protected] for more details. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted on 9th May 2023 08:19:10 by

Tags: News.

We’re looking for an Orchestral Leader!

The Hull Philharmonic Society is pleased to invite expressions of interest for the position of orchestral leader due to the upcoming retirement of our current leader, Mrs Patricia Mitchell. Given our express commitment to supporting local musicians, we will consider applications from violinists who are either current playing members of the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra or otherwise located in Hull and the wider local area including the East Riding and York.




Please submit a short statement providing an overview of your musical training and experiences, especially of orchestral performance and leadership, as well as an explanation about why you are interested in this position and what you would bring to the role and to the society. Please note that the orchestral leader will be expected to become a regular playing member of the HPO and attend weekly rehearsals held on Wednesday evenings throughout the concert season starting in September 2023. The position carries an honorarium.

Expressions of interest should be submitted to [email protected] by 5th May 2023. Auditions will be held at the end of May.

The orchestra is also looking for string players with a competence of around Grade 8 or equivalent to join us for our 23/24 season.

Posted on 13th Apr 2023 05:26:46 by

Tags: News.

The Hull Philharmonic has a new administrator

We are delighted to announce the appointment of our new administrator: Jessica Fear who will be taking up her role with the society in time for the new 22/23 season. A former English teacher, Jessica comes to us from a background working with a national arts charity delivering creative projects  across Hull, East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Welcome to the Hull Philharmonic team, Jessica!

Posted on 4th Aug 2022 08:13:38 by

Tags: News.