A high standard of music-making, adventurous repertoire, and the rewards of outreach work are what make the Nonesuch Orchestra unique.

The Nonesuch Orchestra was founded in 1961 to enable good string players to rehearse and perform in north London at a time that did not clash with other evening commitments and childcare obligations – on Thursday mornings, as we still do now.

We find that sharing orchestral music with audiences who may never have experienced it before is hugely enriching for players and listeners alike. In the past the orchestra has performed at hospices and hospital wards and is now focussed on working with schools around London. We hold lively and very popular workshops in primary schools, where children have the opportunity to experience – often for the first time – the excitement of a live orchestra up close.

We also give public concerts of familiar and unfamiliar string works. With conductor and leader who are both professional string players, and students from the Royal Academy of Music as our principal cello and bass, we perform challenging masterpieces such as Stravinsky’s Apollon musagete and Tippett’s Concerto for Double String Orchestra. And in 2018 we organised the first of a new series of annual Play Days, where we invite friends to join us for an intensive rehearsal, followed by a performance, of a special piece from the string repertoire.

Charity registration number 801054

Patron: Julian Lloyd Weber


Dan Shilladay, conductor

Our conductor, Dan Shilladay, is a graduate of the Universities of Birmingham and York and the Royal College of Music. He plays the viola with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the English Chamber Orchestra and the English Baroque Soloists, with whom he has performed at the BBC Proms. Dan is also in demand as a conductor and educator and directs Imperial College String Ensemble, Stoneleigh Youth Training Orchestra and Merton String Sinfonia.


Stephanie Waite, leader

Our leader, Stephanie Waite, began playing the violin at the age of two and then studied in the Junior department at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Later, while reading English Literature at Cambridge University she studied violin with Levon Chilingirian. After a gap of several years, during which she ran arts and music projects for prison inmates, she returned to her playing, studying intensively with Diana Cummings. Now she enjoys a diverse career performing in many orchestras and string ensembles, and teaching a small but cherished group of students.