Sunderland Symphony






registration no.






To complement, enhance, encourage and develop musical activities in Sunderland, through the maintenance of a good quality community based orchestra, which will give both members and audiences a fulfilling experience of artistic endeavour.

To promote, improve, develop, and maintain public education in, and appreciation of, the art and science of music in all its aspects, particularly but not exclusively through the presentation of concerts, the provision of tuition, and by other such charitable ways as the Orchestra, through its trustees, shall from time to time determine.

The formation of the orchestra was a response to Sunderland Council's initiative for each Ward to commemorate the Millennium - 2000.00 was given to each Ward, to be spent at the discretion of the Ward Councillors. Rather than create a monument or hold a one-off event, the three councillors for the Thornholme Ward of the City of Sunderland decided to facilitate a long lasting commemoration of the Millennium, that would develop the musical potential of people in Sunderland and provide enjoyment for many people for many years by enriching and complementing the City's musical environment.

The Three Founding Councillors, pictured left to right
Mark Greenfield, Winifred Lundgren, John Lennox

Following a public meeting in West Park Church on Friday 1st October 1999, it was decided to go ahead and form an orchestral society, to be known as 'The City of Sunderland Millennium Orchestral Society' (CoSMOS). Initially, the intention was to build an orchestra, the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra because it was felt that Sunderland was big enough to sustain an orchestra and also that the people of Sunderland deserved the best.

Those persons present at the initial meeting became the first members of the new society and the musicians among them formed the core membership of the new orchestra. Rupert Hanson was appointed to be the first Musical Director.

The Society became a Registered Charity on 20/09/2000.

The Sunderland Symphony Orchestra first performed a Complete Symphony on 7th April 2001 (Symphony No. 9 - Dvorak).

Following the death of Rupert Hanson in August 2009, Mun Ying Lin took over as interim conductor until December 2009 when Ray Farr was appointed. In January 2014 Paul Judson took over as Musical Director and Principal Conductor for the orchestra,

The three founders of the orchestra were later made Vice-Presidents of the orchestra, and in April 2010, the name of the charity was changed to the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra. This was done for public relations and marketing reasons, since this was the name by which the public related to the organisation.


Copyright 2010 D E Mills