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Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra

The Symphony Orchestra consists of around 120 players each year.

Membership of the Symphony Orchestra is made up mainly of students from the School of Music, but a significant number of student members from other Schools in the University audition successfully each year, representing Engineering, Modern Languages, Medicine, Physics, Law, Psychology and more.

  • Auditioned: Audition required
  • Conductor: Mark Eager
  • Rehearsals: Monday, 18:05-21:00, Concert Hall

The Symphony Orchestra is open to all Cardiff University students with auditions taking place each September. For more information on auditioning please contact

The Orchestra presents a range of exciting performances in a number of locations in South Wales, including St David’s Hall and BBC Hoddinott Hall. The orchestra has undertaken tours to China, Belgium, Germany and France and hope to travel again in 2019.

We released our first CD in 2014, featuring works by William Mathias and School of Music alumni, Yfat Soul Zisso, and Morfydd Owen, as well as the rarely-performed 1881 version of Liszt’s Totentanz.

Our second CD release featured the world premiere recordings of two works by Claude Debussy. The two works - Prélude à l’histoire de Tristan and No-Ja-Li ou Le Palais du Silence - were left unfinished when Debussy died in 1918. They have since been completed and orchestrated by Robert Orledge, a leading expert on French music - and were performed in public for the first time by Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra and Mark Eager in March 2015 as part of the Philharmonia Orchestra's City of Light festival.

A recent review of the CD in The Times said: "The novelty that really made me excited this week was Debussy’s Chinese ballet score No-ja-la - another unfinished work, originally earmarked for a 1914 London stage revue, more recently restored to life in a brilliantly effective reconstruction by Robert Orledge. Its premiere performance by excellent Cardiff University forces is the highlight of City of Light: New Discoveries."

Both CDs are released on the Prima Facie label.

Conductor: Mark Eager

Mark Eager
Mark Eager

Mark Eager is an exciting conductor with a wide breadth of knowledge in the orchestral field. He was appointed as Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra in 2008.

His work as a conductor is supported by his experience as a world-class soloist and Principal Trombone with the BBC National Orchestra Wales from 1993 to 2006.

Under his baton the orchestra is achieving significant educational and musical success, including considerable acclaim for performances of Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony and Mahler’s 1st Symphony in particular.

He is often praised for his mature understanding, thoughtful musicianship and command of the orchestra.

Mark is also Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of The Welsh Sinfonia. His clear, highly musical direction and his consummate grasp of musical idioms have developed the ensemble over the past few years into Wales’s finest chamber orchestra.

Eager held the orchestra with poise and elegance.

The Western Mail

He tours extensively worldwide and has annual residencies in Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and Tasmania. On a recent tour to Melbourne, Mark worked with around 6,000 students both ‘live’ and streamed worldwide on the internet, to great acclaim.