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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: Margarita Mikhailova
  • 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 Elin Jones at

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: Margarita Mikhailova

Margarita Mikhailova
Margarita Mikhailova

Margarita currently holds the positions of Symphony Orchestra conductor at Cardiff University, and Visiting Lecturer and Conductor at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where she completed her own studies.

She has worked with:

  • Orchestra Of The Royal Opera House
  • London Mozart Players
  • BBC Concert Orchestra
  • English Symphony Orchestra
  • Cardiff Sinfonietta, UK
  • Danube Orchestra, Budapest
  • Philhamonisches Kammerorchester, Berlin
  • Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, Latvia
  • Estonian National Youth Orchestra
  • St Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic

Born in Russia, Margarita began her studies as a pianist and choral conductor in St Petersburg Academy of Art. From 2002, she continued to study in Norway and work across Scandinavia where she achieved critical acclaim performing Russian Orthodox Church music and contemporary Scandinavian repertoire. Her particular interest in contemporary music led her to conduct several premiers of new works, both in Norway and the UK.

Margarita’s repertoire spans from the Classical period to the big Romantic and 20th century compositions of Prokofiev, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Elgar, Korngold, Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, Grieg, Stravinsky, Ravel and Berg. She has a special expertise in Slavic and Russian Romantic music.

Alongside conducting, in 2018, she established MuzikFermata, a company which runs professional conducting workshops and concerts in Oxford.