London Graduate Orchestra
The London Graduate Orchestra was founded by conductor Claire Lampon and composer Kemal Yusuf in 2013. Our aim is to offer emerging graduates the opportunity to perform in a high standard orchestra before entering the professional field. Made up of the finest young musicians in London, the London Graduate Orchestra provides a platform for its members to showcase their talent and capabilities. This extends to young composers who have the opportunity to have their music workshopped and performed by the LGO. We also hold open rehearsals for young conductors to lead the orchestra in a constructive and welcoming environment.
Artistic Director / Principal Conductor
Claire first started conducting at the age of 19 whilst studying Music at the University of Bristol, auditioning to become the conductor of the Bristol University String Orchestra in 2009/10. Following a highly successful season, Claire then auditioned and was appointed conductor of the Bristol University Chamber Orchestra in 2010/11.
During this season, Claire also conducted the Bristol University Chamber Choir and Chamber Orchestra in a joint concert at St George's Bristol with a performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Toward the Unknown Region and finished off the season with Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2 at the annual Gala concert at the Victoria Rooms, Bristol.
Internationally, Claire conducted the orchestra on a hugely well-received tour to Berlin, performing in the world famous Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church to a sold out audience. During this time, Claire received conducting tuition from Jonathan James (Bristol Ensemble, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra).
Since graduating, Claire has continued to further her conducting under the tuition of George Hurst (BBC Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Academy of Music) and Rodolfo Saglimbeni (Municipal Symphony Orchestra of Caracas) at the Sherborne (previously Canford) Summer School of Music and at the London Masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Music with Benjamin Zander (Boston Philharmonic Orchestra).
Having co-founded the London Graduate Orchestra in 2013 with composer Kemal Yusuf, Claire is thrilled to be working with the next generation of musical talent through exciting and innovative projects and performances.
Considered one of the UK’s most exciting young composers, Yusuf’s music is driven both by creative innovation and an immense sensitivity to colour in time.
Kemal began in unusual circumstances, having not been able to learn music formally in the state school he attended and instead taught himself to play the piano in writing pieces on the instrument his family were given by a friend. It wasn’t until his gap year before University that he obtained formal training in both piano and theory.
He later went on to study a masters in composition at the Royal Academy of Music, which is where he met his late mentor Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. A figure who the composer believes had a bigger impact on him than anyone else.
‘One of the UK’s brightest young composers’ M-Magazine
His output has been large for his years, having composed several piano pieces and over 20 works for soloists and chamber groups. Amongst these is his new 17 minute string quartet. 'Oyun' composed for the Carducci Quartet. He composed Cain, a full length dramatic cantata, last year. Cain was commissioned by the Norfolk and Norwich Festival for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the NNF Chorus and soloists Jeni Bern, Christopher Diffey and Alexander Baker. His setting of Psalm 91 has been performed by different choirs around the country, including on a live broadcast with the BBC Singers.
‘Yusuf’s music is very individual; his scoring for the large orchestral forces masterly, as is his dramatic writing for the three soloists, and the work is immediately accessible, and compelling throughout’ Eastern Daily Press
Other commissions include works for the BBC Singers, The Cheltenham International Music Festival, the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, The Carducci Quartet, The Fidelio Trio and for film Directors Tim Bernard and Nayomi Roshini.
As Artistic Director of the London Graduate Orchestra, he has helped to bring into the public eye various contemporaries through an innovative commissioning scheme. The LGO has premiered works from Liam Taylor West, Daniel Kidane, Amoret Abis and Chris Roe.