Music Director

 © 2018 Tonbridge Philharmonic Society Registered Charity 253972




New for the New Year, Michael Waldron, will conduct our concerts in February and March 2019. Sharing the same initials and much of the same background, Michael comes highly recommended by our Conductor Emeritus, Matthew Willis.

Michael Waldron began his musical training as a chorister at St Ambrose College. After a gap year as Organ Scholar at Worcester Cathedral, Michael went on to spend four years as Organ Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge, under the direction of Stephen Layton.

In the autumn of 2017 he took up the post as Conductor and Musical Director of Islington Choral Society. He has been Artistic Director of London Lyric Opera since 2012, Musical Director of the Epworth Choir since 2014, and is the founder and Artistic Director of the Pinnacle Ensemble.

A champion of new music, Michael has premiered new works and recordings with a number of composers including Francis Grier, Richard Pantcheff, Tarik O’Regan and Oliver Rudland. Upcoming projects with the London Choral Sinfonia include a performance as part of the St John’s Smith Square Christmas Festival.

Highlights this season also include conducting Opera Della Luna’s critically-acclaimed production of Monckton’s The Arcadians at Wilton’s Music Hall, a debut conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in a programme featuring Chloe Hanslip (violin) and the Mozart Requiem and another debut, conducting Polyphony as part of the Swansea Festival.


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(Tonbridge Philharmonic Society Music Director 2014-2018)

Since graduating from the Royal College of Music, London, Matthew has conducted over 250 concerts and tours with ensembles across Europe in a wide repertoire. He has always enjoyed working with inspiring amateur ensembles and having the pleasure of enabling these groups to excel beyond their own expectations. He has had particularly fruitful relationships with the Redhill Sinfonia, the London Lawyers’ Symphony Orchestra, the Keele Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, the Ceramic City Choir, the North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra and the Salomon Orchestra.

Matthew has appeared at many leading concert venues including the Laeiszhalle, Hamburg, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Moscow, the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican, and the Wigmore Hall, London and has been privileged to work and study with some of the world’s leading musicians including Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. He has gained international recognition through participation in major conducting competitions including the Donatella Flick International Conductors Competition (2008) and the Cadaques Orchestra European Conducting Competition (2006).

During his tenure at Tonbridge Philharmonic Society he built steadily towards two amazing works, the Shostakovich 7th Symphony (Leningrad) and Britten’s mighty War Requiem.  Although they are rarely attempted by amateurs, both works brought out unsuspected passion and commitment from the performers and demonstrated Matthew’s skill and determination in making music to the highest possible standard. He will be much missed in Tonbridge, but we look forward to tempting him back before long now he has accepted the position of Conductor Emeritus.


In April we will welcome our new Music Director, Mark Biggins.

Mark Biggins is in demand as both a choral and orchestral conductor, as well as a pianist and singer. He has conducted orchestras and choirs across Europe and America including the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra, St. Andrew's Chamber Orchestra, Wesleyan College Orchestra, Yale Philharmonia, Clare College Choir and Yale Schola Cantorum.

A passionate educator and scholar, Mark holds degrees in Musicology from Cambridge and Music Theory from Yale University where he studied as a Mellon Fellow and taught undergraduate courses in harmony, counterpoint, keyboard and aural. While in America he served as music director at Yale's historic Battell Chapel and the orchestra of Saybrook College. He continues to study at the Royal College of Music with Peter Stark and Howard Williams with the support of an HR Taylor Trust Award and Reintamm Conducting Award.

At the Royal College Mark conducts the RCM Philharmonic, premieres new works with the RCM New Ensemble, assists guest conductors including Bernard Haitink and Vladimir Jurowski. He is also an assistant chorusmaster for the English National Opera, and is preparing the singers for productions of works by Gilbert and Sullivan, Philip Glass and Verdi. Next year he will be conducting performances by the Farnborough Symphony Orchestra, the Sinfonia of Cambridge and the University of London Symphony Orchestra.