Ely Sinfonia was launched in November 1999 by ADeC (Arts Development in East Cambridgeshire) with generous awards from the Millennium Festival Fund and the Eastern Orchestral Board. The aim was to establish a quality community orchestra for East Cambridgeshire which would receive coaching and artistic direction from conductors and principal players from Britten Sinfonia, the Cambridge based professional chamber orchestra.
Ely Sinfonia is now completely independent and is run by its members. The Sinfonia does not meet on a weekly basis, but has established a successful formula of concentrated rehearsals during the fortnight leading up to each concert, backed up by regular technique workshops. The orchestra is made up of players of all ages and backgrounds, including school and college students, business professionals, retired individuals and a significant number of local music teachers for whom taking part in the orchestra is a highly desirable way to further their professional development. It is the first ever high quality ensemble to be based in Ely, which gives local players the chance to pursue their interest close to home, rather than having to travel to the amateur orchestras based in Cambridge and King’s Lynn.