Tom Fetherstonhaugh is a British conductor and organist. Described as ‘a spark to watch’ by BBC Radio 3, his recent projects include a concert for peace in the Korean Demilitarised Zone, the development of a new piano concerto with players from the Ulster Orchestra and assisting Sir Mark Elder at the Royal Academy of Music. In 2016 he founded Fantasia Orchestra, at its inception being a group of budding young musicians from junior Conservatoire departments. It has grown into an orchestra of exciting talent, with the ArtsDesk calling the strings section ‘already a thing of wonder’. With Fantasia, Tom has performed a wide range of symphonic repertoire as well as a wealth of world premieres. Soloists who have worked with the orchestra include Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Isata Kanneh-Mason, Hana Mizuta-Spencer and Harry Baker. In 2019 the orchestra gave its debut at the Proms at St Jude’s festival.
As a conductor, Tom has a close relationship with the Oxford Chamber Music Festival. In 2018 he conducted the festival’s opening concert, working alongside soloists Alena Baeva, Priya Mitchell and Sheku Kanneh-Mason. In 2017 he was assistant conductor for Jarman’s double concerto for Dame Evelyn Glennie and Hugo Ticciati, ‘Mindstream’. Tom was conductor and artistic director of the Oxford University Sinfonietta for two years, a chamber orchestra comprised of the university’s best instrumentalists. Together they performed works including Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony no. 2, as well as a number of the Beethoven Symphonies. As conductor of OU Sinfonietta, Tom adjudicated the Oxford University Music Society composition competition twice, premiering winning pieces by Richard English and Thomas Metcalf.
In summer 2019, Tom made his debut in Korea, performing in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) with the Lindenbaum Festival Orchestra. Entitled ‘One Harmony’, the festival promotes peace between the Koreas through music, and the performance included a collaboration with the National Children’s Chorus of America.
As well as Fantasia Orchestra, Lindenbaum Festival Orchestra, Oxford University Sinfonietta and the orchestra of the Oxford Chamber Music Festival, Tom has conducted Southbank Sinfonia, Leicester Symphony Orchestra, Hereford Symphony Orchestra, the Lindenbaum Festival Orchestra, the Junior Royal Academy of Music Sinfonia, Senior Orchestra and Main Choir, the orchestra of the Pro Corda Senior Course, the choir of Merton College, Oxford, and, aged 13, the choristers of Westminster Abbey on their tour to Russia.
Tom is also active as an organist and pianist; he was organ scholar at Merton College, Oxford, and is a prizewinning Associate of the Royal College of Organists. He has played for live BBC Radio 3 broadcasts, and in 2017 played for the first Anglican Evensong at St Peter’s Basilica, Rome. He has appeared as soloist in the UK, Europe, Hong Kong and Singapore, including the Oxford Chamber Music and Oxford Lieder Festivals. On the piano, Tom has recently performed the complete Beethoven Violin Sonatas with violinist Athena Hawksley-Walker in the Holywell Music Room; the duo played live on Radio 3’s In Tune as part of the project. He is Associate Director of Music at St Mary Abbots Church, Kensington, and Assistant Director of Music of the Fulham and Hammersmith Choral Society.
Tom was a chorister of Westminster Abbey where he sang for many state occasions, including performing the solo in Mealor’s Ubi Caritas at the 2011 Royal Wedding. As a treble, he performed at the Royal Opera House and had solo roles at English National Opera, and his voice features on film soundtracks including Prometheus, Life of Pi and Dark Shadows. Tom made his BBC Proms debut aged 13 as a soloist in Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied under Edward Gardner (2011). He studied violin and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, Junior Department, after which he read music at Merton College, Oxford where he held organ and academic scholarships. He graduated with first class honours and is currently studying conducting with Sian Edwards at the Royal Academy of Music, where he holds the Julien Award.