Tom Fetherstonhaugh is the Assistant Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Described as ‘a spark to watch’ by BBC Radio 3, his recent projects include conducting Tasmin Little’s final concerto performances, a concert for peace in the Korean Demilitarised Zone and the development of Piers Hellawell’s new piano concerto with players from the Ulster Orchestra.
Tom has conducted concerto performances with some of the country’s leading soloists, including Alena Baeva, Alim Beisembayev, Jess Gillam, Thomas Gould, Clare Hammond, Richard Hosford, Isata Kanneh-Mason, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Tasmin Little, and Priya Mitchell.
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’.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Tom has developed a method for performing opera with a recorded orchestra, in theatres where social distancing prevents the players from all sitting in the orchestra pit. This was first trialled at the Royal Academy of Music in 2020, where Tom produced an orchestral recording of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He went on to deliver recordings of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for The Grange Festival in 2021: Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut.
As well as Fantasia Orchestra, Tom has conducted (in either concert or masterclass setting) the Ulster Orchestra, Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra, Lindenbaum Festival Orchestra (Korean Demilitarised Zone), Jersey Chamber Orchestra, Oxford University Sinfonietta, the orchestra of the Oxford Chamber Music Festival, Southbank Sinfonia, Leicester Symphony Orchestra, Hereford Symphony Orchestra and, aged 13, the choristers of Westminster Abbey on their tour to Russia.
Tom started his musical journey with the Suzuki method of violin playing. He 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, had solo roles at English National Opera, and sang on numerous film soundtracks. Tom made his BBC Proms debut aged 13 as a soloist in Mahler’s ‘Das Klagende Lied’ conducted by Edward Gardner.
He studied violin and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, Junior Department, and subsequently trained with conductor Roland Melia. Tom read music at Merton College, Oxford, where he held organ and academic scholarships and graduated with first class honours. He studied conducting with Sian Edwards at the Royal Academy of Music where he held the Julien Award. Tom graduated in 2021 with Distinction, winning the Norma Simpson award for his contribution to the Academy and a DipRAM prize for an outstanding final performance.