About the Orchestra

The Northwood String Orchestra is an amateur string orchestra based in Southampton.

The Orchestra is one of Southampton's longest running ensembles with its origins going back to entertaining injured WW1 servicemen at Netley Hospital in the early 1920s. The name "Northwood" was adopted to enter the first Southampton Music Festival in 1926; the founder, Mrs Winifred Caesar taking the name of her house on The Avenue where the orchestra met regularly on the lawns.

We have some wonderful old photos of that time, in our archive.

The Orchestra is known for its friendly and welcoming nature and plays a variety of music from the string orchestra repertoire. We practise weekly on Mondays 19:30 - 21:30 at the Friends Meeting House, Southampton. We hold two concerts a year and are proud to maintain the long tradition of supporting charities each time.

Conductor and Musical Director

Bruno Needham

Bruno Needham is our Musical Director. Bruno began conducting while studying Music at Durham University. During this time he founded the Durham University Classical Ensemble, conducted the Chapel Choir at Grey College and also the University College Chamber Orchestra. Since completing his master’s degree in 2019 he has guest conducted the Crowthorne Symphony Orchestra and the Langtree Sinfonia, before joining the Northwood String Orchestra in October 2021. Originally from Berkshire, Bruno is now based in London and works for the English National Opera.


This year we welcome Kinga Kowalczyk as our leader.

Kinga started violin aged 7, at music school in Katowice, Poland. She moved to the UK aged 9 and studied with Christa Porter. With a scholarship to the Royal Welsh College in Cardiff, Kinga collaborated with artists such as Nicola Benedetti. Kinga was part of the successful student Aureum Quartet; one of their most prized performances was for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Cardiff Castle in January 2018. Kinga co-led the college Symphony Orchestra, and led their Opera production in 2019. Kinga is now a tutor at Southampton Arts Academy and a freelance musician, working with Jersey Chamber Orchestra and as solo violinist in various projects. Kinga joined City of Southampton Orchestra in January 2022 and took up the position of leader of Northwood String Orchestra in September of the same year.


Here is a photo of the orchestra taken at the end of the rehearsal before the concert at St Alban's Church in June 2022. Bruno Needham, our musical director, is at the right, and Ellabeth Little, the soloist, is at the left.

Northwood String Orchestra June 2022