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Student strikes right chord with new orchestra

Student strikes the right chord with new orchestra

Published on: 29 February 2024

A second year Music student at Newcastle University is delivering unique shows and genre-bending concerts.

Newcastle University student and Conductor, Luis Schmidt, is bringing orchestral music to a wide audience with the creation of Capella Edina; an exciting symphony orchestra based in Edinburgh.

Through the orchestra, Luis is committed to making classical music more accessible to a wider audience and to present lesser well-known, yet very beautiful works in unique concert settings.

He comments: “The orchestral world often focuses on classical works by the old masters but recognising the universal language of music means exploring a variety of genres. I wish to reach diverse audiences while promoting classical and contemporary music."

Luis Schmidt Conducting © Dominik Wickstead

Starting a musical career

At just 19, Luis Schmidt is the youngest Director of Music of any professional symphony orchestra. Starting with a trumpet, he then began conducting at 15, going on to establish his own brass ensemble in Munich.

He soon expanded this to a wind band and then a chamber orchestra. He has studied with some renowned worldwide musicians, such as conductor and Haydn researcher Bruno Weil. In his final year of school, Luis set up the music publishing company Luis Schmidt Music, which he still runs alongside his studies at Newcastle University.

He has always been passionate about the value of music; highlighting its value in bringing people together. He added: “Music is a dynamic manifestation of our culture, and our culture cannot survive without it, but at the same time, music cannot survive without our cultural input”.

With Capella Edina, Luis hopes to show people the beauty of music and sounds they may never have encountered before, all within a diverse and inclusive environment that welcomes people from all backgrounds.

Supporting young people through musical education

Dr Jane Nolan, Senior Lecturer in Music Enterprise at Newcastle University, said: “We are very proud of Luis and congratulate him on this excellent achievement. Newcastle University supports students to develop skills needed for a career in music, and Luis has shown drive and passion in this area.

"He has applied professional skills to create and develop this exciting and worthwhile project, based on his vision for increasing inclusivity and diversity in classical music, and providing tangible support for young musicians and composers.”

Capella Edina supports young musicians and composers on their journey to become professional music-makers through regular commissions, workshops, and sit-in orchestral sessions.

It allows musicians to become familiar with a wide range of music from different musical epochs in a constructive and encouraging environment.

In addition, the orchestra is an active contributor to the community by playing educational concerts discuss the music within specially curated programmes for the benefit of young people and aspiring musicians.

How to get involved

The orchestra is a charity registered in England and Wales and its Board of Trustees includes renowned musicians such as Christopher Bruerton (first baritone of The King’s Singers) and Robert Ames (co-principal conductor and co-principal artistic director of the London Contemporary Orchestra).

Capella Edina is always looking for collaboration from individuals to fulfil its mission. To learn more about how you can get involved, get in touch by emailing or visit the website.

If you want to learn more about studying Music at Newcastle University, check out our programmes here.


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