The Southern Sinfonia is Dunedin's only professional orchestra, and one of four regional orchestras in New Zealand's largest cities funded by Creative New Zealand. Annually, they present a five-concert subscription series, plus schools, chamber and Proms concerts, and education programmes including masterclasses and workshops. They also regularly accompany productions by resident and touring opera, ballet, musical and choral companies.
The Sinfonia have established a reputation for the high calibre of thier performances, and for the conductors and soloists they attract both from overseas and from New Zealand. Recent artists have included Shlomo Mintz, Julian Lloyd Webber, Nikolai Demidenko, Raphael Wallfisch, Dame Cleo Laine, John Dankworth, Nigel Kennedy, Sir Donald McIntyre, Dame Malvina Major, Michael Houstoun, Nicholas Braithwaite, Helen Medlyn, Jonathan Lemalu, Werner Andreas Albert, Deborah Wai Kapohe, Anna Leese, Piers Lane, Roy Goodman, Brett Kelly, Simon Over, Bella Hristova, Tecwyn Evans, Vladimir Verbitsky and Chuanyan Li.
The Southern Sinfonia is acknowledged as this country's most innovative orchestra. Highlights have included three collaborations with NHNZ, which have resulted in production of the commercially available videos Southern Journeys (a millennium commission), Sinfonia Antartica, Timeless Land and Equator - Circle of Life, and our collaboration with Otago Heritage Books, which resulted in the commercially released CD for From the Southern Marches.
In March 2009 the Sinfonia celebrated the 140th birthday of internationally acclaimed artist, Frances Hodgkins with the Ryman Health Care Southern Stars Concert.
Annually the Sinfonia performs to approximately 20,000 people. Audience sizes range from nearly 3,000 for Schools Concerts, 2,000 for Last Night of the Proms, 1,000 for the International Series concerts, to 400 for the Matinee Series concerts.