President: Craig Ogden

“The Leeds Symphony Orchestra contribute a huge amount to the cultural life of Leeds and the surrounding area and it is a real honour to be their President.” Craig Ogden, President of Leeds Symphony Orchestra
(Photo: Ivan Gonzalez)

Guitarist Craig Ogden has many years of association with Leeds Symphony Orchestra, and he is the orchestra’s honorary President.

Born in Australia, Craig is one of the most exciting artists of his generation. He studied guitar from the age of seven and percussion from the age of thirteen. In 2004, he became the youngest instrumentalist to receive a Fellowship Award from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

One of the UK’s most recorded guitarists, his recordings for Virgin/EMI, Chandos, Nimbus, Hyperion, Sony and Classic FM have received wide acclaim. Craig’s six chart topping albums for Classic FM are regularly played on air.

Craig Ogden has performed concertos with many of the world’s leading orchestras in countries including Latvia, Russia, South Africa, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Germany and Australia. In recent seasons he has performed with the Hallé, BBC Concert Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra (Spain), Spanish Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra (Dublin), London Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. In 2015, Craig was asked to step in at short notice for the indisposed Miloš Karadaglić and performed a series of concerts on tour with the Royal Northern Sinfonia at major UK concert halls and again in 2016 with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and the English Chamber Orchestra, both tours receiving critical acclaim. In 2019, Craig presented his own programme of “The Celebration of the Guitar” with Manchester Camerata which showcased the guitar in various styles.

Craig enjoys performing new works for guitar and gave the world premiere of a concerto written for him by Andy Scott with the Northern Chamber Orchestra at Stoller Hall, Manchester in November 2017, followed by the Australian premiere in Perth in September 2018. He gave the world premiere of ‘Il Filo’, a double concerto for guitar and accordion by David Gordon with Miloš Milivojević in summer 2019 and will give the world premiere of a concerto by David Knotts with the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London in January 2021 which was recorded by BBC Radio 3.

Craig Ogden regularly appears as soloist and chamber musician at major venues, collaborating with many of the UK’s top artists and ensembles. He is a regular member of the London Tango Quintet.

Craig has been invited by John Williams to perform with him at venues including London’s Globe Theatre, where he returned for a music and poetry performance with actress Meera Syal. Craig has performed at many of the major UK festivals as well as large outdoor festivals including Jamie Oliver and Alex James’ Big Feastival and the Wilderness Festival.

He is the most sought after guitarist for chamber music in the UK performing with artists including the Carducci Quartet, London Tango Quintet, Miloš Milivojević (accordion), David Juritz (violin), Tim Hugh (cello), Jacqui Dankworth (vocalist), Leon Bosch (double bass), Adrian Bradbury (cello) and Judy Hall (flute). In September 2019, he performed a new programme with the Syrian qanun player Maya Youssef for Equator Festival Music at Kings Place, London.

Craig also frequently records for film and was featured on the British hit, Notting Hill. He has presented programmes on radio including The Segovia Legacy on BBC Radio 3 (co-presented with Louis de Bernières), Ten Pound Pom Mum for BBC Northern Ireland (a programme about his Mother’s upbringing in Northern Ireland) and a series of four interviews with artists including John Williams for ABC Classic FM (Australia). Craig presented three short videos as part of an advertising campaign on Classic FM for Emirates Airline and was invited by Sky Arts to be a mentor for the Guitar Star television series.

Craig Ogden is Director of Guitar at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, Adjunct Fellow of the University of Western Australia, Associate Artist and Curator of Craig Ogden’s Guitar Weekend at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Director of the Dean & Chadlington Summer Music Festival and Visiting Musician at Oriel College, University of Oxford. Craig Ogden plays D’Addario strings.

In 2000, Leeds Symphony Orchestra commissioned Arthur Butterworth to compose a Guitar Concerto.  This was premiered in November 2000 by Craig and the orchestra, conducted by Martin Binks.  Another guitar concerto, Black Island by Richard Herriott was commissioned in 2005 by Leeds Symphony Orchestra and premièred in November 2006, again with Martin Binks conducting.  With Leeds Symphony Orchestra, Craig has also performed both Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and the Fantasia para un gentilhombre and the guitar concertos of Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Malcolm Arnold, Villa Lobos, and Manuel Ponce, a total of eight concertos in all, in over 30 appearances with the orchestra since 1994.