About Us

Docklands Sinfonia

Docklands Sinfonia is a diverse, dynamic & versatile orchestra working with composers, producers and promoters across film, rock & pop, and classical music.

A major cultural force in Docklands and beyond - bringing high quality music to the area, staging ground-breaking concerts and creating a lasting legacy by inspiring generations of young people.

Since its formation in 2009, Docklands Sinfonia has enjoyed incredible success with performances for Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and with Grammy-award winner Imogen Heap at the Royal Albert Hall. The orchestra received standing ovations for its world premiere performances of Roy Budd's score to the 1925 silent film, Phantom of the Opera at the Barbican and London Coliseum. It has appeared on BBC Radio 3 and BBC1 and performed the first-ever concerts in the Tower Bridge's Bascule Chamber under the Thames. 

Docklands Sinfonia has also performed with world-renowned classical artists such as Alison Balsom, Jennifer Pike, Leonard Elschenbroich and Elin Manahan-Thomas as well as the English National Ballet and artists from the Royal Opera House. 

The orchestra is proud of it's close association with renowned songwriter and producer Mike Batt and has recorded albums for leading artists such as Olly Murs, Katie Melua and toured the UK with rock band Hawkwind. 

Firmly grounded in our East London community, Docklands Sinfonia was founded by conductor Spencer Down, whose grandfather worked in the docks. His love of music was born listening to his grandfather play trumpet in working men’s clubs in the East End.

The orchestra is currently bringing classical music to school children with its specially-commissioned educational project 'The Caretaker's Guide to the Orchestra’ by Jeremy Holland-Smith - shortlisted for in the 2018 British Composer Awards and featuring children's artist and illustrator James Mayhew. To date, it has performed for more than 5,000 school children in East London.

We are available for hire.

Conductor- Spencer Down

Spencer DownSpencer works with composers, producers and promoters across film, rock & pop, and classical music. He has been orchestral director for high profile events including concerts for the Queen in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace and the world premiere of Grammy award-winning singer Imogen Heap’s ‘Love the Earth’ at the Royal Albert Hall. 

Spencer recently conducted Jeremy Holland-Smith's score to the Netflix Film Scrooge and was entrusted with Roy Budd's score to the 1925 classic silent film Phantom of the Opera, conducting the premiere at London's Coliseum and the Barbican.

Spencer was honoured to conduct the Mayor's Jubilee Band - made up of young musicians from London's top four music colleges - on one of the music barges taking part in the spectacular Queen's Jubilee Pageant on the river Thames.

He has built up an impressive portfolio of working with artists from leading organisations including the English National Ballet, Royal Opera House, London Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Spencer works at Guildhall School of Music & Drama as conductor & brass co-ordinator at Junior Guildhall and Creative Director of Guildhall Young Artists King's Cross.

Full biography

Leader - Emma Blanco

Emma BlancoEmma Blanco studied under Yossi Zivoni at the Royal College of Music. She has attended masterclasses with Igor Oistrakh and Yossi Zivoni in Belgium and with Victor Liva, Sophie Till and Ming Yang in the United States. After graduating from the RCM in 2003 she continued her studies privately with Rodney Friend. In 2003, Emma was appointed leader of the National Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra and has also led the London Soloists’ Chamber Orchestra in concerts at the Purcell Room, St-Martins-in-the-Fields and St John’s, Smith Square.

Emma now has a busy freelance schedule, based in London. She plays regularly with many orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Concert Orchestra and the New London Soloists. Emma has recorded for artists including Olly Murs, Katie Melua, Will Young, McFly, Aled Jones, Duke Special and The Indelicates. She has also played on film and TV sessions with groups including Millennia Strings and the London Session Orchestra. Emma's TV appearances include The Brits 2014 and the Graham Norton Show. She has given live performances with international artists such as Imogen Heap & Peter Gabriel.

 Full biography




Admiral The Right Honourable Baron West of Spithead GCB DSC PC ADC DUniv

Mike Batt LVO


Kathryn Lewis (Chair)

Harold Sim (Treasurer)

Clare Walker

Kirsty Walker

Phil Sizer

Lesley Balding