About us

We are a UK not-for-profit company working with international partners to commission, produce and record great music by living composers.

About the company

Established in 2018, we are a small creative company based in Stratford-upon-Avon UK, the birthplace of William Shakespeare.  We are a UK not-for-profit company working with international partners to commission, produce, perform and record great music by living composers.  

Shakespeare Sinfonia Ltd was established by friends with an international outlook and a shared passion for music and we enjoy working collaboratively, sharing ideas and possibilities.  We enjoy it most when our work is built on friendships or leads to new directions and connections and our music projects range from live recordings to online coaching and internet-based creative programmes.  Our collaborators include composers, musicians, academics, universities, festivals and cultural development agencies.  

In current times, international travel is of course difficult, but international projects facilitated by technology are not, and we continue to work with our partners and musicians around the world.

Who We Are

David Curtis –  Director

David is the company’s artistic force.  A conductor, teacher and coach who has worked internationally throughout a long career that has taken him as far afield as Australia, North and South America, the Middle and Far East as well as working extensively in Europe.  He enjoys meeting new people and making great music.

David has had a highly a successful career as viola player in the Coull String Quartet for 30 years and Founder and Artistic Director of Orchestra of the Swan for 20 years.  He has given with over 300 and radio broadcasts, recorded 50 CDs and worked closely with such composing royalty as Sir Michael Tippett and Sir William Walton.  His work as conductor and teacher now takes him to Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and the Far East.  

In demand for both his creative flair and approachable manner, he established Shakespeare Sinfonia in 2018 as a vehicle for international projects of all kinds working with musicians as far afield as the USA, Mexico, South America, Australia, the Philippines and Europe.  In the spare time he has, he is a keen cook and gardener, Francophile and Grandad.

“Curtis is a reassuringly calm yet always encouraging and cajoling presence on the rostrum”

The Gramophone  

“Charismatic, inspiring…a conductor who deserves wider recognition”

Birmingham Post

“A vivid sense of an excellent, up-for-it orchestra and conductor”

BBC Music Magazine

“David Curtis’s conducting, is close to Boult’s, if more intimate, and slightly more perceptive”

The American Record Guide

“Conductor David Curtis, spaciously recorded in Birmingham Town Hall, does the sheer rhetorical sweep of the orchestration full justice”.

International Record Review 

“This is a wholly delightful release.  Tempos are relaxed, phrasing is shapely and there’s clearly a good working relationship between pianist, orchestra and conductor David Curtis”

Classical Source

Susan Chapman – Director

Of British nationality, but resident for 42 years in Mexico, Susan is an independent international performing arts consultant.  From 1996 to 2019 she was Programme Director for Anglo Arts, a member of The Anglo Mexican Foundation A.C. based in Mexico City, a position which offered the unique experience of creating and developing an international multi-disciplinary programme of monthly activities for the Foundation.  

The programme has included outreach and arts educational projects, the creation of an annual national Shakespeare Competition and Shakespeare Festival for schools and the presentation of performing and visual arts projects both in Mexico and the UK, specializing in the foundation of lasting working relationships in the cultural sector most specifically in the area of theatre and classical music.

Between 1983 and 1996 Susan organized and performed with early music groups and was a principal element in the programme for the investigation and presentation of Latin American colonial music. During this time she structured and administered specialized festivals and events as well as tours to many parts of Mexico and the U.S., Latin America, France, Spain and Portugal. 

In January 2005 she was awarded the M.B.E. by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for services to the strengthening of cultural relations between Mexico and the UK.  She has also received awards from the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA), the Festival de México en el Centro Histórico and the Morelia International Music Festival.  

Declan Birchall – Audio Engineer

A graduate of the Royal College of Music, where he studied double bass and composition for screen, Declan has performed with leading UK chamber orchestras, at the BBC Proms and in Europe.  Since leaving RCM he has been a member of the Southbank Sinfonia, before working in the Caribbean, teaching and coaching young people, arranging, performing and composing for computer games.

Declan first joined Shakespeare Sinfonia as co-principal bass, and is now the company’s Audio Engineer, ensuring the highest quality finished sound for our projects.  He is currently studying for a master’s degree in Sound and Music for Interactive Games.

Shakespeare Sinfonia Musicians

The  ensemble  draws  together  a  select  group  of  some  of  the  finest  freelance  players  and  highly  talented  postgraduate  students  from  leading  London  music  conservatoires,  combining  the  merits  of  experience and youth to create performances that are fresh, vibrant and exhilarating.  The players bring this combination of enthusiasm and understanding to their on-line tutoring and coaching programmes.