Dutilleux/Haydn/Rimsky-Korsakov (25.06.16)

Seen and Heard International – “Subtle dynamic gradations, not in the least pedantic, proved as expressive as harmony and orchestration, Sinbad and Prince Kalender coming vividly to life. Glorious string sheen helped no end; much the same might be said for perky woodwind.”

Puccini Il tabarro (01.05.16)

Seen and Heard International – This was a “performance of Puccini’s opera to match what one might hear in the most exalted of houses… Try as I might I could not find anything to fault.”

Michael White – “my ears were opened to its [the opera’s] beauty by this reading – which engaged me more than the considerably grander one I heard not long ago at Covent Garden. Strange but true.”

Mendelssohn/Schoenberg/Clarke/Haydn (15.01.16)

Mark Berry – “a gorgeous orchestral sound was the order of the day.”

MusicOMH – “Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture – a work so familiar that it can be difficult to know what to do with it. But under the Melos’ conductor, artistic director and founder Oliver Zeffman (aged just 23), the orchestra delivered a crisp, clear and rhythmically energetic performance.”

St. Petersburg Tour 3 (November 2015)

St. Petersburg Musical Messenger – “The Melos Sinfonia demonstrated their mastery on the stage of the SPB Philharmonic…Sciarrino’s Lo spazio inverso bewitched, the work’s slow meditative quality placing the audience into a trance.”

Mariinsky Gazette – “Goehr’s Triptych was presented by the Melos Sinfonia, whom our listeners have already fallen in love with.”

Zisser/Mahler/Beethoven (16.10.15)

Mark Berry – “the performance remained mightily impressive, with truly commanding playing and conducting.”

Seen and Heard International – “it was a most impressive, well-conceived performance.”

Debussy/Poulenc/Schubert (25.06.15)

Ham & High (preview) – “The Melos players are all young, fresh out of music college, but hand-picked…And last autumn Zeffman took them to St Petersburg where by all accounts they made a big impression.”

Ham & High – “Another asset this year was the St Jude’s debut of the Melos Sinfonia with their absurdly young but seriously talented conductor Oliver Zeffman.”

Seen and Heard International – “As we heard in a beautifully shaped, finely played performance of Debussy’s Faune, the orchestra is a fine body of young players…and Oliver Zeffman is a sensitive, highly accomplished conductor.”

Rust/Beethoven/Sibelius (10.01.15)

Seen and Heard International – “Conductor and orchestra sounded…at ease and indeed at home in Sibelius’ Seventh Symphony and together they gave an idiomatic and well balanced performance.”

Planet Hugill – “the orchestra was able to relax into the musicality and shaping of phrases that Sibelius’ music needs.”

Sound Ways Festival of New Music, St Petersburg (16.11.14)

St. Petersburg Musical Messenger – “An unbelievable, mad show. Bravo! Bravissimo Melos Sinfonia. Brilliant soloists Charmian Bedford and Sam Pantcheff. Thank you Oliver Zeffman and Sound Ways Festival for leading us down this rabbit hole.”

Facade / Eight Songs for a Mad King (September 2014)

Opera Now ***** – “a highly imaginative and affecting double-bill…faultless in delivery and dramatic emotion and backed by a beautifully schooled seven-piece band conducted by Oliver Zeffman.”

The Arts Desk – “The band of six, excellently led by the understated but authoritative Oliver Zeffman, played with the necessary wit and zing.”

Planet Hugill – “Maxwell Davies’s Eight Songs for a Mad King was frankly stunning.”

Everything Theatre – “the whole production is a vivid and forceful display of talent from the team under director Ella Marchment and conductor Oliver Zeffman.”

Fringe Opera – “The whole evening was slick and provocative…the accompaniment…bubbles energetically underneath thanks to talented musicians from the Melos Sinfonia.”

UK Theatre Network – “An intriguing and challenging production that should not be missed.”

Rachmaninov Aleko (07.07.14)

The Telegraph – “memorable, musical, and put together by someone who not only knew what he wanted but, to an extraordinary degree for his age and experience, knew how to get it.”

Seen and Heard International – “mightily impressive, with a splendid sense of idiom. Zeffman guided the score’s progress wisely: flexible, without a hint of stiffness.”

Planet Hugill – “[they played] Rachaninov’s richly romantic score with a fine style…Zeffman soon had them bringing a lovely sweep to  Rachmaninov’s melodies.”

Fringe Opera – “admirable realisation of an ambitious project. Programming like this makes the Melos Sinfonia a stand-out young ensemble.”

Tchaikovsky/Panufnik/Myaskovsky (31.01.14)

Seen and Heard International – “Phrasing was a joy to hear. [Zeffman’s] gift for disentangling a sometimes complex web of thematic activity through weighting and minute attention to acceleration and deceleration produced telling results.”

Mark Berry – “These are clearly an orchestra and conductor who merit our attention.”

Planet Hugill ***** – “make no mistake – this is a formidable orchestra with a broad, warm sound that only comes from talented people playing as one.”

The Bear goes Walkabout (Summer 2013)

Robert Hugill – “Oliver Zeffman and the Melos Sinfonia were extremely impressive in all three operas, performing with skill and confidence and, in the Ashworth and Walton, not a little wit.”

Broadway Baby **** – “the future of British classical music…expertly accompanied by the Melos Sinfonia under Oliver Zeffman…an evening  of exceptional young musicians playing the music of exceptional young composers.”

Fringe Opera **** – “The accompanying orchestra displayed great musical talent, and conductor Oliver Zeffman was a competent helmsman…This was genuine talent on display, and I was nothing but impressed.”


Interview with Finlay Bain in the Ham & High – January 2013


Interview with Oliver Zeffman in the Ham & High – August 2012


The Impresario (Summer 2012)

Seen and Heard International – “they play with precision and blend very well, with particularly impressive string sound, and [Zeffman] kept the bounce of Mozart’s music going well…Musically speaking, then, they’re a very talented bunch.”

EdFringe Review (editor’s pick of the week) **** – “impressive musical panache and an irrepressible sense of fun… a short, sweet burst of musical and comic delight.”

Opera Scotland – “Both sopranos made light of the difficulties, and the men were excellent…[with] an excellent band of eleven players”.

Fringe Review – “that quintessential Mozart sound”.

Three Weeks – “After a beautiful interlude from the eleven piece orchestra…[the] prima donnas steal the show with their sour-faced rivalry”.

Broadway Baby – “Oliver Zeffman, a young but accomplished conductor, leads a relatively small orchestra of eleven musicians who bounce through the score with confidence, accuracy and, crucially, great sensitivity when accompanying the soloists.”

Laura Peatman –  “you can’t help but be impressed by this über-talented cast.”