Our vision is for an orchestra for Dorset that is committed to music-making of the highest quality. We exist primarily for the musician, devising programmes and rehearsal experiences that focus on the pleasure of playing orchestral music.


The orchestra is based in the Bournemouth & Poole area.

What makes us different?


  • Short rehearsal bursts - Three concerts a year with a burst of rehearsals (4-5) beforehand. We think this suits busy musicians best. It also makes it easier for us to book renown conductors and soloists.

  • Top notch conductors - We book professional conductors. We want to use different conductors as we know this provides a really valuable and enriching experience for us as musicians.

  • We want to attract the best local amateur and semi-professional players. This means ultimately we will have to have an entry process for those wishing to join. 

Who are we

Magna Sinfonia is the brainchild of three young music graduates who moved to the area for various reasons and recognised that there is a great tradition of amateur music-making in the area and are saw an opportunity to build on this.
The three became two, but jointly brought a heap of experience playing in orchestras as well as having worked for a professional orchestra and being involved with programming, budgeting, marketing and managing musicians.


Chris Block began his musical career at the age of 7 when his parents forced him to learn the piano. This very quickly ignited a passion for music leading him to also take up the viola and saxophone. Following a rich and full childhood taking part in a huge amount of music-making he went off to University to study theology and music, studying saxophone with Nicholas Rodwell (ROH). After University and following a year out in France he took up a position in North Devon as Assistant Director of Music at a school where he taught students up to 18 alongside continuing to play professionally in a string quartet as part of the regular pit band in the local theatres, Since 2015 he has been working as Participation Coordinator at Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra where his role involved working hard to engage schools across the South West in orchestra music.  In 2017 Chris was appointed head of music at Parkstone Grammar School.
Ben Jennings began learning the violin in September 1998 and in 2005 took up the piano. His enjoyment and enthusiasm for music led him to a successful application for Junior Trinity College of Music when he was 15. There he studied violin under the guidance of Andrew Bernardi and became heavily involved in solo performance, chamber music and the Junior Trinity Symphony Orchestra. Attending the University of Southampton to study BA Music in 2009, he quickly became an established member of the Southampton University Symphony Orchestra and the Southampton University Sinfonietta; the former of which he led 2011 to 2014, and the latter of which he was Vice-President, Assistant Conductor and Leader. After graduating from the university in 2012, Ben decided to take his studies further by continuing at the university studying a MMus in musicology. Following on from this, Ben currently works for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as Participation Administrator, working on community and health & wellbeing projects across the South and South-West of England.