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Helen Harrison, Music Director

We are proud that Helen Harrison started her professional orchestral conducting journey with us at BSO in 2011.

A warm, natural and communicative presence on the podium British conductor Helen Harrison inspires exciting and compelling performances from the artists she collaborates with from orchestras, opera companies and choirs.

Helen is the Music Director and Conductor for the Young Sinfonia, the Royal Northern Sinfonia’s Youth Orchestra at the Sage Gateshead.  She is a 2022/2023 Participant on the flagship programme for Women Conductors run by the Royal Philharmonic in partnership with the Royal Northern Sinfonia.  She currently holds Music Director positions with the award-winning Blackpool Symphony Orchestra, Preston Opera and Lytham Choral.

Highlights of Helen’s recent guest conducting include the Royal Northern Sinfonia premiering ‘In the Swamp by the Light of the Moon’ and conducting ‘The Snowman’ live to film and their ‘In Harmony NE 10th Birthday Side by Side Celebration Concert, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, various concerts and events with Sinfonia Viva, Leeds Conservatoire, Northern Opera Group and Outreach Opera.  She regularly guest conducts and leads workshops for non-professional ensembles including Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra, Cobweb Orchestra and many others.

Helen is equally at home in the pit and her productions include La Boheme, Carmen, Macbeth, Norma, The Merry Widow, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Don Giovanni, In the Heights and West Side Story.  

Helen read Music at Cambridge University and studied Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music.  She is coached and mentored by Jessica Cottis. 


Selected for the inaugural Women Conductors Course in September 2018 run by the Royal Opera House, the Royal Philharmonic Society and the National Opera Studio Helen has subsequently taken part in a range of courses run by the Royal Opera House working with Sian Edwards, Alice Farnham and Jessica Cottis.  She has also conducted in International Masterclasses held at the RNCM.

As a comprehensive school student brought up in Lancashire in the North of England Helen is passionate about everyone having access to the life changing opportunities that music can bring and alongside her own work serves as a board member for Orchestras Live to bring world class orchestras to new audiences.

​Helen has established a reputation as an engaging communicator.  She is a skilled presenter and compere of concerts.  Off the concert platform, she is an experienced panellist both as a host and a guest for live and online events; most recently she appeared on a panel for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Women’s Euros 2022 cultural events.  Helen is a regular podcast contributor to the Operacast podcast covering the latest opera news, reviews and discussion from the world of opera.


January 2023

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