Wond’rous Machine is a young, dynamic and unique period instrument orchestra based in London. Taken from Purcell’s great ode to the patron saint of music, Hail, Bright Cecilia, the group’s name, Wond’rous Machine, encapsulates the seventeenth and eighteenth-century awe surrounding the orchestra – a fantastical menagerie of diverse sounds.
Our ambition is to produce innovative historically-informed events rarely attempted today: reconstructions of original concert programmes and opera stagings, exploring the music’s connection with the other arts, and experimenting with performances in venues of the era, including music-halls, theatres, and public gardens.
Our core players are at the forefront of emerging talent in the UK historically informed performance community. We seek to address the challenges faced by young professional musicians by providing a platform of high-level performance experience. We are also committed to engaging with our audiences and sharing the rich and varied historical contexts of music through pre-performance talks, educational opportunities to include workshops and free concert access to local maintained schools.
Joel Sandelson is in his second year studying conducting at the Royal Academy of Music with Sian Edwards, having graduated from Cambridge University in 2016 with a triple-starred first in music.
Recent and forthcoming engagements include concerts with Istante Ensemble, Orchestra of St John’s, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Perseus Ensemble, and a masterclass with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He is especially committed to historical performance both as director and cellist and is the director of Wond’rous Machine, a new, innovative period instrument orchestra focusing on eighteenth-century music, with upcoming engagements at significant venues. In 2013 he founded the Barbican Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble of elite conservatoire students, and has directed them in concerts across London, including successful return engagements at St John’s Smith Square. In Cambridge he was Conducting Scholar of the Cambridge University Music Society for two years after winning the university’s conducting competition twice, and directed many orchestral, choral and operatic projects in the role. He conducted concerts with the university’s flagship symphony orchestra in Cambridge and on tours in Europe in repertoire including Mahler, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. He has assisted conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, Trevor Pinnock, Yan Pascal Tortelier, John Wilson, Richard Farnes, Carlos Izcaray, David Hill and Rory Macdonald.
As a cellist, he has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician, including several recitals at Wigmore Hall and concertos with orchestras in the UK and Europe. Other highlights include appearances at festivals in Europe, Israel and Canada; premieres of solo and chamber works by Lowell Liebermann, Sir Nicholas Jackson and Kamran Ince; a performance of Steve Reich’s cello music in the presence of the composer; chamber collaborations with the Endellion and Celan Quartets; and success in several national competitions, including reaching the strings final of BBC Young Musician. He remains active as a chamber and orchestral musician on both modern and historical cellos.