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 recently won the Salzburg Festival’s prestigious Herbert von Karajan Young Conductors Award in August 2021 after a final concert with the Camerata Salzburg. As a result, he will return to conduct a concert with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra at next year’s festival. He has also been selected as a winner designate of the inaugural International Conducting Competition Rotterdam and will work with several major orchestras in the Netherlands in 2022, including the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. He previously won third prize at the Siemens-Hallé International Conductors Competition 2020.
Joel recently completed two years as Assistant Conductor to Thomas Dausgaard at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Leverhulme Conducting Fellow at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He is founder and director of the London-based period instrument orchestra Wond’rous Machine, with whom he has made recent debuts at the Southbank Centre and St John’s Smith Square. He has worked with orchestras including the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Hallé, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra of St John’s. He has assisted conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, Trevor Pinnock and Yan Pascal Tortelier.
Sandelson graduated from Cambridge University in 2016 with a double starred First in music and went on to study conducting at the Royal Academy of Music with Sian Edwards, gaining the DipRAM prize. At Cambridge he won first prize in the Cambridge University Conducting Competition in 2014 and 2015, and conducted concerts in Cambridge and on tours in Europe as the university’s Conducting Scholar. He has studied at Tanglewood as well as in masterclasses with Sir Roger Norrington, Martyn Brabbins, Thomas Søndergård, Joseph Swensen, Jorma Panula and Mark Stringer. Originally a cellist, early highlights included solo recitals at Wigmore Hall and concertos with orchestras in the UK and Europe, as well as performing as a chamber musician and baroque cellist with ensembles including the Endellion Quartet, La Serenissima and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.