About Us

The Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra is a unique, premier community orchestra in regional Australia.  The orchestra has been delighting musical audience in the Gold Coast – Tweed region since the early 1990s.  Over the years, the NRSO has performed a range of concerts from chamber ensembles to full-scale ballet productions.  Guest artists who have appeared with the NRSO include pianist Simon Tedeschi, harpist Sebastien Lipman, tenor Yu Jixing, soprano Rosemary Arthars, cellist Louise King, violinist Warwick Adeney, trumpeter John Coulton, as well as Gold Coast City Ballet and many others.

The NRSO was founded by Barry Singh, who was its Chief Conductor and Artistic Director until 2012.  Son of a local Indian banana farmer, music was not an encouraged part of his childhood, but Barry always had a wish to conduct his own orchestra one day.  With determination, Barry studied violin through high school and continued his musical education at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.  Although Barry was forced to return home after the death of his father, he kept his passion for music alive by teaching violin and viola and pursuing his vision of an orchestra.  In October 1993, that dream became a reality. From its original 18 members, the NRSO now draws as many as 60 players from as far afield as Lismore, Brisbane and Toowoomba, and adopted its current name in 1999.

The journey of Mr Barry Singh and the NRSO, from its humble beginnings to its glorious performance at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in 2004, was so extraordinary that it featured twice in the ABC’s award-winning program, Australian Story (“Mr Singh’s Opus”, 26th July 2004, and “A Night Like This”, 3rd October 2005).

Since 2012, the NRSO has welcomed several other accomplished conductors including Warwick Potter, Spiros Rantos, Nicholas Routley, Chen Yang, Barrie Gott, Nathan Aspinall, and the late John Curro. 

Our current Principal Conductor and Musical Director is prize-winning conductor Marco Bellasi.  A dual citizen of Italy and Australia, Marco graduated in conducting from Milan Conservatoire ‘Giuseppe Verdi’ in 2007 and went on to graduate from Masters in Conducting with distinction from the Royal Northern College of London in  Manchester in 2012.  He has worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Ensemble 10/10, the official chamber orchestra of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.  Having relocated to the Tweed/Gold Coast region since 2020, he is now also a regular conductor for the Gold Coast Chamber Orchestra and the Coolamon Singers choir.