Toby Purser’s combination of passion and intellect, structure and freedom, poetry and drama have earned him attention and praise from critics including The Times (“such musical energy”), The Telegraph (“galvanising”), and WhatsOnStage (“scintillating precision”).
Founder and Principal Conductor of the ground-breaking Orion Orchestra, his inspirational music-making has prompted guest invitations from English National Opera (where he just completed two seasons as ENO Mackerras Conducting Fellow), Grange Park Opera, Opera della Luna, Opera National de Paris, St Petersburg Festival Orchestra and many leading British orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic, London Concert Orchestra, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, which he conducted in Jesús León’s debut CD Bel Canto for Opus Arte CD.
For English National Opera, he has conducted The Turn of the Screw (nominated for an Oliver Award in 2019), The Marriage of Figaro and La Traviata. At Grange Park Opera, he has conducted Madama Butterfly, Eugene Onegin, Rigoletto and Fortunio,which was also performed at the Buxton Festival, and with Opera della Luna he conducted The Daughter of the Regiment, Orpheus in the Underworld, the UK premiere of Johann Strauss’s operetta Das Spitzentuch der Königin, and Tales of Offenbach.
Other operatic performances have included Bailey’s The Black Monk for The Sirius Ensemble, Haydn's The Apothecary and La Canterina for Bampton Classical Opera, Hänsel und Gretel and Die Entführung aus dem Serail for British Youth Opera and Le Comte Ory for Chelsea Opera Group. For Pimlico Opera, he has conducted productions in various prisons, with a cast of inmates performing alongside professionals in repertoire include Carmen the Musical, Les Misérables, Sugar, Sister Act, Sweeney Todd and West Side Story.
During 2016 / 2017, Toby Purser assisted Mark Wigglesworth on Luluand Ryan Wigglesworth on The Winter’s Tale at ENO, as well as assisting Edward Gardner on Eugene Onegin at the Opéra national de Paris and Anthony Negus on Tristan und Isolde at Longborough Festival Opera.
Current plans include conducting performances of Orpheus in the Underworld at the Buxton Festival and London’s Bloomsbury Theatre with Opera della Luna, the Orion Orchestra’s on-going Alpha and Omega series at London’s Cadogan Hall, an orchestral residency at Aberystwyth MusicFest, and concerts with the East Anglia Chamber Orchestra, the City of Southampton Orchestra, the London International Orchestra and with both the London and the Manchester Concert Orchestras. Appointed Music Director of New Sussex Opera, he conducted and recorded Stanford’s The Travelling Companion in Autumn 2018.
In 2005 Toby Purser founded the Orion Orchestra, a stepping-stone orchestra for the most talented instrumentalists leaving music college and has developed it into one of London's great orchestral successes, receiving glowing reviews and recognised as a leading organisation for young musicians. Now performing over a dozen concerts per year in all of London’s most prestigious venues, as well as touring with them to Singapore as part of the Shaw Foundation’s ‘Ones to Watch’ Series at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatoire. Together, they have worked with soloists including Nicola Benedetti, Susan Gritton, Tasmin Little, Joanna MacGregor, Alwyn Mellor, Dame Ann Murray, Teo Gheorghiu, Martin Grubinger, Guy Johnston, Jack Liebeck, Julian Lloyd-Webber, Dennis O’Neill, Valeriy Sokolov and Simon Trypceski. Toby Purser initiated a Composers' Prize, a Young Conductors' Award, a Great Young Soloists series and the Alpha & Omega concert series. In April 2019, he conducted his final concert as Artistic Director, and has now been appointed Principal Guest Conductor.
As Artistic Director of the Peace and Prosperity Trust, he has been furthering cultural collaboration between the UK and the Middle East with concerts in Beirut and London, bringing together Western and Middle Eastern opera singers, helping relaunch the Beirut Orpheus Choir, and taking music and musical instruments to Syrian children in the refugee camps on the Lebanese/Syrian border.