Many people know an orchestra leader (known in the US and on the Continent as a concertmaster) simply as the violinist who tunes the orchestra and takes a bow at the end of the concert. But there is so much more to the role.

The key task involves enabling the strings to run like a well-oiled machine, freeing the conductor up to focus on musical interpretation. Through eye contact and body movement the leader can help maintain tight ensemble between players. Behind the scenes this includes the thankless job of deciding what bowings each of the string sections should use, bowing the parts and adapting to the bowing quirks of conductors (they all have them!) Good bowing contributes both to achieving good articulation and the musical style appropriate to the music being performed.

In addition to leading, you will also sometimes hear the leader play solos when the works call for it.

Unlike many amateur orchestras in London, Corinthian Chamber Orchestra does not engage a professional violinist to act as its leader but rather chooses leaders from among its ranks.