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Leader - Rita French

Rita needs very little introduction in Worthing as she has been part of the local music scene for many years, leading the Worthing Philharmonic since 1982. She also co-leads Southern Pro-Musica. the south's leading professional chamber orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Willcocks, and leads a series of annual children's concerts in Guildford, Chichester, Southampton and Petersfield.

Rita enjoys all aspects of music making, combining a busy orchestral schedule with solo, recital work and chamber music.


Rita has toured Spain and France with a London based chamber ensemble and she leads the Sussex Camerata, described as one of the finest chamber groups in the South of England, who regularly perform in London and the South East. She has featured as soloist in many of the great concertos, including Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy and the famous G minor; Beethoven; Dvorak; Glazunov and Prokofiev plus the Brahms Double and Beethoven Triple Concertos.

Her career has included teaching at an advanced level and she has many former students playing and teaching professionally all over the world.

UPDATE —  Wednesday 9th June 2021

Rita will be retiring at the end of the 2020-21 season, after nearly 40 years in the role and an association with the orchestra going back to the 1960s.  

The WPO is currently in the process of appointing a new professional leader, for the start of the 2022-23 season.