Principal Leader and Director

Pamela Bell


My Beginnings

At the tender stage of Grade 5 ABRSM, my Head of Strings, John Gillow, (now violin tutor at The Royal College of Music), memorably said to me, “You can teach technique, but musicianship comes from within.”

I passed all my exams with distinctions and the doors to the world of classical music opened up….it was like a bright ray of sunshine.


It was through my local music service, Newham Music Academy, that I began learning the violin at the age of 11, and where I led my local youth orchestra, performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto in G and won Young Musician of Newham, which included a trip to Disneyland Paris. I took my violin teacher, Rachel Sokolowski, with me and we had a great time!


My Growth

Majoring in performance, I went on to study music, after which I taught the violin and viola at Newham Music Academy, and was soon appointed Musical Director of Newham Schools Orchestra. Teaching taught me that children are like sponges: if you are enthused, so are they. I loved seeing them grow and improve their performances. Music truly is magical - it brings everyone together.


In addition, I performed with the Lawyers’ Orchestra in London and am the founder of Kuumba Youth Music (now Kuumba Youth Orchestra).


I relocated to Bristol in 2005, qualified as a solicitor and now work as Regulatory Counsel for a Bristol based FTSE 30 Company. New to the City, I wanted to keep playing and performing alongside my legal career and from 2010 – 2015, became leader of Bristol Metropolitan Orchestra. During this time, I also organised ensemble and chamber events.


My Future

Music is my sanctuary and, having the opportunity to create and share my passion for it, is truly a privilege and a treasure. All of us at Bristol Symphony Orchestra are so fortunate to have such a gem of an opportunity with William Goodchild as our maestro.


Behind The Scenes

Behind the scenes, I am also responsible for new players' applications to join Bristol Symphony Orchestra, ongoing membership as well as events management. We operate a rotational seating system throughout the whole orchestra (including Guest Leaders from players within the orchestra). This allows different players within the orchestra get to know each other and it also encourages players to improve their personal performance skills. In addition to our main orchestral performances, I organise ensembles and chamber groups for private events (including supporting community events where possible).

I do hope from my bio that you know me a little bit better now, and I very much look forward to meeting you at our concerts.