Ron Rappoport is looking for you, if you're a professional musician

Conductor Ron Rappoport is getting ready for one of the highlights of his year - a concert by the North London Philharmonia.

Mr Rappoport is the founder of the twice-yearly concerts, which aim to provide a public platform for unknown professional soloists.

He set up the North London Philharmonia in 1998 following an impressive musical career as a conductor and musical director. Their next gig is on November 28 at St Stephen's Church in Hampstead.

He tells People: "We hope the concerts give the professionals an opportunity that they wouldn't normally get." All of the performers - about 50 of them - do so for free with any proceeds going to charity, in this instance towards the St Stephen restoration and refurbishment trust fund.

Born in South Africa, Mr Rappoport moved to London to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he won several prizes for piano and conducting. He is a former director of an opera company in South London, a former professor of music at the London College of Music and was the choir master at the Belsize Square Synagogue for 14 years. "I wanted to be a conductor at the age of six. To me, standing in front of an orchestra was the greatest thing on earth." And he is certainly looking forward to doing just that later this month. "The orchestra is my baby. I am very proud of it."

    Last updated: 10:22am, November 19 2010