Who we are: Oxford Symphony Orchestra is the city's principal non-professional large orchestra. We perform three concerts a year and have a growing following with local audiences. Our concerts, which are programmed to appeal to both players and audiences, feature ambitious, interesting and attractive pieces from the repertoire. They include opportunities to experience larger-scale orchestral masterpieces, some of which are otherwise rarely, if ever, heard in Oxford - see Past Concerts for full details. Our musical director is Robert Max and our leader is the well-known Oxford violinist Mariette Richter.
Soloists: We are fortunate in having opportunities to work with a range of celebrated solo artists, some well-established, others at the start of their careers. Amongst these have been the renowned violist Lawrence Power, versatile pianist Tom Poster the outstanding soprano Rachel Nicholls and the young violinist Mathilde Milwidsky. As orchestral players we gain stimulus from working with these talented musicians and our concerts are all the more enjoyable for players and audiences alike.
Truck Festival 2017: As a new venture in 2017 the orchestra has accepted an invitation to perform a Sunday Afternoon Classics gig at the Rock, Indie and Dance music Truck Festival. Our musical Director Robert Max will take the baton for a 45 minute slot of popular pieces from the movies and the concert hall. The first Truck Festival was in 1998 with profits given to Amnesty International and Helen and Douglas House charities. It continues as a small independent festival, being held this year 21-23 July at Hill Farm OX13 6AB
Blitz Requiem: David Goode's Blitz Requiem was first performed in St Paul's Cathedral, London in 2013 and broadcast by Classic FM. For the Oxford premiere on 21 October 2017 we are delighted to provide the orchestra. David Goode is organist at Eton College. Blitz Requiem is composed to texts by Dr. Francis Warner which draw on his own childhood experiences during the Second World War. It uses the framework of the traditional Latin Mass, but renders the Requiem wholly in English as it speaks for the 'ordinary, decent citizens'.
Joseph Phibbs - New Clarinet Concerto: At our November 2017 concert we are privileged to be performing a new clarinet concerto by Joseph Phibbs with Mark van de Wiel as soloist. Mark will giving the first and second performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Edward Gardner a few days earlier. Joseph Phibbs is described by BBC Music Magazine as 'one of the most successful composers of his generation'. His works have been premiered by some of the world’s leading conductors, including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, Vassily Petrenko, Gianandrea Noseda, and Sakari Oramo.
Education: The orchestra is very pleased to host visits by young people from Oxfordshire schools to rehearsals and tickets to our concerts are free to accompanied young people under 16. We are also delighted to have been able to make music here in Oxford on two occasions with children from the London Music Masters Bridge Project which is committed to enabling opportunity, diversity and excellence in classical music and to inspiring positive change for individuals and communities. See more
Composition Competition: In 2015 we premiered a work commissioned from our Competition winner, Alex Symcox. This project was made possible by the generosity of some members of the orchestra, a grant from the Doris Field Charitable Trust and advice from Sound and Music. Alex's composition may be heard in rehearsal here. More recently Alex has had a short work performed by the New York Philharmonic as part of the ASCAP Hollywood Film Scoring Course. He is now completing a Masters Degree in Composition at New York University's Steinhart School.
Engagements: The orchestra undertakes engagements to perform alongside or to accompany local choirs. In recent seasons we have performed with Swindon Choral Society at Marlborough College, St Birinus School, Didcot, and Abingdon School. Please contact us if you are interested in hiring the orchestra.
Music hire: The orchestra has a library of orchestral parts which are available to other groups on loan or hire. See our Orchestral Library Catalogue [pdf] for further details.