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About Us

Crowthorne Symphony Orchestra has developed under the leadership of Music Director Robert Roscoe to be an exciting place to play, with a seasonal programme of interesting – if challenging! – concerts and workshops. The orchestra is gaining an excellent reputation locally for both players and audience, with 50+ orchestra members regularly attending rehearsals, and usually a near-capacity audience for our concerts.

Originally formed as Crowthorne Orchestra in 1991 by a group of players who’d met at an evening class at South Hill Park Arts Centre, the orchestra has developed into a full Symphony Orchestra which is reflected in our change of name to CSO. Our first Musical Director was Anthony Davie who held the post for 9 years, with Robert Roscoe joining us in 2007. Gwyn Parry-Jones took over as Music Director during 2007/8 while Robert briefly relocated to Manchester to take up a teaching position at Chetham’s School of Music.

We present three main concerts a year at Wellington College (see our Previous Concerts page for details), and a Christmas Concert at St John’s Church in Crowthorne. At Wellington we are fortunate to be able to play in The Old Gym (which was originally just that) as its high ceiling and chandeliers make it an ideal concert venue with a good acoustic. Robert programmes a wide range of music, pushing us gently to challenge ourselves, develop and explore the repertoire from Shostakovich's 5th Symphony, Dvorak’s New World to Gershwin’s American in Paris.

We are delighted to welcome established and rising star soloists to join us at our main concerts – including in the past few years baritone Richard Bannen (Mahler, Kindertotenlieder), Principal First Violin with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra Sarah Sew (Bruch Violin Concerto) and BBC Young Musician category finalist Dominic Degavino (Grieg Piano Concerto). We collaborated with Yateley Choral Society in a successful concert “A Night at the Opera”.

CSO is dedicated to developing the musical abilities, experience and enjoyment of its members. As well as the concert programme we hold an annual String Workshop in May (open to all competent players, not just orchestra members) to explore the wonderful string repertoire. Recently we organised our first chamber music day which proved popular, and this idea will be developed for further events.

The Orchestra has about 55 regular playing members who make music for enjoyment’s sake, and we are proud of our friendly and welcoming reputation. Rehearsals are of course taken seriously and the music we play now requires approximately Grade 8 standard for strings, and Grade 8 + for wind players. Please check our Join Us page if you are interested in vacancies. The Orchestra is self-funding, and we exist comfortably on income from subscriptions, concert and workshop takings (concessions are available for students and in other exceptional circumstances). A committee of orchestra members take care of all the essential roles needed to run a successful group.

 



robert

Robert Roscoe is our Music Director who joined us in 2007. Click here for a full biography.

Joanna Lavender is the Leader of the Orchestra. Click here for her biography.

The Crowthorne Symphony Orchestra is a registered charity (no. 1110231).