Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra Blog

New to Sheffield
September 20, 2016, 12:37 pm
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If you are new to Sheffield and are interested in playing with the Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra you should visit our website which can be found in the ‘Links’ section on the left side of the home page.

This blog is now no longer an official organ for the SPO. I have not removed it completely as it is a potential site for redirecting people to our main website.

I plan to rename the blog and use it for publishing my concert programme notes as a useful free resource for other amateur orchestras.



Blog Closing Down
February 5, 2016, 7:48 pm
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It has been pointed out by our committee that the SPO now has an updated website, a Facebook page and a blog. This could give rise to confusion and mixed messages and it has been agreed that the Blog will now close down. Since many people still visit the blog (32,400+ hits so far) we are giving a months notice before we go off-line (in mid March 2016).

I am giving some thought to using the blog as a vehicle to make my programme notes available on-line for anyone who wants to access or use them. The blog would need to change its name in order to reflect that it is no longer on official organ of the orchestra.


New Year
January 8, 2016, 10:59 am
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A very happy new year to everyone. This is a business post! The format for the next term is as follows. Jack Lovell will be conducting us for three rehearsals starting 12th January. We will be playing Rossini: Thieving Magpie, Brahms: Symphony 3 and Tchaikovsky: Symphony 5 (just for fun, though, as a horn player, this all looks pretty painful lip-wise!). After this we can get some comparative feedback on our three candidate MDs.

Harish Shankar (who is not in the running for the permanent MD post as he has other commitments) will then join us as guest conductor for the spring concert. This takes place on March 12th (Victoria Hall) and the programme is going to be Mendelssohn Hebrides Overture, Schumann cello concerto, with Abel Selaocoe as soloist, and Bizet Symphony in C.

Jack Lovell will take the baton for the summer concert (whether selected previously or not). The programme is ambitious and the rehearsal schedule will incude a play day at Cliff college, tentatively proposed for Saturday May 14th with the concert on June 4th in the Victoria Hall. Programme: Bantock ‘The Witch of Atlas’, Sibelius Violin Concerto (soloist Sarah Thornett) and Prokofiev Symphony 5 (!)

George Morton will conduct the “Music in the Gardens” on July 3rd, with the possibility of a follow up concert in Clifton Park on the 10th (watch this space).

Further dates for the diary are:-

12th November 2016- venue Victoria Hall

11th March 2017 – Venue Ecclesall Parish Church (Piano concerto)

3rd June 2017 – Venue Victoria Hall
Happy music making.


Next Concert Date
November 3, 2015, 10:17 pm
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Please note. Our next concert in Ecclesall Parish Church is on Saturday 14th November at 7.30pm. Sibelius: Valse Triste, Beethoven: Piano Concerto 1 (Soloist, Benjamin Frith) and Brahms: Symphony 1. We hope to see lots of people there.

Apologies for the late correction of the date on this blog..

Classical Sheffield
October 31, 2015, 4:02 pm
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It was good to contribute to Classical Sheffield last weekend. I know of no other city that has a more extensive amateur music scene than Sheffield. It almost makes up for the city’s lack of a professional orchestra, not to mention  a decent concert venue! Special thanks are due to Julia Robinson who organised our contribution and to Catherine, Helen and Kath, the soloists in Bach’s 4th Brandenburg Concerto.

wintergardensMany people strolling through the Winter Gardens stopped to listen, and most stayed on till the end. Let’s hope the venture is repeated next year.

September 12, 2015, 2:44 pm
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Welcome to readers of this blog. The SPO is now back in the groove with rehearsals for November’s concert detailed in the rehearsal schedule.

We are often asked about vacancies in the orchestra, especially at this time of year when new students are settling down in Sheffield. Currently, our wind and brass sections are filled, though there are always opportunities to bump and dep (this being a good way to get known). We often need extra percussion players.

String players are welcome to come along to a rehearsal or two to see if we are the right orchestra for you. We are friendly and approachable.

Tom Newall will be conducting the first concert featuring Brahms’ first symphony and Benjamin Frith playing Beethoven’s first piano concerto (only the second concerto left,to do and he will have played them all with us). I also note that, on his web page, the conductor Harish Shankar has the March 12th concert pencilled in, programme to be announced. So watch this space (see updated concert schedule).

The blog could do with a few more contributions so drop me a line on

Here’s to another year of wonderful music making.


New Concert Season
August 31, 2014, 10:21 am
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Welcome back everyone to our new concert season. Our first performance will be on November 8th, which builds on the Richard Strauss theme in this the 150th anniversary  of his birth. In the first half we play two Strauss pieces, Til Eulenspiegl and the Horn concerto number 2 (Soloist, Bob Ashworth). Second half comprises Shostakovitch Symphony 5. (No prizes for guessing what instrument our chairman plays!). The rest of the programme for the year has now been finalised and details appear in the forthcoming concerts section of the blog.

The orchestra is always on the lookout for string players, especially double basses. There are also often opportunities for percussion players. Other sections are reasonably stable at the moment, but if you are new to Sheffield and want to get involved, there may be opportunities for deps or bump players. We are approachable and friendly.

Here’s to a great new season of music making.