Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra Blog

Unprecedented viola news
February 18, 2007, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Classical Music, Concerts, Uncategorized

The SPO violas


The SPO viola section is very special. We amaze our colleagues in the orchestra who have been used to seeing maybe two or three players, sawing away for dear life but virtually unheard. In fact the section was reduced to one stalwart player a few years ago. Now, in 2007, we are the largest viola section in any amateur orchestra in Sheffield and at last the SPO has a full section in its midst.


We hope they like our rich tone –  we aim for quality in our sound as well as quantity. We are all prepared to have a go at the music, and when we inevitably play some wrong notes at times we try not to let it upset the spirit of our music making.


We are very proud of our eleven players (we can even call on a twelfth if needed). To help keep the orchestral balance right, one of our viola players has been lent to the second violins temporarily.


We are not glued to our chairs for eternity but, apart from the section leader, move to different positions at the start of rehearsal sessions for each new concert. After all, the hardest place to play is at the back of a large section, so why should any of us be there all the time? I don’t think we feel the need of a hierarchy. Congratulations to the current viola section of the SPO.




Ewa Strusinska appointed as new musical director.
February 1, 2007, 5:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It is with considerable relief that we were able to announce this week the appointment of the next musical director of the orchestra. In a performance that made the announcement of the last person to be eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing seem unduly hurried, Geoff confirmed that  Ewa Strusinska will take over in September after John Pearson’s final concert in Doncaster. Ewa’s credentials are impressive and a brief cv has been posted on the new website. She is studying under Mark Elder at the Royal Northern College where she has a fellowship and I wouldn’t be surprised if she features in the Proms during the next 2 or 3 years. We were very flattered to have attracted such a strong field for this post. One of her first tasks will be to start working on next year’s programme which is always good fun, if sometimes a shade contentious. In any event, a new face will be appearing on the Sheffield music scene and I anticipate her making a major impact.

Elsewhere there are intimations that the long term future of our rehearsal venue might be in jeopardy. If anyone knows of a suitable room or hall where 60+ untidy musicians can spread out once a week, please post a comment.


What’s on in Sheffield
October 27, 2006, 10:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

For those who have not yet come across it, Calow’s Classics web site is a great source of information about the Sheffield concert scene. It also give a very good insight into the repertoire of the various amateur orchestras and choirs in the city which might be of interest to those looking to join up. The address is here and in the ‘Links’.


Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra & Gordon Giltrap at The Birmingham Symphony Hall
October 26, 2006, 11:21 pm
Filed under: News, Uncategorized

Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra & Gordon Giltrap performing ‘Work’ from the Brotherhood Suite by Gordon Giltrap (, taken from the DVD of the concert at Birmingham Symphony Hall, March 2005, available from