Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra Blog

August 29, 2009, 8:50 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Apologies to visitors to the Blog for the absence of posts over the Summer. I have been pretty busy with the orchestras trip to Sardinia, but this is no real excuse. Over the next few days I will be posting a welcome to potential new players, a comment on the Sardinian trip with an invitation to uplaod photos, an update on concert dates and venues plus the programme for November, and the next in our features on Polish composers linked to a review of our last concert.

Meanwhile, rehearsals start next tuesday, September 1st. Subs will be collected on the door!



2009 underway
February 3, 2009, 10:24 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Once again, apologies for using this discussion forum for a ‘business’ post. It is so convenient.

2009 is well underway and the concert in march with Brahms 4 and Poulenc Stabat Mater looks very exciting.  We are now under the guidance of a ‘new look’ committee including Julia Robinson as secretary, Kath Hathaway as membership secretary and Neil Twist as a co-opted member. Subs can be given to Kath! The treasurer’s post is vacant and, until it is filled, I will act as caretaker.

Once again, we are committed to the Botanic Gardens concert.

Please feel free to comment on posts. If you want to post a new thread, drop me a line and I will tell you how to do it (


Festive greetings
December 20, 2008, 6:42 pm
Filed under: Classical Music, News

Well, that’s it for 2008. I really enjoyed the Christmas concert and the feedback was excellent. Even Pacific 231 had a certain rugged quality, noticeably absent during the dress rehearsal. Many thanks to Martin for keeping up the interest and to our two percussion players who added an extra crucial dimension to the performance. Anyone interested in playing percussion on a regular basis? We would love to hear from you.

It seems that currently no post on the Blog is complete without a rant. How many of you received a ‘PC’ card this year wishing you ‘Winter Greetings’?  Perhaps it is just a variant on ‘compliments of the season’, but I think not. Anyway, rehearsals start on 6th January with a deputy conductor. Ewa will be with us the following week.

Until then we wish everyone a peaceful and happy Christmas.

D n C

Recent Radio Programmes. Ewa Strusinska / Christopher Brown.
December 7, 2008, 10:20 am
Filed under: Classical Music, Links, News

Two radio programmes of interest to SPO bloggers. First, our musical director found herself on Woman’s Hour, magnificently negotiating the feminist agenda. When asked if women can conduct Mahler, the gist of her reply was, ‘You will have to listen to me and make up your own mind’. ‘Why so few women conductors?’ ‘Conducting involves a lot of travel. Women are very busy’. Sadly, she was not asked much about conducting itself. Hopefully we will soon reach the stage when gender matters are of little interest and subordinate to the real issues of musicianship and conducting skills. Ewa certainly seemed to think so.

Last thursday, Radio 3 broadcast two choral pieces by Christopher Brown, (who has previously written music for the SPO),  in celebration of his 65th birthday. First a work from the past: To Musik Sing. A short piece with a spine tingling soprano solo in the slow middle section. Then a setting of some poems by the Scottish poet Henry Marsh. The four songs that make up ‘Sunlight on a Pale Green Ocean’ include a humerous evocation of the poet’s search for a corncrake and a gloriously peaceful representation of Spring in South Uist.  Rush to to hear these pieces on BBC iPlayer. I am not sure how long they will stay available; only a week I think. (I tried today, 20.12.2008 and the link is now down. Sorry).

PS The Cristopher Brown pieces are at the beginning, shortly after a few irrelevant bars of piano music.


Workshops and other playing opportunities.
September 21, 2008, 9:41 am
Filed under: Classical Music, News

At the last rehearsal various leaflets were on offer. For those who did not get them and for visitors who might be interested, here are much edited details.

  International Chamber Music Summer School. Tonbridge. 22 to 29 August 2009. Coached sessions of chamber music for wind and strings in a lovey setting.

 Jackdaws Chamber Music Summer School. Sat 22nd to Thu 27th August 2009. Delme String Quartet plus wind tutors. Workshops in a lovely Somerset venue.

 Contact Natalie or Bridget for more details.


The Year Ahead
September 3, 2008, 12:23 pm
Filed under: Classical Music, Concerts, News

The programme for the rest of the year is more or less finalised. I say ‘more or less’ because there are still a few issues about music hire and additional players (you will understand what I am getting at when you see the programme). I am sure all the problems will be sorted soon, so here it is in all its glory.


1) Szymanowski – Etude for Orchestra

2) Poulenc – Stabat Mater , with Escafeld Chorale

3) Brahms – 4th Symphony


Shostakovich – Festive Overture

Karlowicz – Eternal Songs

Lutoslawski – Dance Preludes (With solo clarinet)

Rachmaninoff – Symphonic Dances

It looks a fantastic programme to me, but do you agree? Surely now is the time to click on that ‘comment’ button. I should say that there is also a move to give ‘Star Song V’ a second performance, but the schedule above looks somewhat congested. Perhaps next year…


New to Sheffield?
August 28, 2008, 4:43 pm
Filed under: Classical Music, Concerts

String players new to Sheffield who want to join an orchestra are welcome to come along to one or two rehearsals to see if we are the right orchestra for you. Rehearsals start on Tuesday 2nd September and subsequent tuesdays at 7.30 pm in the Victoria hall (opposite the Crucible Theatre in the town centre). If you are late, you may need to hammer on the door and dance up and down in the street to attract attention, alternatively phone 07778 240419 and I will gratefully put down my horn and let you in!

You will find us a friendly and enthusiastic bunch. The orchestra is ‘on the way up’ with a great musical director but you won’t be ‘put on the spot’ and you are welcome to come for a drink (or 2) afterwards in the Ruskin and cadge a lift home if necessary. Bring a music stand if possible.

Most brass and wind places are occupied, but we are always on the lookout for extra players in ‘one off’ concerts, also deputies, bumps etc so if you are interested, leave your e-mail address by typing a comment in “contact us” (see panel opposite) or e-mail me ( and I will forward it in the appropriate direction. Percussion players are always in demand and we would love to hear from you, and if you want to play the harp with us you must be an angel.

The SPO is great fun and good value. Do seriously consider contacting us. Read the review of our last concert here.

The orchestra is currently trying to fix up a week of music making in Sardinia, at the end of July 2009.