Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra

Shrewsbury Orchestral Society

Shropshire Magazine

Shropshire Magazine

We're really pleased to have been featured in the March 2013 edition of the Shropshire Magazine who interviewed us about our 125th Anniversary year concert series.


Shropshire Magazine Archive

String Playing Days

Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra String Players

The Society has run annual day workshops for string orchestra directed by Bob Chasey, from the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom the Society has an excellent relationship. The playing days gave string players an opportunity to play works, both well-known and less so, that might not otherwise arise very often. It also, naturally, enables players to focus on the various aspects of orchestral string technique presented in the work(s) studied, in an informal and unthreatening situation without the pressure of a performance.


Bob is a talented and experienced tutor who communicates his enthusiasm in a lively and humorous way. As a professional orchestral violinist he knows at first hand the difficulties that face string players, and an invaluable feature of his coaching is the helpful advice he gives us on how he and his colleagues tackle the music.


No further string days are being planned unless there is a demand. They are open to violin, viola, cello and double bass players of a reasonably competent standard.

Works studied on previous String Playing Days:

2009 TCHAIKOVSKY Serenade for Strings
2008 DVORÁK Serenade for Strings
2007 TIPPETT Concerto for Double String Orchestra and ELGAR Serenade for Strings
2006 BRIDGE Suite for String Orchestra and SUK Serenade for Strings
2005 STRAVINSKY “Apollo Musagetes”
2004 VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and ELGAR Introduction and Allegro for Strings
2003 BLISS Music for Strings
2002 PARRY English Suite and BRITTEN Simple Symphony
2001 TCHAIKOVSKY Serenade for Strings
2000 DVORÁK Serenade for Strings
1999 BEETHOVEN arr. MAHLER String Quartet Op. 131 & Grosse Fuge
1998 (Two-day course for full orchestra) BARTÓK Concerto for Orchestra
1997 DVORÁK Serenade for Strings and BARBER Adagio for Strings
1996 SCHOENBERG “Verklärte Nacht”
1995 TCHAIKOVSKY Serenade for Strings
1994 VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and ELGAR Introduction and Allegro for Strings

Subscribers and Friends

Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra Outdoor Concert

The support of our subscribers is invaluable in providing much needed advanced cashflow, which helps us to meet the ever increasing costs of hiring concert venues, paying soloists, publicity and other expenses.

Subscribers receive a ticket for each of the three concerts in a season and a complimentary programme. Our ‘face value’ ticket price for this season will be £42 and at this year’s Subscriber rate of £36, this provides the benefit of a discount on the full price of tickets for the full season. With your consent, we will print your name in each concert programme.

In addition to the Subscriber we have created a new category - the Friend of the Orchestra. The ‘Friend’ receives the same ticket and programme entitlement plus one additional ticket per season to introduce a friend. At £60, it is designed to provide additional support to the cost of running the orchestra’s activities.

If you would like to become a Subscriber or Friend, or would like further details, please contact the Chairman, John Dempster: click here

The 100 Club

Running an orchestra is an expensive activity. The costs of hiring concert venues, paying soloists and publicity are just three of the expenses that have to be met. The income from ticket sales, players subscriptions and any support from outside sources are simply not enough to cover these costs completely.

Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra Rehearsing


To assist with raising money for the Orchestra, the Shrewsbury Orchestral Society runs a 100 Club. Two draws are held each year, normally in November and May. The cost is £10 per share per year, with a maximum of two shares per member. Half of the income from the proceeds is distributed as three prizes, the other half going to the Society’s funds.


We are keen to attract more members to the 100 Club, because not only does it mean that the Orchestra gets more revenue, but also the prizes are bigger! If you would like to become a member and help boost the Orchestra’s funds, and possibly your own as well, you can obtain further details and an application form from the 100 Club Secretary.

About Shrewsbury Orchestral Society

The Shrewsbury Orchestral Society was founded in 1888, making it one of the country’s oldest non-professional orchestras. An enterprising and forward-looking group of Shrewsbury residents, including local merchants and solicitors, met on a December evening to “establish an orchestral society in the town”. It gave its first public concert 18 months later.

Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra Rehearsing

The orchestra flourished particularly during the thirties and forties and afterwards, and, thanks to both the improved standard of playing and support from local patrons, was regularly engaging top soloists - such names as Solomon, Myra Hess, Heddle Nash, Clifford Curzon, Jelly d’Aranyi, Ida Haendel, Isobel Baillie and Dennis Brain appear in programmes of that time.

More recently, the title “Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra” was adopted as the name for the performing ensemble. This was felt to reflect more accurately the nature of the concerts, which are normally of symphonic and other similar works, rather than shorter pieces, arrangements or “selections”.



Soloists who have appeared with the Orchestra have included a number of talented local players. In addition to these, however, the following have also performed as soloists with the Orchestra:

Clarinet at The AbbeyJennifer Pike

(Elgar Violin Concerto)

Michael Bochmann

(Beethoven - Violin Concerto)

Naomi Harvey

(Strauss – Four Last Songs)

Viv McLean

(Schumann - Piano Concerto in A Minor)

Sam Pearce

(Mozart Horn Concerto)

Tasmin Little

(Brahms Violin Concerto)

Viv McLean

(Grieg Piano Concerto)

David Campbell

(Mozart Clarinet Concerto)

Rhys Watkins

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

Martin Roscoe

(Beethoven Piano Concerto No 1)

Jonathan Price

(Dvorák Cello Concerto)

Ian Bostridge

(Britten Serenade)

Jonathan Ayerst

(Dvorák Piano Concerto)

Stephen Bingham

(Sibelius and Mendelssohn Violin Concertos)

Frances Mason and James Halsey

(Brahms Double Concerto)

Maureen Smith

(Bruch Violin Concerto No 1)