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

Graham Walker to perform Elgar's Cello Concerto

18th century wreckers picture with concert details

After a stunning concert at the castle this summer, Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra returns this autumn with a new programme featuring award-winning cellist Graham Walker as soloist playing Elgar’s Cello Concerto.  

The orchestra’s November 17th concert at Christ Church in Bayston Hill (7.30pm) will include the Wreckers Overture, by Dame Ethel Smyth, Brahms’ Symphony no. 2. 

Graham’s parents Gay and Richard have been members of the orchestra for many years and are delighted to be able to play alongside their famous son in their home town!

Graham is Director of Music at Magdalene College, Cambridge, Director of St John's Voices at St John's College, Cambridge and Musical Director of the New Cambridge Singers.

He studied mathematics as a Choral Scholar at St John’s College Cambridge and was awarded a scholarship and bursary to study cello as a postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Graham went on to give his debuts on BBC Radio 3 and at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and has performed as a solo and chamber cellist across Europe and North and South America.

His first recording as a choral conductor, made in 1999, featured the music of Jean Mouton, a 16th-century Flemish composer, much of whose music was being recorded for the first time.

Graham has recorded, variously as a cellist, singer and conductor, for Nimbus, Naxos, Chandos and EMI: his most recent recording for Chandos (Hear my Words, with the choir of St John’s College, Cambridge) is regularly to be heard on UK radio stations, and his third album with his Latin-American group Classico Latino (Journey Through Latin America), which was pre-selected for the Latin Grammys in 2013. 

With the group he has toured South America on several occasions, and in 2011 he was awarded a plaque live on Colombian national television in recognition of his “outstanding contribution to Colombian Andean music”.


Tickets for the Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra Concert at Christ Church, Bayston Hill on Wednesday, November 17th, 2021 at 7.30pm cost £15 or £2 for children, available from TicketSource


Kindly sponsored by Nuffield Health

Nuffield Health logo

Zoe Beyers to perform Sibelius Violin Concerto

Zoe Beyers to perform Sibelius Violin ConcertoONE of the UK’s most versatile violinists has agreed to perform the Sibelius violin concerto with Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra in March.

South-African born Zoë Beyers, who now lives in Shrewsbury, performs as soloist, chamber musician, director and orchestral leader across the world. She recently recorded and filmed Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for Sky Arts.

Zoë will be performing Sibelius’ violin concerto with the SSO on March 28 at 7.30pm. The concerto, in D minor, was written in 1904 and is Sibelius’ only concerto. It is notoriously difficult for the solo violin, containing virtuoso sections of extaordinary technical difficulty. The third movement is widely considered one of the greatest concerto movements written for the instrument.

Zoë said: "I’m very excited to play the Sibelius Concerto with the SSO. No other concerto for the violin manages to combine traditional folk fiddle music with technical virtuosity quite as successfully as this one - but the fireworks never get in the way of the music. It’s more of a symphony for violin and orchestra, full of colour and emotion."

Since her solo debut aged eleven with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under Paavo Järvi, Zoë has performed with many distinguished conductors throughout Europe and Africa. Recent highlights include Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ A Spell for Green Corn, Sibelius and Korngold concerti with the Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra, Prokofiev’s 2nd Violin concerto and the Walton concerto with the Corinthian Chamber Orchestra and Michael Seal, and Milhaud’s Cinema Fantaise on Le Boef sur le Toit with the English Symphony Orchestra.

Zoë is the violinist of the internationally renowned Hebrides Ensemble, and also performs, broadcasts and records with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group the Scottish Ensemble, and I Musicanti. She has collaborated with Francois Leleux, Stephen Osborne, Lars Vogt, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Alexander Janiczek, and composers Helen Grime, Oliver Knussen, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Sir James Macmillan. Her 2017 recording of Maxwell Davies’s late chamber works with the Hebrides Ensemble, entitled The Last Island (for Delphian), has been featured on BBC Radio 3 and attracted top ranking reviews in The Times, The Guardian and BBC Music Magazine. In 2018 Zoë will tour Israel with the Nash Ensemble and record a disc of Scottish composer Nigel Osborne’s chamber works with the Hebrides Ensemble.  

The 2017/2018 season sees Zoë performing with the English Symphony Orchestra both as their newly appointed concertmaster and as a director and soloist. Zoë relishes the challenge of directing from the violin: her recording of early Mendelssohn concerti with the University of Stellenbosch Camerata was nominated for a SAMA award in 2011; her 2013 recording of Wassenaer concerti armonici (directing the Innovation Chamber Ensemble for Somm Records) was Classic FM’s CD of the week, and their 2014 disc of rare Elgar works was received with critical acclaim.

As an orchestral leader, Zoë performs regularly with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonicand Symphony Orchestras, the Philharmonia, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Aurora Orchestra.  She has played as leader on several highly regarded recordings with Andris Nelsons, Juano Mena and John Storgards, most recently on discs of de Falla and Ginastera with Mena and the BBC Philharmonic for Chandos.  She is dedicated to performing the music of contemporary composers and is involved in the commissioning and premiering of several new works.

Spring 2018 Member News

Term starts back on 9th January 2018 in the Alington Hall at 7.15pm
13th February (no rehearsal)
Extra rehearsal Monday 26th
Dress rehearsal 27th March 7-10pm
Concert 28th March 7.30pm Clayton Hall, SCAT

Schubert’s overture in the Italian Style
Sibelius Violin Concert with Zoë Beyers
Dvorak 7th Symphony

Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra welcomes Alex Postlethwaite as guest leader

Alex Postlethwaite

Alex Postlethwaite is a freelance violinist based in the West Midlands. He is in much demand as orchestral leader, chamber musician, soloist and recording artist having worked with top chart acts, including appearances on Top of the Pops, BBC, Channel 4, and French channel TF1.


Musically one of his passions is modern and contemporary music. For ten years he ran and led the Richmond Chamber Symphony, a group dedicated to playing the chamber orchestra music of the Twentieth Century, with whom he performed Schnittke’s 3rd Violin Concerto and Kaija Saariaho’s Nocturne as soloist. Alex leads the Alexandria Ensemble whose recent concert performances include Martinu’s Piano Trio, John McCabe Musica notturno, and Schnittke Moz-Art.


He also plays with the Blaze Ensemble performing chamber recitals around London including St James, Piccadilly and St.Martin-in-the-fields. His favourite place is in the depths of an opera pit and leads many operatic groups including Park Opera, Guildford Opera, Windsor and Eton, and touring around stately homes in the UK with Candlelight Opera Company. He was also guest leader with the London Shostakovich Orchestra in 2015 and more recently in the West Midlands he has lead the British Police Symphony Orchestra.


In 2008 he was fortunate to be asked to lead “Toccata”, a charitable touring musical production company; with them he has toured Zambia, India, Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland and Kenya playing dozens of shows and raising money for a number of charities in those countries.


As a soloist, he has performed concerti by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Schnittke, Bartok, Ravel, Szymanowski, Vivaldi, Mozart (including the Sinfonia Concertante with his wife Jane) and the Beethoven Triple with fellow members of the Toccata band – a far cry from the ‘cheese’ of Broadway and pop music from the seventies and eighties! Hobbies include staying up late with his telescope (amateur astronomy), staying active (containing three youngish children) and mashing malt (brewing beer). His violin is a 1732 copy of a Guarneri which he calls Kylie.


Recent groups leading:
British Police Symphony Orchestra
Bearwood Opera
Dorking Philharmonia
London Shostakovich Orchestra
Blaze Ensemble
Epsom Light Opera
Park Opera
Guildford Opera
Maidenhead Operatic Soc.
Windsor and EToN Opera
South East London Orchestra (as dep)
Sainsbury Singers (annual shows)
Epsom College Choral Society
Thames Philharmonia

Vincent Barrella to perform Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2


Vincent Barrella


Anglo-Italian pianist Vincent Barrella studied at the Royal Academy of Music before embarking upon a busy soloist and teaching career. In recognition for services to music and for his outstanding concert work, especially with young musicians, he was awarded the prestigious ARAM, Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2001, one of the highest awards for former students.


He has appeared as official accompanist in many masterclasses and in recitals at the BBC (Radio 3 Live), Radio Kent, Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, St John’s Smith Square, Meridian TV and BBC Young Musician of the Year (televised rounds).


His solo work has included appearances with the London Philharmonic (Alfriston Festival 2009), Tonbridge Philharmonic Orchestra, Kent County Youth Orchestra and Dartford Symphony Orchestra, as well as professional recordings for television (Poirot, 2013).


He is the current head of keyboard studies at Highgate School, London and a visiting piano teacher at Tonbridge School. He was elected to be a member of the Examiners Panel for ABRSM in 2004 and has served as lead judge for the Finals of the Rotary Club ‘Young Musician of the Year’.