"Didcot's new symphony orchestra"

Principal sponsor:

ABOUT DIDCOT CONCERT ORCHESTRA

Didcot Concert Orchestra
The continuing expansion of Didcot is bringing more orchestral musicians and ever-larger potential concert audiences to the area. Didcot Concert Orchestra is the first high-quality amateur concert-giving symphony orchestra based in Didcot. It aims to bring together the best players, so participation is by invitation or audition. Professional players have been engaged to lead each string section. Players meet for four rehearsals before each concert. DCO plans to give three concerts per year – every February, May and September.

DCO's repertoire will focus on concert classics from the late-Romantic era, and a key feature will be tuneful, unjustly neglected works from this period – at least one such "rare gem" in each concert. Repertoire suggestions are welcome from players, with the final decision made by the musical director. Concerto and soloist repertoire will be considered subject to platform space in venue and budget.

DCO is not-for-profit, and is underwritten by founders Jackie and Geoff Bushell.

CONDUCTOR

Geoff Bushell, conductor
Geoff Bushell studied conducting with George Hurst, Michael Rose, Denise Ham and Adrian Leaper. As conductor and musical director of Oxford-based St Giles Orchestra since 1983, Geoff has developed its technical and musical capabilities and led it through many new opportunities such as partnerships with local choirs for the performance of Orff's Carmina Burana and Verdi's Requiem in Oxford Town Hall, and recordings including Walton's Crown Imperial March which was broadcast on the BBC One Show. Geoff also regularly conducts Abingdon Symphony Orchestra and Phoenix Flutes. Renowned for introducing players and audiences alike to lesser-known and unjustly neglected romantic repertoire, he has also earned a reputation as a composer of romantic-style pieces, including four commissions from the Abingdon and District Musical Society to celebrate their successive tenth anniversaries. Geoff is also well known locally as a player of French horn and double bass.

LEADER

Kate Bailey, leader
Kate Bailey began her violin studies with Pamela Spofforth at the age of nine, and was an early member of Pro Corda, where she gained a love of chamber music. Whilst reading Music at University College, Oxford, she studied with David Ogden and Emanuel Hurwitz, and then went on to study with Erika Klemperer at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Kate has played in the string quartet OXUS for the last ten years, specializing in approachable contemporary works such as Steve Reich's "Different Trains" and Elvis Costello's "The Juliet Letters". She is also a founder member of The Holywell Ensemble (formed in 1984), a flexible chamber group renowned for its committed and evocative performances of British chamber music on CD and in the concert hall, which was described by the BBC Music Magazine as "one of the most important chamber music groups on the British musical scene."

Kate lives in Oxford, and regularly leads a number of orchestras in the area. She is also a freelance orchestral player and has performed a number of concertos, including Beethoven's Triple Concerto with her colleagues from The Holywell Ensemble, and in March 2018 she will be performing Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante with viola player Heather Birt. When she is not doing something musical, she enjoys photography, writing and trying to learn Turkish.

STRING SECTION LEADERS

OXUS String Quartet
Louise Graham lives in Headington and is a freelance violinist and teacher. She studied under Bela Dekany at the Guildhall School of Music, and plays in various local orchestras, leads the Erato Chamber Orchestra and is a member of OXUS. She teaches privately and for the Oxfordshire County Music Service.

Heather Birt works as a freelance viola player with many period ensembles including Academy of Ancient Music, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, The King's Consort, The English Concert and The Mozartists. Heather has performed in several BBC Promenade concerts and appears on many recordings, including the highly regarded Pachelbel Vespers CD with the Kings Singers. Heather also plays Double Bass in Allen Beechey's Bright Stars of Jazz, and has performed at numerous jazz festivals in Britain and Europe.

Spike Wilson won a choral exhibition to The Queen's College, Oxford, and now leads a busy musical life combining cello-playing in chamber groups (including The Holywell Ensemble and OXUS) and orchestras, with coaching chamber groups and directing several school and youth orchestras. He coaches for the Oxford Cello School and the Oxford Chamber Course and is much in demand as a cello teacher, with many adult and younger pupils.

Our four section leaders are the members of OXUS – an innovative and vibrant string quartet, formed in 2006. They perform music from all eras, but specialise in contemporary repertoire and give regular recitals and workshops in schools and colleges. They frequently work with other performers and media, performing works including Steve Reich's Different Trains with electronics; an original composition by and with jazz guitarist Pete Oxley; and, with actor-singer Nicholas Cass-Beggs, The Juliet Letters by Elvis Costello and The Brodsky Quartet. Performances include appearances at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Oxford Contemporary Music Marathon, and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and they have also enjoyed the challenge of working with artist Pam Foley, composing and improvising, for a project on Chronic Grief, entitled Routes of Sorrow.

HONORARY PRESIDENT

Ed Vaizey, MP
I am delighted that the Didcot Concert Orchestra has been established. Didcot is a vibrant and growing town, and the arts have always been a central part of its life. The concert orchestra fills a gap, and it is very much needed. Music brings great joy to people, and it also plays an important role in our schools and our communities. I wish the Didcot Concert Orchestra every success and I look forward to seeing them perform soon in Didcot – if not at the Proms!   

The Right Honourable Edward Vaizey, MP
Honorary President, Didcot Concert Orchestra

CONTACT

Conductor & Musical Director
Geoff Bushell
Didcot, Oxfordshire
01235 818848
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Geoff Bushell, Conductor and Musical Director, Didcot Concert Orchestra