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Music Director: Robert Roscoe
Leader: Mike Jessop

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We are an amateur orchestra based in Crowthorne, Berkshire, and have attracted our membership from Bracknell, Wokingham, Camberley, Ascot, Reading, and as far afield as Maidenhead, Aldershot, Newbury, Woking, Guildford and Andover. We are an enthusiastic, friendly group who make music for enjoyment’s sake, but who take rehearsals, practice and concerts seriously. Players are of all ages and come from all walks of life.

Our Director of Music is Robert Roscoe, who joined us in 2007. Under Robert’s leadership, the Orchestra has performed varied and challenging programmes including popular classics as well as less well-known pieces. We regularly invite soloists to join us.

Why don’t you come along to our next concert? If you are a competent player (even if you haven't played for a while and would like to get back to it) and would like to join us, or would just like to know more about the Orchestra then please browse this site or get in touch.


Strings Workshop 2024
31 players enjoyed a fabulous Strings Workshop conducted by Susie Henwood who gave us a very varied programme ranging from the finale from Tchaikovsky's Serenade to the Prelude from Psycho! We also played Penderecki's baroque "Drei Stücke im alten stil" which none of us were familiar with - Robert had heard and liked it and bought the music - and William Lloyd Weber's Romance. We always welcome visiting players to the workshop, as well as our regular strings, as it's a rare treat to have the opportunity to explore the string repertoire. Thanks to Susie for a wonderful afternoon!

spring concert 24 EB Book by May 19th and Save £2 per Ticket with Earlybird!

Don't miss out on our Earlybird tickets offer - there's an automatic £2 discount on all tickets booked by May 19th! It's a fabulous programme of British music with Elgar’s Symphony No.1, Dame Ethel Smyth's opera The Wreckers, and Frank Bridge's 1908 Dance Rhapsody. The concert is on Saturday July 6th at All Saints Church, Wokingham. CSO’s first two concerts at All Saints enjoyed near capacity audiences and this programme is bound to appeal. Ticket link below - £13 Earlybird, £15 from May 20th, aged 18 & under free.

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spring concert 24 Malvern Artist’s Painting is our Elgar Poster
Malvern artist Antony Bridge’s atmospheric painting “Malvern Hills Pink Sky” is the eye-catching poster for our summer concert which features Elgar’s Symphony No.1. Graphic designer and CSO viola Hilly Beavan tells the story: “I was looking for an artistic Malvern image for Elgar when I discovered Antony Bridge’s website, and was captivated by his unique and modern take on the iconic landscape. I wrote to him (with fingers very firmly crossed!) for permission to use the painting, and he not only agreed but told me he knew Elgar’s work well as he’d been National Trust artist in residence at Croome for 4-5 years and had had a solo show at the Elgar birthplace. He’s currently painting the Elgar route by bike. Seemed like synchronicity!” Antony Bridge’s work is exhibited and collected worldwide, and you can see more paintings at www.antonybridge.co.uk as well as on Facebook and Instagram. We are really grateful to him for allowing us to use the painting - as he says, music and art combine well together. Oh and he told us that the pink sky in the painting is the result of a Sahara sandstorm!

Booking is now open for the summer concert, with an Earlybird discount of £2 per ticket when booked by May 19th. Along with Elgar’s Symphony No.1 the programme includes the overture to Dame Ethel Smyth's opera The Wreckers, based on tales of ships lured onto remote Cornish coasts to plunder their cargoes, and Frank Bridge's 1908 Dance Rhapsody with its contrasting dance modes. The concert is on Saturday July 6th at All Saints Church, Wokingham.

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Full House for Spring Concert!
spring concert 24 “The whole atmosphere was really buzzing last night", “Very enjoyable concert with Elizaveta Tyun in scintillating form in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto”, “I wanted to congratulate you on the excellent Job which I enjoyed immensely - what a great work….the performance was immaculate from all quarters…great brass and percussion and the 1st violins sounded fantastic - solo was beautiful”, “We enjoyed the conductor’s introductions to the music”, “My guests thought it was a fabulous concert”.

Thank you everyone for coming and for your positive comments! Hope to see you at the next concert in July.

Photos: Les Bradford

Booking Opens for May Strings Workshop
Come and enjoy an afternoon with Crowthorne Symphony Orchestra strings conducted by Susie Henwood. Music to be selected from Finale of the Dvorak Serenade, Elgar Serenade for Strings, Romance by William Lloyd Webber, Penderecki ‘Drei Stücke im alten Stil’ and Prelude from Psycho! All competent string players welcome, you don't need to be a member of the orchestra to play. We've split the tickets into sections to keep an eye on balance, if a section is full please join the waiting list as we'd be happy to expand the group if we get the right numbers of instruments. Please tell your string player friends!

£12 - tea and cake included - please book your place online via the link below.

Oaklands Junior School, Butler Road, Crowthorne RG45 6QZsee Google map.

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Christmas concert 23 Family Christmas Concert
Our traditional afternoon Christmas Concert on Saturday 9th December will be in the beautiful setting of Crowthorne's St John the Baptist Church, as it always has been! It's a really lovely way to start the festive season with a programme of Christmas themed music and family favourites along with carols for everyone to join in. Bring the whole family - adult tickets are £10 while tickets for young people (18 and under) are free! We usually invite some of our younger audience members to try their hand at conducting the orchestra which is quite an experience and a lot of fun! The concert starts at 4.30pm til about 6, with an interval for tea and cakes. Saturday 9th December, 4.30pm at St John the Baptist Church, Waterloo Road, Crowthorne. Tickets online from the link below and on the door (subject to availability).

Autumn concert 23 Dvorak's New World, Verdi and Poulenc
open our new season in Wokingham

CSO's new season programme for 2023-24 is an exciting mix of some of the best loved works in the orchestral repertoire, along with less well-known music from familiar names plus an introduction to composers who are new to most of us. Full details are on the concert page, and highlights later in the season include the return of soloist Elizaveta Tyun with the Beethoven Violin Concerto in March (tickets are sure to be in high demand) and Ethel Smyth's "The Wreckers" Overture in the summer. But firstly in November we arrive in Wokingham with a fabulous programme: Verdi's stirring La Forza del Destino, the Poulenc Piano Concerto with soloist Daniel King Smith, and Dvorak's Symphony No 9, From The New World. The concert is on Saturday November 25th at All Saints Church, Wiltshire Road, Wokingham RG40 1TN, starting at 7.30pm. Tickets are £15 via the link below, and our new EarlyBird discount gives you £2 off tickets for this concert if bought by 8th October. Aged 18 and under free.

CSO Concerts Move to Wokingham

The November concert will be the first in our new concert venue – All Saints Church in the centre of Wokingham, which has just reopened after a £1.3m refurbishment to create a community facility and a venue for arts and educational events. We are very grateful to Wellington College for hosting us at The Old Gym for many years, and have enjoyed some truly memorable concerts there, but (and it's a positive reason really!) we have outgrown the space. We have been looking for some time for a new venue, not only to accommodate larger audiences (and to offer people a less crowded interval) but to gain more space on stage allowing us more opportunities for programming. Of course we really hope that our loyal Crowthorne audience will join us for concerts in Wokingham – All Saints is in the town centre with the nearest parking just a couple of minutes away in the Easthampstead Road (East) car park (see Google map), while the church is about 15 minutes walk from Wokingham station. Please let friends in Wokingham know – ideally please encourage them to join our mailing list (link on this page) so they can be kept up to date with CSO news. Our teatime family Christmas concert will be held in Crowthorne at St John's as usual – the mix of seasonal music and carols is a much anticipated and enjoyed part of the run-up to Christmas for many people, including the orchestra! This year's CSO Christmas concert is at 4.30pm on Saturday 9th December, tickets are on sale now via the link in the story below.

Orchestra photo: Les Bradford | Exterior photo: Michael Ford CC

Summer concert 23 Engaging programme of well-known and less familiar music for our Summer Concert
Crowthorne Symphony Orchestra's Summer Concert on July 1st featured two very well known composers, and the less familiar British name of George Lloyd. Beethoven's Overture Leonore No.3 - the third of 4 versions written as possible overtures for Fidelio, but judged too dramatic for the opera - opens the concert, followed by one of Dvorak's symphonic poems based on Czech folk tales, The Golden Spinning Wheel (rather a gruesome story but wonderful music!). George Lloyd's 5th Symphony was written in 1947 when the composer was staying near Lake Geneva (hence our poster image) recovering from serious wartime injuries. The music is appealing and accessible – The New York Times commenting "The musical language is engaging, the moods of the five movements range from "Pastorale" to "Lamento," and the orchestration is colorful, often luscious". George Lloyd's music is gaining a wider audience, and he has been featured twice on Radio 3 as Composer of the Week.

Strings Workshop
We had a most enjoyable afternoon at the Strings Workshop on a sunny Saturday in May, with Susie Henwood conducting 35 players through Karl Jenkins' Palladio and Por Una Cabeza by Gardel. It was good to welcome visiting players, including some from the Reading Youth Orchestra, as well as many of our regular strings. The CSO Strings Workshop is always a fun event, it's a great opportunity to explore the string repertoire and we definitely earn our tea and homemade cake in the break!

Enthusiastic Reception for March Concert
The capacity audience in The Old Gym cheered loudly as The Pines of Rome concluded a very successful concert, clearly captivated by the triumphant march along the Via Appia which ends the music. It was a really engaging programme - our soloist Emmanuel Bach gave a breathtaking performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto while Walton's Spitfire Prelude and Fugue worked its magic conjuring up images of the film it was originally written for. A little-known but tuneful overture by Vaughan Williams - The Poisoned Kiss - completed the programme. Several outstanding orchestral solos contributed to a really memorable evening, with one audience member telling us that CSO had never sounded better!

March concert 23
Many thanks to Les Bradford for concert photos

Family Christmas Concert
We had a wonderful afternoon at St John's for our Christmas Concert! It was great to see so many people in the audience, including lots of families with children, and there was some beautiful singing in the carols. We were delighted to once again invite the children to have a go at conducting the orchestra for our finale, Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride, and there were quite a few volunteers who all rose brilliantly to the challenge! CSO has been presenting family Christmas concerts for more than 12 years now and it's become quite a Crowthorne Christmas tradition. Many thanks to St John's for having us, it's the perfect setting to enjoy music for the festive season.

Photo: Sarah Barrett

Atmospheric Music Captivates Autumn Concert Audience Autumn concert 22
We were delighted to welcome a near capacity audience to enjoy an evening of wonderfully atmospheric works with Britten and Bridge conjuring up the many moods of the sea, and Vaughan Williams' much loved London Symphony. The Bridge in particular is not often played so it was a rare opportunity to hear this work by Britten's teacher, followed by Britten's Sea Interludes which were originally written for the opera Peter Grimes. As part of events marking 150 years since Ralph Vaughan Williams' birth Robert had programmed the wonderful London Symphony for the second half of the concert, and he announced that our March concert will include RVW's overture to The Poisoned Kiss.

Emotional Tchaikovsky Pathétique in a Concert of Two Different Characters! Summer concert 22
What an amazing evening the Summer Concert was for everyone - the Tchaikovsky stirs up all sorts of emotions and got a very warm reception (with loud cheers!) from the audience, while several players admitted to having a tear in the eye by the end. As Robert said in his introduction, it was a concert of two distinct halves - the first being tuneful and entertaining with Humperdinck's popular Hansel & Gretel Overture, followed by the Gounod Ballet Music from Faust. These had been programmed by Robert as less challenging to play which allowed us to spend the majority of rehearsals concentrating on the Tchaikovsky, which certainly paid off. It was an extraordinary experience to be part of, and one that we will remember for a very long time.

Photo: Les Bradford

Elizaveta Tyun Plays Bruch Concerto at
our Spring Concert
Spring concert 22
Our 2022 concert programme starts with the return of soloist Elizaveta Tyun who has thrilled us with her performances of the Britten, Tchaikovsky and Brahms Violin Concertos. For our March concert she will be playing the Bruch, and this is definitely going to be a concert where you'll want to book early - Elizaveta is a favourite with our audiences and tickets will be in high demand. This concert, which is a festival programme to celebrate the orchestra's 30th Anniversary Season, includes Shostakovich Festive Overture, Chabrier España, Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio Espagnole and Arturo Márquez Danzón No 2. Book your tickets here - tickets will only be available online for this concert.

Christmas Concert at St John's,
Saturday 11th December 2021 at 4.30pm
Christmas concert21
We're pleased to announce that our traditional family Christmas Concert at St John's, Crowthorne is back this year, on Saturday 11th December. We'll be playing a programme of favourite seasonal music, including Sleigh Ride, Christmas at the Movies, and music from Frozen, and of course there will be carols to join in. Tickets are now on sale via the red "BUY TICKETS" button on this page – bring the family, under-16 tickets are free! We hope to have some tickets available on the door, but with a limited capacity audience it's best to buy online if at all possible. We can promise you a fun family event to start the festive season. As with the November concert, we have put some safety measures in place which are listed on the ticket sales page before you make your purchase.  

CSO Returns with Wonderful Brahms and
Sibelius Concert
What a fantastic evening everyone had at the November concert - all the more enjoyable for having been so long awaited! The orchestra opened with Brahms' Tragic Overture, and then our soloists, Molly Cockburn and Michael Atkinson, gave us a spellbinding performance of the Brahms Double Concerto – showing such clarity with the truly conversational interplay between the two instruments. The programme was completed with a stirring performance of Sibelius' Second Symphony. It was wonderful to be back at the Old Gym, with such an appreciative audience who clearly enjoyed the concert. Thank you all for coming and hope to see you at the next one!  

EasyFundraising and the Bracknell Lottery
Like many other organisations we've dug into our resources over the past year to keep music events going for our members whilst having no concert income to boost funds. We ran a successful workshop programme for sections of the orchestra over the summer months, and full orchestra events at Christmas and July 2021, all of which helped to keep us together and give our members the opportunity to play. Obviously with smaller numbers these events needed to be subsidised which we were more than happy to do, but we must keep one eye on resources! We are always grateful for support for the orchestra, and two easy ways if people would like to help are via EasyFundraising and the Bracknell Lottery.

EasyFundraising raises a donation from shops and suppliers when you buy from them - without costing you a penny! You just need to sign up for an account, specify CSO as the beneficiary, and then go shopping. One of our players recently bought a new fridge via the EasyFundraising link, and John Lewis donated £12 to the orchestra! Our EasyFundraising page can be found here.

The Bracknell Lottery offers supporters the chance to win £25k! Tickets are £1 a week with 50% of the price going directly to the cause (us!) and there is a 1 in 50 chance of winning a prize. Please check out our page on the Lottery site for more information and to buy tickets.  


Next Concert

6th July 2024
7.30pm at All Saints Church, Wokingham

Ethel Smyth
The Wreckers Overture
Frank Bridge
Dance Rhapsody
Symphony No.1

Next Workshop



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