About us

Oxford Symphony Orchestra


Who we are: Oxford Symphony Orchestra is the city's principal non-professional large orchestra. We perform three concerts a year and have a growing following with local audiences. Our concerts are programmed to appeal to players and audiences alike. They feature ambitious, interesting and attractive works, providing opportunities to experience larger-scale orchestral masterpieces, some of which are otherwise rarely, if ever, heard in Oxford - see Past Concerts for full details. Our musical director is Robert Max and our leader is the well-known Oxford violinist Mariette Richter.

Lawrence Power

Soloists: We are fortunate in having opportunities to work with a range of celebrated solo artists, some well-established, others at the start of their careers. Amongst these have been the renowned violist Lawrence Power, versatile pianist Tom Poster the outstanding soprano Rachel Nicholls and the young violinist Mathilde Milwidsky. As orchestral players we gain stimulus from working with these talented musicians and our concerts are all the more enjoyable for players and audiences alike.

Truck Festival logo

Truck Festival 2018: Following our success at at last year's Rock, Indie and Dance music Truck Festival the orchestra is again performing at this year's event. Under the direction of Robert Max, our 2017 gig saw a mosh pit danced to a Strauss Polka and there was singing with ABBA. The first Truck Festival was in 1998 with profits given to Amnesty International and Helen and Douglas House charities. It continues as a small independent Oxfordshire festival.

Joseph Phibbs

Joseph Phibbs - New Clarinet Concerto: At our November 2017 concert we were privileged to perform a new clarinet concerto by Joseph Phibbs with Mark van de Wiel as soloist. (Mark gave the first and second performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Edward Gardner a few days earlier). Joseph Phibbs is described by BBC Music Magazine as 'one of the most successful composers of his generation'. His works have been premiered by some of the world’s leading conductors, including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, Vassily Petrenko, Gianandrea Noseda, and Sakari Oramo.

Blitz Requiem

Blitz Requiem: David Goode's Blitz Requiem was first performed in St Paul's Cathedral, London in 2013 and broadcast by Classic FM. For the Oxford premiere in October 2017 we were delighted to provide the orchestra. David Goode is organist at Eton College. Blitz Requiem is composed to texts by Dr. Francis Warner which draw on his own childhood experiences during the Second World War. It uses the framework of the traditional Latin Mass, but renders the Requiem wholly in English as it speaks for the 'ordinary, decent citizens'.

Bridge Project young violinists

Education: The orchestra is very pleased to host visits by young people from Oxfordshire schools to rehearsals and tickets to our concerts are free to accompanied young people under 16. We are also delighted to have been able to make music here in Oxford on two occasions with children from the London Music Masters Bridge Project which is committed to enabling opportunity, diversity and excellence in classical music and to inspiring positive change for individuals and communities. See more

Alex Symcox

Composition Competition: In 2015 we premiered a work commissioned from our Competition winner, Alex Symcox. This project was made possible by the generosity of some members of the orchestra, a grant from the Doris Field Charitable Trust and advice from Sound and Music. Alex's composition may be heard in rehearsal here. Alex graduated with highest honours from the Royal Northern College of Music and holds a masters in film scoring from New York University. Alex Symcox website

Engagements: The orchestra undertakes engagements to perform alongside or to accompany local choirs and has had a longstanding regular engagement with St Birinus School, Didcot. Please contact us if you are interested in hiring the orchestra.

Music hire: The orchestra has a library of orchestral parts which are available to other groups on loan or hire. See our Orchestral Library Catalogue [pdf] for further details.

Oxford Symphony Orchestra is a Registered Charity no. 284339 and a member of Making Music, the UK's number one organisation for voluntary music