The SPO is a friendly, enthusiastic and ambitious amateur orchestra based in the centre of Sheffield. We rehearse 7.30pm – 9.45pm on Tuesday evenings at the Victoria Hall Methodist Church (adjacent to The Crucible theatre) and draw players from all over Yorkshire & the Humber, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire. We give no fewer than five concerts a year, including the Rotary Club's annual 'Music in the Gardens' concert and this season is to be our our 72nd. We have lots of exciting things planned for the 2017/18 season so please do keep checking the site for updates regarding all future performances!
The Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra was formed in 1945 and gave its first public performance under the baton of Hermann Lindars, the founder of the orchestra, on Sunday the 22nd of April at the Sheffield City Hall. The orchestra was originally known as the Sheffield Amateur Symphony Orchestra until it was incorporated into the Philharmonic Concerts Department of the Sheffield Corporation a year after its inception, adopting the name by which it is known today. In the early years the orchestra regularly gave concerts at the City Hall, performing with distinguished soloists and guest conductors. During the 1980s the orchestra played many concerts in St. Johns Church, Ranmoor under the heading 'Music at Ranmoor', and at other venues in the area such as Beverley Minster, St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, The Octagon Centre and in Buxton Pavilion Gardens. Family concerts were usually given once a year in the City Hall with well known personalities such as Johnny Morris and Anthony Hopkins.
More recently, in July 2004, the orchestra made a professional recording of 2 works by the acoustic guitarist and composer, Gordon Giltrap, followed by a performance of the works in a concert at Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Both are now included on a CD/DVD. For its 60th anniversary, the orchestra raised funding from a variety of sources to commission a full length orchestral work, Star Song V composed by Christopher Brown and premiered by the orchestra in St Mark’s Church in November 2005. From 2007, under the Musical Direction of Ewa Strusinska, the orchestra continued to flourish and established a reputation for well-rehearsed, lively performances and an interesting programme of music, often reflecting Ewa’s Polish roots; she is now Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2010-2015 we were conducted by Jonathan Lo with a further expansion of our repertoire including performances of Mahler’s 5th Symphony, Shostakovich's 5th Symphony, Strauss Till Eulenspiegel, Debussy La Mer, Smetana Ma Vlast, and concertos with Ben Frith (piano), Bob Ashworth (horn), Robin Ireland (viola) and Yuanfan Yang (piano, and winner of Liszt competition).
The SPO is an inclusive orchestra with players of all ages and backgrounds and the orchestra's ethos and spirit has remained the same over the years - providing a medium for amateur players to flourish. Several of our players are students or even school age, but we also have a number of lively pensioners. The orchestra has a core of exceptional players with strong leaders of all sections who encourage all players to play to a high standard. We also have a full brass section with regular attendance at rehearsals, giving great cohesion and continuity to the group. Members of the orchestra have organised tours and summer school events, sometimes with guest conductors. Destinations have included: Malta, Crete and, more recently, Sardinia. These occasions have contributed to the friendly nature of the orchestra and led to lasting friendships and musical links that we hope to continue in the future.