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Honorary President: Lord Vaizey of Didcot

Didcot's own high-quality symphony orchestra  A joyous, confident and utterly compelling rendition   I wasn't expecting such a high quality performance   A really impressive group of musicians   This was a truly magnificent performance   Great sounding orchestra   A really fine body of players 

 

 

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Sunday 4 February

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A high-quality full symphony orchestra, performing popular concert classics and unjustly neglected tuneful gems rarely heard in the concert hall, at affordable Sunday afternoon concerts every February, May and October at Cornerstone.

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2023-24 SEASON SPONSORS

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2022-23 season gratefully supported by a generous grant from Didcot Town Council Didcot Town Council
2022-23 season gratefully supported by a generous grant from Didcot Town Council Didcot Town Council

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NEXT CONCERT

 UPDATE JUNE 2022: To accommodate the changed availability of a soloist booked to play in a forthcoming concert, we've rearranged a few of the next concerts. The order below supersedes that printed in the May 2022 concert programme.

14 Sunday 19 May 2024 at 16.00

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  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot OX11 7NE

The Nightingale Sings – 1
A concert of orchestral and vocal music, showcasing the beautiful voice of soprano Hannah Fraser-Mackenzie.

The concert will include a variety of shorter pieces in different styles, including highlights from the incidental music to Grieg's Peer Gynt, a gorgeous vocal piece by Granados, a sparking overture by Wolf-Ferrari and Offenbach's incomparable overture to Orpheus in the Underworld. Johann Strauss's glittering introduction to Die Fledermaus opens the second half, accompanied by a very tuneful suite by Ippolitov-Ivanov, and Hannah Fraser-Mackenzie returns centre-stage to sing Strauss's Voices of Spring.

There's no doubt – this is one concert where you'll go home humming several of the tunes!

 

GriegPeer Gynt: Instrumental and vocal highlights
Wolf-FerrariSuzannah's Secret: Overture
GranadosGoyescas: The Maiden and the Nightingale
OffenbachOrpheus in the Underworld: Overture
Strauss, Johann IIDie Fledermaus: Overture
Ippolitov-IvanovCaucasian Sketches: Suite 1
Strauss, Johann IIVoices of Spring

15 Sunday 13 October 2024 at 16.00

  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot OX11 7NE

British Symphonic Discoveries
Eric Coates is famed for a number of popular pieces – The Dambusters March, By the Sleepy Lagoon (the theme tune to Desert Island Discs) and two London suites. The Three Elizabeths Suite is a joyful and tuneful depiction of three royal Elizabeths. The music of Sir Hamilton Harty is less often played outside his native Ireland, but surprisingly so because of its characteristic melodic invention, as demonstrated in With the Wild Geese. Sir Edward Elgar wrote five Pomp and Circumstance Marches (and sketches for a sixth) and apart from the "Last Night of the Proms" first, the fourth is the most rewarding and memorable. Frederick Delius was inspired by the time managing an orange plantation in Florida to write his Florida Suite, which apart from its sumptuous themes and dreamy quality, incorporates one of his most famous pieces – La Calinda.

 

CoatesThe Three Elizabeths
HartyWith the Wild Geese
ElgarPomp and Circumstance March 4
DeliusFlorida Suite

16 Sunday 9 February 2025 at 16.00

  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot OX11 7NE

The Descriptive Power of Music
Tchaikovsky's immortal Nutcracker ballet brims with memorable melodies, and some of the best are assembled in this famous suite. Henry Kimball Hadley was an American composer and conductor, and famed for establishing the Bershire Symphonic Music Festival at Tanglewood, Massechusetts. Inspired by the Ocean Ode by Louis Anspacher, Hadley's gift for depictive orchestration is evident throughout his superb symphonic poem Ocean - calm and tumultuous moods being brilliantly described. Dvorak similarly uses the orchestra to take us on a journey through a day in the life of a naughty child visited by the evil Noon Witch. Josef Suk, husband of Dvorak's daughter Otilie, wrote about his home city in this personal, atmospheric and ultimately triumphant symphonic poem.

 

TchaikovskyNutcracker Suite
HadleyThe Ocean
DvorakThe Noon Witch
SukSymphonic Poem: Prague

17 Sunday 18 May 2025 at 16.00

  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot OX11 7NE

Summer in Europe
A refreshing summer sorbet of a concert - with Prokofiev's dazzling Classical Symphony opening a glittering programme of summery classical music gems. Lyadov's last piece then makes a lyrical contrast. The Czech Suite's five dance-like movements seem to portray summery feelings in Dvořák's homeland, while Lars Erik Larsson's Pastoral Suite evokes high-latitude long-day Swedish summers – the piece is written in a neo-classical style similar to Prokofiev's Classical Symphony. A true classic masterpiece concludes our concert – the charming and high-spirited Eighth Symphony of Beethoven, written in the summer of 1812 and popular ever since.

 

ProkofievSymphony no 1 "Classical"
LyadovSorrowful Song
DvořákCzech Suite
LarssonPastoral Suite
BeethovenSymphony no 8 in F

18 Sunday 12 October 2025 at 16.00

  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot OX11 7NE

European Grand Tour
Our concert takes the listener on a musical journey of locations that inspired composers to write descriptive portraits of the landscape around them. Karl Goldmark was a much overlooked Hungarian composer, though the tuneful overture that begins his opera The Queen of Sheba is surely worth hearing more often. Despite writing only fourteen works before his untimely death in an avalanche, Polish composer Mieczysław Karłowicz had a gift for melody and musical story-telling, as exemplified in his best-known work Eternal Songs. Elgar's wonderful extended concert overture In the South was inspired by a holiday in Alassio on the Italian Riviera. Otto Respighi's unique and magnificent descriptive symphonic suite The Pines of Rome depicts pine trees in four locations in Rome at different times of the day.

 

GoldmarkThe Queen of Sheba: Overture
KarłowiczEternal Songs
ElgarIn the South
RespighiThe Pines of Rome

19 Sunday ?8? February 2026 at 16.00

  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot OX11 7NE

The Cello Sings
The main work in this very tuneful concert is Dvořák's ever-popular Cello Concerto, with talented cellist Joshua Lynch. Dating from the composer's American period, it portrays both unrequited love and at the same time the homesick longing that Dvořák felt for his own country. The rarely-played effervescent Polonaise by Lyadov is also included in the programme, along with the American Suite which Dvořák composed immediately following his New World Symphony. The Overture di Ballo predates Sullivan's operetta works with WS Gilbert, and is – justifiably – his most-recorded orchestral work. Tunes aplenty are guaranteed!

 

LyadovPolonaise in C
DvořákAmerican Suite
SullivanDi Ballo Overture
DvořákCello Concerto

20 Sunday ?17? May 2026 at 16.00

  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot OX11 7NE

Great Classics
Programme to be announced.

 


21 Sunday ?11? October 2026 at 16.00

  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot OX11 7NE

Unmissable Classics
The first of three Swedish Rhapsodies by the Swedish late-Romantic composer Hugo Alfvén is his most well-known piece – full of Swedish dance and vitality celebrating the return of long northern summer days, and with a musical evocation of a sunrise. Polyeucte Overture is the oldest surviving work by Paul Dukas - a captivating piece, more like a symphonic poem, that deserves to be heard more often in the concert hall. It is said my many that Elgar's First Symphony is the greatest symphony written by and Englishman – its four contrasting movements each containing memorable tunes, overlaid with an emotional intensity that makes a strong impression on listeners, whether hearing again as a favourite, or discovering it for the first time.

 

AlfvénSwedish Rhapsody no 1 "Midsummer Vigil"
DukasPolyeucte Overture
ElgarSymphony no 1

Later programmes may be subject to adjustment, but we guarantee all concerts are highly tuneful!
 This concert programme was planned several years ago and DCO's view, in line with the policies of Making Music and the Association of British Orchestras, is that the works of deceased Russian composers are a part of Western culture to be celebrated and not censored.

In order to demonstrate our solidarity with the people of Ukraine, we plan to include pieces by living Ukrainian composers over the next year, and DCO's founders invite visitors to our website to donate, as we have, to the Disasters Emergency Committee's Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal at this time of Ukraine's great need.

12 Sunday 8 October 2023 at 16.00

  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot OX11 7NE

One of the most magical of Rossini's overtures, William Tell begins with a delicious passage for solo cellos before his usual effervescent style resumes in the full orchestra.

The Hungarian composer Ernst von Dohnányi was a masterful orchestrator, as demonstrated in his Symphonic Minutes – a five-movement delight rarely heard in the concert hall.

Sam Elliott, Principal Tuba of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, then joins us for Vaughan Williams' Tuba Concerto.

The Third Symphony of Brahms is one of his most popular pieces – composed during a summer on the Rhine, and expressing in music the motto woven into the work "Frei aber Froh" – "Free but happy".

 

RossiniWilliam Tell: Overture DohnányiSymphonic Minutes Vaughan WilliamsTuba Concerto (Sam Elliott)  BrahmsSymphony no 3 in F Principal Tuba, BBC Symphony Orchestra

Some of the composers featured in DCO's concerts.

CONCERT VENUE

Cornerstone, Didcot
Cornerstone, Didcot
Cornerstone Arts Centre
25 Station Road
Didcot OX11 7NE
DIRECTIONS + MAPS
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CONCERT VENUE

The Beacon, Wantage
The Beacon, Wantage
The Beacon
Portway
Wantage OX12 9BX
DIRECTIONS, MAPS, PARKING
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CONTACT

Conductor & Musical Director
Geoff Bushell
Didcot, Oxfordshire

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Geoff Bushell, Conductor and Musical Director, Didcot Concert Orchestra
 
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