Didcot Concert Orchestra :: Future concerts

"Didcot's new symphony orchestra"

Honorary President:    Lord Vaizey of Didcot

Principal sponsor:

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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 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.

9 Sunday 2 October 2022 at 16.00

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

Symphonic Seascapes
 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.

The Prelude to Wagner's opera Parsifal demonstrates the composer's gift for melody and rich harmony. We then give the first performance of a work by Ukrainian composer Anna Kuzina-Rozhdestvenskaya. Wonderfully depictive orchestration is exemplified by the rarely-heard seascape A Legend of the Skerries by Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén, and by Arnold Bax's vivid depiction of the Cornwall coast near Tintagel. Highlights from Tchaikovsky's immortal ballet Sleeping Beauty abound with tunes you'll go home humming.

The Stockholm archipelago
WagnerParsifal: Prelude
Anna Kuzina-RozhdestvenskayaBreath of Life (version for small orchestra)
AlfvénA Legend of the Skerries
TchaikovskySleeping Beauty: ballet highlights

10 Sunday 5 February 2023 at 16.00

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

The Romantic
Phaéton, the son of Helios in Greek mythology, is the subject of Saint Saëns' captivating symphonic poem. Howard Hanson was one of America's leading symphonists, and the pinnacle of his achievement is widely thought to be his Second Symphony, with its broad romantic sweep that justifies its subtitle. Hungarian-born Viennese composer Karl Goldmark continues the "romantic" theme with the highly melodic piece that cemented his fame – his Sakuntala Overture. And no programme with a "romantic" theme could end without Tchaikovsky's immortal Fantasy Overture – Romeo and Juliet.
Saint SaënsPhaéton
Hanson, HowardSymphony no 2 "Romantic"
GoldmarkSakuntala Overture
GoldmarkThe Queen of Sheba: Ballet Music
TchaikovskyRomeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture

11 Sunday 14 May 2023 at 16.00

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

Impressions of Spring and Summer
Leconte de Lisle's poem Les Éolides (The Breezes) captures an idyllic view of spring, with breezes rustling through trees and meadows alike – vividly portrayed in this symphonic poem by Cesar Franck. Debussy's Prelude a l'après-midi d'un faune is considered a turning point in the history of music, and we admire the impressionistic dreams and desires of a faun in the heat of the afternoon. Fauré's Pelleas and Melisande is no less engaging – a four-movement suite containing the best music from his incidental music to Maeterlinck's drama. The Overture to The Wasps, written after Vaughan Williams studied with Ravel in Paris, is the most often played movement from incidental music to Aristophanes' play. The tuneful and evocative Symphony no 3 "Scottish" by Mendelssohn was inspired by his summer walking tour of Scotland in 1829.
FranckLes Éolides
DebussyPrelude a l'après-midi d'un faune
Anna Kuzina-RozhdestvenskayaBreath of Life (version for full orchestra)
FauréPélleas et Mélisande
Vaughan WilliamsThe Wasps: Overture
MendelssohnSymphony no 3 "Scottish"

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 – "Free but happy".
RossiniWilliam Tell: Overture
Anna Kuzina-RozhdestvenskayaBreath of Life (arrangement for small orchestra)
DohnányiSymphonic Minutes
Vaughan WilliamsTuba Concerto (Sam Elliott) 
BrahmsSymphony no 3 in F
Principal Tuba, BBC Symphony Orchestra

13 Sunday 4 February 2024 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

14 Sunday 19 May 2024 at 16.00

  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 the overture to Grieg's Peer Gynt and three of his orchestral songs, a gorgeous 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: Overture
GriegThree Orchestral Songs
GranadosGoyescas: The Maiden and the Nightingale
Wolf-FerrariSuzannah's Secret: Overture
OffenbachOrpheus in the Underworld: Overture
Strauss, Johann IIDie Fledermaus: Overture
Ippolitov-IvanovCaucasian Sketches: Suite 1
Strauss, Johann IIVoices of Spring

15 Sunday 6 October 2024 at 16.00

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

Russian Masterpieces – 3
The long break during lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 gave conductor Geoff Bushell the opportunity to listen to many pieces, and to make discoveries such as those in the first half of this programme. The first movement of Scriabin's First Symphony can best be summed up by an internet reviewer: "I am obsessed with the first movement ... it is just amazing to me ... it is everything I love in music". The music of Glazunov was somewhat eclipsed by the older Tchaikovsky, but he is at his finest in his romantic ballet Raymonda, from which we play the cleverly-extracted suite of the best moments. "Winter Daydreams" is the evocative name of Tchaikovsky's popular First Symphony, and he does not disappoint, with movement titles including "Dreams of a Winter Journey" and "Land of Desolation, Land of Mists" – overall a brilliant work.
ScriabinSymphony no 1 (first movement)
GlazunovRaymonda: Ballet Suite
TchaikovskySymphony no 1 "Winter Daydreams"

16 February 2025

  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

17 May 2025

  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

Later programmes may be subject to adjustment, but we guarantee all concerts are highly tuneful!

Some of the composers featured in DCO's first fifteen concerts.


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


The Beacon, Wantage
The Beacon, Wantage
The Beacon
Wantage OX12 9BX


Conductor & Musical Director
Geoff Bushell
Didcot, Oxfordshire

Geoff Bushell, Conductor and Musical Director, Didcot Concert Orchestra
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