DCO's repertoire focuses on concert classics from the late-Romantic era, and a key feature is tuneful, unjustly neglected works from this period – at least one such "rare gem" in each concert. Repertoire suggestions are welcome from players, with the final decision made by the musical director. Concerto and soloist repertoire are played subject to platform space in venue and budget.
DCO is a not-for-profit, charitable, unincorporated association, and is underwritten by founders Jackie and Geoff Bushell.
In October 2019, Geoff was awarded the Didcot Town Council Artistic Award, marking over 30 concerts conducted in Didcot over a 30-year period, together with the joint founding with his wife Jackie of the Didcot Concert Orchestra.
Kate has played in the string quartet OXUS for the last ten years, specializing in approachable contemporary works such as Steve Reich's "Different Trains" and Elvis Costello's "The Juliet Letters". She is also a founder member of The Holywell Ensemble (formed in 1984), a flexible chamber group renowned for its committed and evocative performances of British chamber music on CD and in the concert hall, which was described by the BBC Music Magazine as "one of the most important chamber music groups on the British musical scene."
Kate lives in Oxford, and regularly leads a number of orchestras in the area. She is also a freelance orchestral player and has performed a number of concertos, including Beethoven's Triple Concerto with her colleagues from The Holywell Ensemble, and in March 2018 she performed Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante with viola player Heather Birt. When she is not doing something musical, she enjoys photography, writing and trying to learn Turkish.
Heather Birt works as a freelance viola player with many period ensembles including Academy of Ancient Music, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, The King's Consort, The English Concert and The Mozartists. Heather has performed in several BBC Promenade concerts and appears on many recordings, including the highly regarded Pachelbel Vespers CD with the Kings Singers. Heather also plays Double Bass in Allen Beechey's Bright Stars of Jazz, and has performed at numerous jazz festivals in Britain and Europe.
Spike Wilson won a choral exhibition to The Queen's College, Oxford, and now leads a busy musical life combining cello-playing in chamber groups (including The Holywell Ensemble and OXUS) and orchestras, with coaching chamber groups and directing several school and youth orchestras. He coaches for the Oxford Cello School and the Oxford Chamber Course and is much in demand as a cello teacher, with many adult and younger pupils.
Our four section leaders are the members of OXUS – an innovative and vibrant string quartet, formed in 2006. They perform music from all eras, but specialise in contemporary repertoire and give regular recitals and workshops in schools and colleges. They frequently work with other performers and media, performing works including Steve Reich's Different Trains with electronics; an original composition by and with jazz guitarist Pete Oxley; and, with actor-singer Nicholas Cass-Beggs, The Juliet Letters by Elvis Costello and The Brodsky Quartet. Performances include appearances at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Oxford Contemporary Music Marathon, and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and they have also enjoyed the challenge of working with artist Pam Foley, composing and improvising, for a project on Chronic Grief, entitled Routes of Sorrow.
Ed Vaizey, former MP for Wantage and Didcot
Honorary President, Didcot Concert Orchestra
Wonderful performance by the Didcot Concert Orchestra tonight Twitter, 14 October 2018
A new artistic venture in Didcot is bringing together players and audiences who may use the products and services offered by organisations in and around Didcot, Milton Park, Harwell Campus and Culham Science Centre. Didcot Concert Orchestra therefore offers sponsors an opportunity to raise awareness of their organisation and its positive stance towards the arts, and access a new potential source of revenue. DCO seeks to partner with sponsors for mutual benefit. In return, DCO will offer sponsors placing of their logo on the DCO website with links to their organisation, and printing of their logo on the front page of concert programmes, plus a whole-page or half-page advert in the concert programme that will be seen by 150-200 people in the audience as well as some 50 orchestral players.
DCO also welcomes offers of financial support from philanthropic individuals keen to support the arts in Didcot.
Please help Didcot Concert Orchestra become established and thrive by sponsoring us or becoming a personal benefactor – contact details below.
When concerts resume after the pandemic, DCO – along with other arts organisations – faces the likelihood that audience sizes may not immediately return to their previous numbers. This would increase the deficit DCO makes on purely orchestral concerts, and has a particular impact on concerts with the additional cost of soloists. However, artistically, we believe that keeping with our original concert programmes – albeit on different dates, but still including soloists – is what audiences would want us to do for their maximum enjoyment. A second risk for us is that some of our local business sponsors may not be in a position to resume their sponsorship straight away.
We therefore want to mitigate the risk of a concert making a large loss, thus jeopardising the funding of future concerts, and are now appealing for public support to help bridge the financial gap. If you would consider supporting DCO and the arts in Didcot by becoming a personal benefactor, please contact us (details below). Alternatively, we would very much welcome your support by way of a personal donation.
Thank you very much for considering helping DCO in this way.