"Didcot's new symphony orchestra"

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Didcot Concert Orchestra is a high-quality amateur symphony orchestra. Participation in DCO is by invitation or audition. Recommendations of appropriate players are welcome. There is no fixed membership – players are part of a pool, and may not be invited to play in every concert. This allows flexibility to suit the different instrumentations of the repertoire, and to evolve the sound of the orchestra. Strings are expected to rotate between desks from concert to concert, and violins between first and second violins. Professional players are engaged to lead sectional rehearsals for the first and second violins, violas and cellos/basses. There is usually a wind sectional led by the conductor.

As a project orchestra, players meet for (usually) three rehearsals before each concert, plus a final rehearsal on the concert day, giving a Friday-Sunday-Friday-Sunday pattern, wherever possible on consecutive weekends. Dates are chosen to minimise rehearsal and concert clashes with other nearby orchestras. The number of rehearsals for each concert may vary depending on the difficulty of repertoire and the overall standard of players it proves possible to attract. DCO does not meet for regular weekly rehearsals.

A distinguishing feature of DCO is the inclusion of a piece of unfamiliar repertoire in each concert. For experienced musicians who may be familiar with the mainstream concert repertoire, DCO offers the opportunity to experience something new by exploring and performing a neglected gem.

We believe that the expansion of Didcot may have already brought to the area players who are not yet known in the amateur orchestral circuit. So we are particularly keen to hear from advanced players (e.g. music performance degree) who live or work in the Didcot area. If you are interested in being considered for future concerts, please contact us.

When inviting players by email, and sending a reminder if we haven't heard back, we usually wait about 10 days for a reply, and after that cannot rule out offering the seat to someone else. We know that emails often go into spam, so please check there and/or add our email address (orange button at the foot of every webpage) to your contact list.


It's a pleasure to play with so many players (and conductor) of such a high standard.  

I am always delighted to be invited to play with DCO – I like that it is a very different experience from my regular orchestral playing.  

It is a privilege to play with this orchestra and thank you for the wonderful opportunity.  

Very nice programming as ever.  

It was such a good quality orchestra that it sounded great from the first rehearsal.  

...playing new, and more unusual repertoire, with highly skilled players.  

The orchestra sounds great and you have terrific wind and brass principals.  

...playing with a group of good, committed and focussed players meant that we were able to progress quickly from the first reading rehearsal to the concert. The organisation was also excellent - and we weren't expected to sell tickets or recruit players. Really valuable to have the pro string quartet leading the sections, and taking the sectionals.  

...great organisation, great music and a great experience.  

Didcot Concert Orchestra in a nutshell...

  • High standard
  • No regular commitment
  • Three rehearsals before each concert day in a 9-day period:
    - Friday - Sunday - Friday - Sunday
  • Three concerts a year at Cornerstone, Didcot - usually February, May, October
  • Participation in each concert by invitation or audition
  • Professional string section leaders
  • Opportunity to play unusual repertoire
  • No involvement in fixing, administration or ticket sales
  • No subscription (though donations and concert sponsorship welcome)


Conductor & Musical Director
Geoff Bushell
Didcot, Oxfordshire

Geoff Bushell, Conductor and Musical Director, Didcot Concert Orchestra
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