St Giles Orchestra

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

St Giles Orchestra is an amateur symphony orchestra founded in 1980 and based in Oxford, England.


St Giles Orchestra takes its name from the street of St Giles', Oxford where its founder members first met. The orchestra has grown over the years to its current size of 50 players at rehearsals and up to 80 at concerts.


The objects of the Orchestra are to promote, improve, develop and maintain the education of its members and the public in an appreciation of the art and science of music in all its aspects by the presentation of public concerts.

Membership and joining[edit]

There a minimum entry standard of Grade VIII with substantial orchestral experience. For key woodwind and brass positions, SGO usually holds informal auditions at a regular rehearsal. In other cases, there may be no audition, but there is a 2-3 week subscription-free trial period. Rehearsals run from the first Thursday in September until the June/July concert.


SGO gives four or five public concerts per year - January, April and June/July in Oxford, and a fourth in November (often repeated) in Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot.


Repertoire is suggested by the members and is usually drawn from the Early and Late Romantic eras, utilising full symphony orchestra resources.

First amateur performances[edit]

As far as can be ascertained, SGO has given the first amateur performances of:

  • Alfven: En skargardssagen (A Legend of the Skerries)
  • Alfven: The Forest Sleeps
  • Aulin: At Sea
  • Bridge: Isabella
  • Bruch: Symphony no 2 in F minor
  • Soderman: King Heimer and Aslog
  • Stenhammar: Florez and Blanzeflor
  • Tchaikovsky: Symphony no 7 in E flat


Conductor and Musical Director, Geoffrey Bushell, has directed St Giles Orchestra since 1983. He has studied conducting with George Hurst and Adrian Leaper at Canford Summer School of Music, and is well known in Oxfordshire as a player of French horn and double bass, and as composer of mainly romantic style pieces ranging from small ensembles to large-scale symphonic works. Many of his pieces have been premiered by St Giles Orchestra. Geoffrey is renowned for introducing players and audience to lesser-known and unjustly neglected repertoire. In November 2009, Geoffrey conducted his 100th concert of St Giles Orchestra.

List of conductors[edit]

  • 1980 - 1981 Nicholas Hooper
  • 1982 - 1983 Russell Humphries
  • 1983–present Geoffrey Bushell

List of leaders[edit]

  • 1981 - 1982 Caroline Duffner
  • 1984 - 1987 Noreen Petrie
  • 1988 - 1990 Emily Ormerod
  • 1991 - 1995 David Ormerod
  • 1996 - 1996 Liz Hodson
  • 1997–present Emily Ormerod

External links[edit]