August 2016 – Pictures at Our Exhibition goes to Cambridge University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – July-August 2016

Helen Julia Minors presenting at ISME 2016, RCS, Glasgow

Helen Julia Minors presenting at ISME 2016, RCS, Glasgow

Following the commission, first performance and recording of Pictures at Our Exhibition, APO’s latest project has expanded, with presentations and panels featuring #APOpictures at events held at Cambridge University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in July-August 2016.

Members of the orchestra are involved in continuing this educational project by taking the work into schools, by uploading educational resources onto websites and in one case, by using the work as an example of good practice within advocacy research projects within an academic context.

This summer, APO trumpeter, and by day Head of Department of Music at Kingston University, Dr. Helen Julia Minors, integrated APO’s Pictures at Our Exhibition into two recent presentations. For more details, visit the Pictures at Our Exhibition website –

August 2016 – APO commissions Max Charles Davies for January 2017 concert

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve commissioned former APO Young Composers Award winner Max Charles Davies to write a new work for our January 2017 concert. We gave the world premiere of Max’s concerto for orchestra, ‘The Mysterious Kiss’, in January 2010 – a piece rapturously received by orchestra and audience alike. In January 2012, Max supplied the finale for our ‘Sumer is icumen in’ variations with, ‘A very British summer prayer’, which brought together all the elements of the piece in a beautifully light-hearted way.

The new work will be presented alongside another new work by Max, ‘Tiny Symphony’. Max describes this piece as, ‘…a little musical portrait of my two-year-old son, Sebastian. But, it does also contain all the elements of a late-classical-period symphony in miniature: a sonata form first movement, a scherzo and trio, a slow movement, and a sonata-rondo finale. So it is quite literally a Tiny Symphony, about a tiny person, and because of its bite-sized proportions, gives a little flavour of what (at least this composer’s) contemporary classical music is all about, without being too long or intimidating.’ We can’t wait to perform it.

Max’s work replaces, at least temporarily, the #APOdances project and Sibelius’s Valse Triste, but fear not as they are now firmly penned in for January 2018 – and in an even more spectacular way – watch this space! Nicola Loten will still join us to perform Nielsen’s Flute Concerto, and the programme will still conclude with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.1 ‘Winter Daydreams’.

July 2016 – APO soloists cut it at the Fringe!

In the beautiful surroundings of the 900-year old St. Laurence Church, APO made its debut at the Reading Fringe Festival on Saturday 23rd July. In an event titled ‘Mozart Unwrapped’, a performance of Mozart’s Serenade in B flat, the ‘Gran Partita’, was preceded by an extended introduction from conductor Andrew Taylor, complete with musical examples from the band.


Our #mozartunwrapped audience reclines in advance of the performance

In a relaxed atmosphere, with the players presenting the introduction in casual clothing and audience reclining on comfortable sofas, we went ‘under the bonnet’ to explore what makes Mozart’s writing so original and memorable – a task which even involved showing the link between Mozart and Oasis!

We really enjoyed our Reading Fringe experience and send our thanks to the all-volunteer Reading Fringe team, especially the volunteers who helped run the event on the night. We hope we can do similar ‘unwrapped’ events in future years.

July 2016 – Young musicians enchant audience at RBCS as APO bids farewell to Honorary Patron

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Trombonist Marcus Fifield wows the audience with trombone acrobatics

We were delighted to offer the opportunity for four talented pupils of Reading Blue Coat School to perform concertos on Sunday 3rd July. The pupils, Emily Reeve, David Fifield, Marcus Corbin and Angus Trott, were accompanied by RBCS Director of Music Jonathan Bowler (continuo), teachers Elizabeth Burrowes and Dominic Oldfield, and APO’s Music Director Andrew Taylor. The performances were part of a matinee concert which also featured the continuation of Edward Reeve’s Beethoven piano concerto cycle with APO – to the delight of his legion of fans in the audience.

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APO Music Director Andrew Taylor with APO Honorary Patron Michael Windsor

We ended the afternoon with ‘The Elephant’ from Saint-Saëns’ ‘Carnival of the Animals’, arranged for full orchestra by Andrew Taylor in honour of APO Honorary Patron and outgoing Headmaster of RBCS, Michael Windsor (who is a fine double bassist). Andrew thanked Mike for his unstinting support of APO during his time at RBCS. We wish him well as he becomes Headmaster of Abingdon School and look forward to seeing him at future concerts.