June 2018 – APO wins ‘Performance of the Year’ at the Reading Cultural Awards!

Having been nominated in several categories and short-listed in two, we’re delighted to have won the ‘Performance of the Year’ category at the 2018 Reading Cultural Awards! There were 600 nominations in total, with the winners announced at a celebratory awards ceremony in the Shenhai Olympia Ballroom.

The award was for our ‘Route to the River – Schumann at the Station’ event in July 2017, which saw us perform on the transfer deck at Reading station. Here’s the video of the event. Thanks again to Network Rail and Great Western Railway for all their help with the event – we’re hoping to do something similar next summer.

May 2018 – Emotional farewell to long-standing leader at Back to Beethoven concert

On a warm May evening, our Back to Beethoven concert went down a treat with a receptive audience at St. Joseph’s College. Edward Reeve played with scintillating style in the Fourth Piano Concerto, leaving just one more to go to complete his Beethoven piano concrto cycle with us.


But the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the emotional performance of Giazotto’s Adagio in G minor for strings and organ, which was added to the programme to mark the final concert of our long-standing leader, Neil MacLean. After spinning some beautiful solos, Neil was presented with a special signed photo to mark the occasion.



Ahead of the concert, we held an internal competition to come up with an image for our publicity material that reflects the fiery intensity of Beethoven’s music. Violinist Cassia Leigh submitted this original painting that does the job perfectly, we’re sure you’ll agree!


 April 2018 – APO wind soloists perform in Düsseldorf

An octet of wind soloists received a warm ovation from a capacity audience in Düsseldorf’s Schloss Eller, in a concert to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Reading and Düsseldorf’s official twinning, on Sunday 16th April.

The travel and accommodation costs for the trip were kindly covered by the City of Düsseldorf, and the Oberbürgermeister, Thomas Geisel, was in attendance as we performed works by Wranitzky, Holst and Mozart.

The concert also saw the world premiere of Derri Lewis’s Projection, for which the octet was joined by Düsseldorf-based guitarist, Arturo Castro Nogueras. We received such a warm welcome from our German hosts and had a wonderful time. Maybe next time we’ll take the whole orchestra? 🙂

March 2018 – APO receives nominations for Reading Cultural Awards

We’re delighted to already have been nominated in the ‘Made in Reading’ and ‘Performance of the Year’ categories of the Reading Cultural Awards 2018. We had a great time at last year’s inaugural awards, where APO Young Composer Award winner Alice Knight won the ‘Young Talent’ category. This year’s awards are held in June, nominations can be made until 20th April and this year’s awards are for activities and events between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018. APO activities within this period include:

  • Route to the River; Schumann at the Station in July 2017 – view the video from the event here
  • An octet of wind soloists performing at the official Reaffirmation of Friendship ceremony between Reading and Düsseldorf, also in July 2017 (see right)
  • Our very well-received concert with Tamesis Chamber Choir in October 2017 – view a clip from that concert here
  • The world-premiere of #APOdances in January 2018, which you can hear here!

Over the period for nomination, well over 100 people have come to our concerts for free thanks to our Concert Virgin scheme, which offers free tickets to anyone who’s never heard a live classical concert.

Although we’ve been nominated already, it would obviously be lovely to receive further nominations in these and other categories, so head for the awards website if you feel inspired to speak up for us!

February 2018 – #APOdances gets rousing world premiere

Our latest concert saw the world premiere of Roger May’s ‘Dancing in the Elements’ – the start of what we hope will be a major collaboration with dancers in Reading.

We recorded the performance of the new work and will soon be making it available to local dance schools, with a view to staging a choreographed performance within the next two years, as part of another programme of orchestral music for dancing.

Roger’s new work and performances of Marquez and Rachmaninov were much appreciated by the audience of over 300, including the reviewer from The Henley Standard.

We also exhibited works from local artists at the concert venue.

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