August 2017 – Video celebrates success of station event

Our ‘Route to the River – Schumann at the Station’ event at Reading station was a brilliant success – and now we have a special video to celebrate it. One of the purposes of the event was to draw attention to the upcoming Reading on Thames Festival, something which the video echoes. It features many of the brave members of the public who got up onto the podium to ‘Conduct Us!’ as part of the event.

July 2017 – APO prepares for two special events

We’re getting ready for two special events within two days of each other, which will round off our 15th season in style! On Thursday 20th July, an octet of APO wind soloists will perform at the official reaffirmation ceremony for the twinning of Reading and Düsseldorf, with performances of works by Mendelssohn (who was the city’s opera director for a short time), Holst (who taught at the University of Reading) and Mozart (who has no direct connection aside from his music resonating everywhere!).

Then, on Saturday 22nd July, at 1.30pm, an orchestra will magically appear on the transfer deck at Reading Station. At first, there’ll be nobody to conduct them, but a sign saying ‘CONDUCT US!’ will be placed in front of the orchestra, and the orchestra will await brave members of the public to take to the podium. Then, performances of two Schumann symphonies and two brand new works, one of which is by Reading Cultural Award winner Alice Knight (see below).

It’s all part of our very informal event, ‘Route to the River; Schumann at the Station’, part of the ARENA 2017 programme (supported by Reading Business Improvement District) and the Reading Fringe Festival. The approximate timetable for the event is below. You don’t need a train ticket (unless you’re planning to board a train!) – just ask the gateline staff to be let through to event.

All timings are approximate:

  • 1.30-1.50pm – CONDUCT US!
  • 1.50pm – world premiere of ‘River Image’ by Derri Lewis
  • 1.55pm – performance of Schumann’s Fourth Symphony (in the revised edition he completed in Düsseldorf)
  • 2.25pm – world premiere of ‘Interwoven’ by Alice Knight
  • 2.30pm – break
  • 3.15pm – CONDUCT US!
  • 3.40pm – second performance of ‘Interwoven’ by Alice Knight
  • 3.50pm – second performance of ‘River Image’ by Derri Lewis
  • 3.55pm – performance of Schumann’s Third Symphony (the Rhenish – after the River Rhine, which flows through Düsseldorf)

July 2017 – APO composer Alice Knight wins Reading Cultural ‘Young Talent’ Award!

We’re pleased and proud that #APOpictures and #routetotheriver composer, Alice Knight, was named as the winner of the Young Talent – under 25 category at the Reading Cultural Awards. In a lavish ceremony at the Olympia Ballroom, Alice beat of a strong shortlist of four nominees, and a long list of ten more, with the winner announced by Sam Butler, Artistic Director of top arts organisation, ‘Fevered Sleep’.

The nomination, by APO’s Music Director Andrew Taylor, cited her ‘hard work, creative brilliance and impact of her music’, going on to say, ‘It’s not just that she’s “one to watch”; what she’s doing doing right now is exciting in itself!’

Alice’s new commission from APO, Interwoven, will be premiered as part of our ‘Route to the River: Schumann at the Station’ event, on Saturday 22nd July, 2pm, Reading Station (on the transfer deck – speak to the gateline staff to gain access through the ticket barriers). The event is part of Reading BID’s ‘Arena’ series of events, leading up to the new Reading on Thames Festival, as well as being part of the Reading Fringe Festival.

Here’s the winning moment – we just love the look on her face!

June 2017 – APO shortlisted in two categories for the Reading Cultural Awards!

The #APOpictures composers and jelly artists before the world premiere of ‘Pictures at APO’s Exhibition’.

We’re proud and honoured to be finalists in two categories of this year’s Reading Cultural Awards, for our #APOpictures project and performance, with our collaborators on the project, Jelly and Creative People. And we’re equally delighted that #APOpictures composer Alice Knight is a finalist for the Young Person category, for her contribution to Reading’s musical scene.

Find details of the project at

The awards ceremony is on Thursday 29th June and we can’t wait to be part of this celebration of Reading’s cultural scene!

 May 2017 – APO featured in Making Music Case Study

It’s 15 years since APO was born and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved. The story of our early days and subsequent development is featured in this new Making Music case study.

Now to keep the growth mindset going for the next 15 years!

 April 2017 – APO to show the ‘Route to the River’ with ‘Schumann at the Station’ and two new commissioned works about the River Thames

We are delighted to announce that APO has been selected by Reading Business Improvement District (BID) to be part of the 2017 ARENA programme of Reading town centre arts and cultural events. Running in July and August, ARENA will celebrate the best work of Reading’s arts and cultural organisations through a diverse programme of free outdoor events, taking as their theme for 2017 – Reading’s waterways.

The space on the northern end of Reading station’s ‘transfer deck’, where the event will take place

APO’s contribution, with the help of Network Rail and Great Western Railway, will be a free event called ‘Route to the River – Schumann at the Station’, on Saturday 22nd July, at 1.30pm. The event will take place at the north end of Reading railway station’s ‘transfer deck’, promoting the fact that the River Thames is only two minutes’ walk away. Members of the public will be able to access the station for the event.

The event will also be part of the Reading Fringe Festival, and also nods to the 70th anniversary of Reading’s twinning with Düsseldorf, through the music of Robert Schumann. APO will give its second performance of his Fourth Symphony (in the revised version he completed when living in Düsseldorf) this year, as well as a performance of the Third Symphony. Known as the ‘Rhenish’, after the River Rhine that flows through Reading’s twin town, it fits the river theme perfectly.

The most exciting part of the event will be the first performances of two commissioned works by young composers from the Reading area. Alice Knight, a veteran of APO’s Young Composers Award at the age of 13, and Derri Lewis, who’s currently studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, are writing a piece each which is inspired by the River Thames.

Finally, there’ll be a special opportunity for brave volunteers to take to the podium and ‘CONDUCT US!’, and a special video will be made about the event, promoting the upcoming Reading-on-Thames Festival.