Preview: APO in 2019

‘Tis the season for reflections on the year. Our vehicle for this is the orchestra’s AGM, which takes place in January. The reports from our Chair, Emily, and our Music Director, Andrew, will follow that meeting. Instead, we’re taking this opportunity to preview what we’ve got coming up in 2019. It’s a year full of exciting events!

Music of Desire

Our first event is on Saturday 2nd February, 7.30pm, at The Great Hall of the University of Reading (London Road Campus), and sees us perform a programme of six pieces connected by the theme of ‘desire’. Indeed the programme takes us on a journey from what one might call ‘frivolous’ desires through to the fulfilment of true love (in death!)

An all-French first half of the programme is also linked together by the musical flavour of the east, starting with the faint sounds of gamelan music towards the end of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après–midi d’un faune, and continuing with the opening oboe themes of the Danse Bachannale from Camille Saint-Saëns’ opera Samson et Delilah and Ravel’s Sheherazade, which sees soprano soloist Karen Speight join us for a sensuous depiction of seductive stories from The Arabian Nights.

The second half sees the world premiere of Laura Shipsey’s Samara – an APO commission, before the repressed English desire of Elgar’s Salut D’Amour gives way to the drama of Wagner’s story of desire between the ill-fated lovers Tristan und Isolde, as we perform the very beginning and end of the opera in the form of the Prelude and Liebestod (concert version).

Tickets are on sale now – don’t miss out on the early bird offer, particularly as our last concert at this venue sold out!

Public flute masterclass with Sarah Newbold – Saturday 26th January, 0930-1215 (please note change from previously advertised times)

As part of the preparation for Music of Desire, our fabulous flute section will be having a public masterclass with Sarah Newbold on Saturday 26th January, from 1000-1300 at the John Madejski Academy, Reading. Anyone is welcome to drop in to watch the masterclass, and there’ll be an opportunity for flautists of all ages and abilities to take part in the opening 30 minutes (and possibly some other points in between the sessions for the APO flautists). Do let music director Andrew know if you’d like to come along, especially if you’d like to take part in the group sessions.

APO Young ‘Pick Your Own Instrument’ event – Sunday 27th January

Following the terrific launch event during October’s rehearsals, our free fan club for 5-15 year-olds continues to grow. The next APO Young event will be ‘Pick Your Own Instrument’, during rehearsals for Music of Desire. For details, sign up to APO Young now via our dedicated web page.

APO makes its debut at the Are You Listening? Festival in April

Having performed in the Reading Fringe Festival for the last three years, we’re thrilled to be taking part another award-winning Reading festival: the Are You Listening? Festival, on Saturday 27th April.

More details will follow, but we can tell you that APO’s contribution will be in the form of a small string ensemble, most likely playing works by Holst and Grieg, probably with a world premiere thrown in for good measure, and all at St. Laurence Church (scene of last summer’s Latin Flavours concert at the Reading Fringe Festival).

Elizaveta Tyun makes her APO debut with Brahms in May

APO returns to the intimate surroundings and resonant acoustic of St. Joseph’s College, on Saturday 18th May, for a programme that features one


of the works given its premiere at the Reading Fringe Festival in 2017, Alice Knight’s Interwoven. It precedes

the majestic Fifth Symphony of Jean Sibelius.

The first half sees Russian virtuoso violinist Elizaveta Tyun make her debut with APO in Brahms’ Violin Concerto, which she performed to great acclaim with our friends from Crowthorne Symphony Orchestra, a couple of years ago. Our Music Director, Andrew, played oboe in that performance and was so moved by her performance that he resolved to book Liza to play it with APO!

APO returns to Reading station in July

We’re 95% certain that APO will make a second appearance at Reading railway station on the afternoon of Saturday 20th July (pending confirmation from Network Rail), in a performance that will be part of the Reading Fringe Festival (if they’ll have us!). This follows our award-winning event in 2017. This time, the theme will be #ScandinaviaAtTheStation, with works by composers from all four Scandinavian countries planned. And, like last time, there’ll be the opportunity for members of the public to have a go at conducting the orchestra. Will you be able to tame the trolls ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’?

Shostakovich 10 at The Great Hall in October

Our final concert of 2019 sees us return to the beautiful Great Hall of the University of Reading, on Saturday 19th October. After performing his epic Leningrad symphony in 2013, APO has had a little break from the music of Dmitri Shostakovich, so we can’t wait to get stuck into the dramatic and, at times, terrifying world of his Tenth Symphony, widely-acknowledged to be a (not-very-flattering) musical portrait of Joseph Stalin.

The programme will open with Derri Lewis’s River Image, which was also commissioned for and premiered during our summer 2017 Reading station event. It will be nice to perform it without announcements for the location of the toilets going off, etc.! The other piece in the first half is Grieg’s ever-popular Piano Concerto (by Grieg…), which sees a very welcome return of APO’s first ever soloist, Semra Kurutaç.