North Staffs. Symphony Orchestra

North Staffs Symphony Orchestra

Registered Charity No. 1031372

Site updated - 9th May 2008- Alan Holder soloist information added,

If you are a string player who would like to join the orchestra please click here

Conductor : Peter Stallworthy

Guest Conductor : Ewa Strusinska

Leader : Sheila Dexter

Committee & Officials Links Friends Newsletter
Centenary History Book Concert reviews

2007/08 Concerts

Next Concerts

Saturday 28th June 2008 7:30pm - Jubilee Hall, Stoke-on-Trent

Conductor - Eva Strusinska, Soloists - Alan Holder (Trumpet) & Anna Bradburn (Recorder)

Liszt - Les Preludes

Sammartini - Recorder Concerto

Mussorgsky - Night on A Bare Mountain

Arutunian - Trumpet Concerto

Khachaturian - Masquerade Suite

Saturday 12th July 2008 , St Michaels Church, Stone (Stone Festival)

Conductor - Peter Stallworthy, Soloist - To be announced

Elgar - Serenade for Strings

Beethoven or Brahms - Violin Concerto

Haydn - Symphony 104


2008/09 Season

Saturday 15th November 2008 7:30pm St John Fisher High School, Newcastle

Conductor - Peter Stallworthy, Soloist - Laurence Perkins

Dukas - Overture: La Peri Fanfare

Weber - Andante and Hungarian Rondo for Bassoon and Orchestra

Ferdinand David - Bassoon Concerto

Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique

Saturday 24th January 2009 7:30pm St John Fisher High School, Newcastle

Conductor - Peter Stallworthy, Soloist - Simon Callaghan

Rossini - Overture: Barber of Seville

Beethoven - Emperor Piano Concerto

Beethoven - Symphony No. 5

Saturday 28th March 2009 7:30pm Jubilee Hall, Stoke-on-Trent

Conductor - Peter Stallworthy, Soloist - Holly McGarry

Glinka - Overture: Russlan and Ludmilla

Bruch - Violin Concerto

Bruckner - Symphony No. 3

Saturday 27th June 2009 7:30pm Jubilee Hall, Stoke-on-Trent

Conductor - Guest, Soloist - Frank Procter

Grieg - Holberg Suite

Mozart - Horn Concerto No. 3

Haydn - Symphony No. 101 (Clock)

Tickets for the above concerts can be pre-booked but there are no seat numbers allocated.Prices are £7.50 or £3 for children or students.To obtain tickets, either send a cheque to Chris Baggs, 31 Bullrushes Close, Lakeside, Etruria, Stoke on Trent, ST1 5GF (Please include a postal address and allow a few days to arrive). Alternatively , tickets can be obtained from A major music - Bridge St, Newcastle under Lyme (Tel 01782 634634).

NSSO Background

The North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra began its life in humble surroundings - in a draughty timber merchant's shed in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, in 1903. The orchestra was formed by the young and talented musician, John Cope. Cope had recently returned to the Potteries from Munich where he had been studying the organ with Rheinberger and was encouraged to establish the orchestra by his former teacher and mentor, Madame Reymond.

The orchestra was given the name of The Potteries Orchestral Society and drew amateur musicians from miles around the district. Cope was a task master and instilled on the members of the orchestra the disciplines so necessary for the enterprise. Players were worked hard but they began to love what Cope was beginning to achieve.

The orchestra's first concert was held in the Old Town Hall in Burslem but the audience was very small. Choral singing at the time was a very strong tradition in The Potteries and the launch of a new purely orchestral music society was thought of as something superfluous. In fact many local choirs shunned the orchestra and Cope was often ridiculed by fellow choir masters. Cope and his orchestra carried on.

In 1906 the orchestra changed its name to The North Staffordshire Orchestral Society and its first concert given in Hanley was in the Victoria Hall on November 1st. Although local interest was again poor, support did come from further afield and Sir Granville Bantock and Ernest Newman of Birmingham were very keen to see the orchestra succeed. Newman attended the concert and was delighted with the performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with Lady Halle as soloist. The concert also included Sibelius's newly composed Finlandia.

In 1907 the name was changed again, this time to The North Staffordshire Orchestra and yet again in 1909 to The North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra. During those early years Madame Reymond was a major patron and supporter of the orchestra. She was successful in persuading none other than Sibelius to become a fellow Patron. She had come to North Staffordshire from Denmark in 1887 and set up a private music school at Beethoven House in Moorland Road, Burslem. It was here that she first spotted Cope and encouraged his musical talent. She helped to manage the orchestra and indeed funded it by carrying much of its costs. As today there was no profit in classical music making, only losses.

By 1919 her personal funds ran out and Madame Reymond was forced to withdraw her support. There is no doubt that we owe a debt of gratitude to the lady who helped the birth of the NSSO. She died in 1926.

The orchestra continued to grow in stature under Cope's direction until in 1954 at its Jubilee concert he decided to retire. He died at his home in Charles Street, Hanley in April 1962 and was buried in the same grave as Marie Reymond in Hanley cemetery.

Notes by Terry Woolliscroft ( This info also shown at" > )


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