Performing Great Music • Encouraging Young Talent • Supporting Local Charities

Founded in 1919

The Guildford Symphony Orchestra is the borough’s premier community orchestra, and currently the only local orchestra offering a full, large-scale symphonic repertoire.


Next Concert – From Russia With Love!

Saturday 19th November – G Live

From Russia With LoveMusic-lovers should prepare for a big, Russian bear-hug of unabashed romanticism at the GSO’s autumn showpiece From Russia with Love. Rachmaninov’s voluptuous Second Symphony follows in a fine Slavic tradition of big, fat tunes and lush orchestration, from plaintive opening to almost manically cheerful finale, whilst the ghost of 20th century music to come nods approvingly at a dramatic scherzo, powered by a driving string ostinato.

Virtuoso pianist Masa Tayama returns to play Tchaikovsky’s Second Piano Concerto, two years after thrilling Guildford audiences (and giving the G Live piano a comprehensive workout) with the first. Given the first was declared ‘unplayable’ by contemporary pianists, the second’s reputation for a fearsome number of notes would give most players pause for thought, but Masa invariably projects serenity itself even as the sparks fly. In amongst the fireworks, the dreamy slow movement has an almost chamber-music feel about it, featuring such generous solos for the orchestra’s lead violin and cello that a pianist might feel he’d wandered into the wrong concerto!

Borodin’s The Steppes of Central Asia is an exquisitely orchestrated miniature, a tone-poem that captures the vastness of the landscape on an expansive canvas of slow string harmony, whilst clarinet and oboe melodies plaintively add a decidedly asiatic colouring. The riotous Russlan and Ludmilla Overture is altogether more familiar territory: the opening to Glinka’s setting of Pushkin’s comic melodrama is a favourite concert-piece. Professional orchestras compete to set the most furious tempo, and Darrell Davison is rarely one to back down, however much the second violins might moan. Rest assured, Lotte Lenya would get a kick out of it all…




We are offering 5 Jellinek Awards** of £200 and an opportunity to perform with the GSO on Sunday 19th February 2017 Entrants must be aged 23 or under, must live within a 40 mile radius of Guildford or have been born in Surrey


Application forms and details may be found here

Matilda Lloyd

Matilda Lloyd – UCYAC Winner 2013 and BBC Young Musician of the Year Finalist 2014


A star rises over the Aegean… and five stars for the GSO!

Jamal Aliyev won thunderous applause and a 5-star review for his performance of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No 1 in our Charterhouse concert on the 20th March. A Sunday evening, the first signs of spring, and an over-crowded week for musical events in Guildford led to a slightly thinner audience than we hoped for, but they nonetheless gave Jamal a rapturous ovation for a performance that held nothing back. Prof Forbes, reviewing for the Surrey Advertiser gave the concert the maximum five stars, commenting:

The young cellist Jamal Aliyev, born in Azerbaijan, is already an international star. His rendering of Shostakovich’s famous First Cello Concerto was a delight, with every detail lovingly attended. Technical demands and expressive communication were never in doubt.

The orchestra has been lucky enough to work with several superstars in the making over recent years, and Jamal is surely another addition to what is becoming a distinguished list of alumni. The orchestra won praise, too, for a performance of Brahms’ First Symphony described as “… memorable and authoritative”, and for the imaginative programming of Nielsen’s Helios Overture. Wendy Ratcliffe, stalwart GSO cellist and committee member over many years, spoke movingly of her personal experience of the support given by the Fountain Centre, our designated charity for the concert, which inspired the audience to part with a fantastic £640 in the retiring collection.  

The New Mighty Five…?

Our all-female UCYAC 2016 line-up, with conductor Darrell and Mary Lloyd-Jones, our fantastic president!

Our all-female UCYAC 2016 line-up, with conductor Darrell and Mary Lloyd-Jones, our fantastic president!

The best audience in several years piled into the wonderful new auditorium in St Catherine’s School in Bramley on February 21st, for what hopefully will be the first of many Una Clark Young Artists’ Concerts held there. Audience feedback about the new venue was overwhelmingly positive, with the excellent raked seats providing what one attendee described as the “…best view of the orchestra we’d ever had”, and the lovely acoustic had listeners, players and conductors alike purring. The soloists were extremely strong, standing out even though the standard has been especially high in recent years, and were given an appreciative review by the ever-generous Shelagh Godwin of the Surrey Advertiser:

… Lithuanian-born Silvja Scerbaviciute is no mean flautist! A conclusion easily reached after a performance of Poulenc’s remarkable Flute Sonata, upgraded by Lennox Berkeley into a concerto. This was a faultless performance and one of much passion in the central slow movement, and technical skill in a piece that coves a wide range. The orchestra accompanied superbly and the single orchestral flautist employed in this piece was especially good.

The full programme was Brahms – Violin Concerto (Finale)  Laure Chan – violin Albinoni – Oboe Concerto in D Minor  Nicola Hands – oboe Poulenc – Sonata for Flute  Silvija Scerbaviciute – flute Sarasate – Carmen Fantasy  Kamila Bydklowska – violin Grieg – Piano Concerto (2nd and 3rd Movements)  Sophia Dee – Piano

It’s Magic – Over 600 Bewitched!

Our 2015 Family Concert lived up to its magical billing, attracting its largest audience in a generation. An audience of well over 600 children, parents, wizards and muggles packed out the Guildford Spectrum Arena in a mesmerising show by narrator David Leonard and our own Chief Mugwump, Darrell “Dumbledore” Davison.
David Leonard captivates a young audience in our 2015 Family Concert

David Leonard captivates a young audience in our 2015 Family Concert

2016-2017 Season

FAMILY CONCERT – TOY STORIES!Sunday 2nd October at 3.30 pm, St Catherine’s School, Bramley
Mazurka –CoppeliaDelibes
Berceuse – Dolly SuiteFaure
Funeral march of a MarionetteGounod
The Top and Hobby HorseBizet
Toy SymphonyMozart
Fantastic Toy ShopRossini
The Magic BoxRichards
Nutcracker – Trepak and WaltzTchaikovsky
David Leonard – Narrator BOX OFFICE
‘FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE’Saturday 19th November at 7.30 pm, GLive   From Russia With Love
Overture – Russlan and LudmillaGlinka
 In the Steppes of Central AsiaBorodin
Piano Concerto No 2Tchaikovsky
Symphony No 2Rachmaninov
Masa Tayama – Solo Piano BOX OFFICE
YOUNG ARTISTS’ CONCERTSunday 19th February at 3.30pm, St Catherine’s School
Outstanding young soloists from the Guildford area perform concerto movements with the orchestra and are awarded the prestigious Jellinek prize.
SPRING CLASSICSSunday 26th March at 7.00 pm, Great Hall, Charterhouse School
Overture – Consecration of the HouseBeethoven
Violin ConcertoSibelius
Symphony no. 9 – Great C MajorSchubert
Joo Yeon Sir – Solo Violin BOX OFFICE
TANGO FIESTA!Saturday 20th May at 7.30 pm, GLive
Cuban OvertureGershwin
Grand TangoPiazzolla
Conga del FuegoMarquez
Tango FueroJackson
Samba BrazilianaPandeiros
Five Classic TangosSeiber/Gardel
West Side Story – SuiteBernstein
Liubov Ulybysheva – Solo Cello Tango Fiesta Dancers Sambadrome Drummers BOX OFFICE

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