Big year ahead for Burgess Hill Symphony Orchestra

Pavlos Carvalho. Picture by Alison Willows
Pavlos Carvalho. Picture by Alison Willows

Rehearsals are underway for members of the Burgess Hill Symphony Orchestra as they prepare to celebrate their 40th anniversary this year.

The orchestra was founded in 1979 as the Martlets Sinfonietta under conductor Stephen Evans, the orchestra’s vice-president, and the current conductor, Michael Stefan Wood BEM, took over in 1982.

Since those humble beginnings, the orchestra has gone from strength to strength, becoming a fully- fledged symphony orchestra in 2000, playing a range of challenging works such as Beethoven Symphony No. 9, Mahler 1, Bruckner 4, Saint-Saens Organ Symphony and Holst’s Planet Suite. In 2015 the orchestra was delighted to announce that Katie Derham, the BBC presenter, was to become president. She joined them for their very successful sell-out 2017 Spring Concert, which was a celebration of the 85th Birthday of John Williams.

Orchestra publicity officer Alison Biggs said: “This is going to be a very exciting year. We have our usual three concerts with our big 40th Anniversary Proms concert on Saturday, November 16, with works including Jerusalem, Fantasia on British Sea Songs and Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Our summer Classics in the Park concert, as part of the Burgess Hill Festival, is on Sunday, June 2.

“But coming up next, the orchestra are delighted to be working again with renowned local cellist Pavlos Carvalho. He will be playing the Dvorak Cello Concerto in B Minor.

“Pavlos is a prize-winning musician and has played in many venues including the Purcell Room, Cadogan Hall, the Royal Albert Hall and the Teatro dal Verme, Milan. His most recent performances include the famous Elgar cello concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dvorak Cello concerto with the Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra. He is particularly looking forward to performing it again as it is his favourite concerto and one that he describes as ‘the most epic concerto’.

“As well as performing, he is heavily involved in musical outreach and education work and is a founding member of Ensemble Reza, which among other things, aims to inspire young musicians in the area. The BHSO regularly works with Ensemble Reza and the Community orchestra they set up. The BHSO will also be playing the famous Rossini Overture to The Barber of Seville and Brahms Symphony No. 2 in D. It promises to be a very popular evening so please book your tickets early!”

The concert is on Saturday, May 11, at St Andrew’s Church, Junction Road, Burgess Hill. Tickets are £12.50 (accompanied under-16s are free) and are available from Burgess Hill Help Point, online from bhso.org.uk/box-office, 01444 232067, or on the door for £15.

Contributed by Burgess Hill Symphony Orchestra