St Albans Symphony Orchestra brings together professional and amateur musicians of a high standard from Hertfordshire and beyond. We present a full season of large-scale concerts in St Albans and the surrounding region. These include major symphonic repertoire, concertos with leading soloists and an annual New Year concert in St Albans Cathedral. In 2003 the Orchestra gave its first concert in London, playing the Elgar Cello Concerto and Sibelius’s Symphony No.5 at St John’s Smith Square.
The Orchestra was founded in 1932 as the St Albans Orchestral Society. It has performed ever since, including some concerts during the Second World War when many amateur orchestras ceased working. Former conductors include Robert Lindsay, Geoffrey Barker, Andrew Parnell, James Ross and Bjorn Bantock, who all worked to raise standards and expand the Orchestra’s repertoire through ambitious programming. This tradition continues under the baton of Tom Hammond who in 2016 took on the role of Principal Conductor.
The Orchestra has welcomed many distinguished soloists who, in more recent years, include the violinists David Le Page and Magnus Johnston, cellist Guy Johnston, clarinettists Emma Johnson and Julian Bliss (aged 9), and horn players Pip Eastop, Stephen Stirling and Ben Goldscheider. We are always keen to work with local stars, and these include Alissa Firsova and Lynn Carter (piano), Ellie Fagg (violin), Michael Wigram (cello), David Wigram (saxophone), Jonathan Finney (tenor) and our own former Leader, Jennifer Wigram.
SASO is proud of its record in building new audiences, including its child ticket promotion attracting many young people to concerts, and its annual Concerts for Children.