Recent News

SASO’s new season: from Russia’s steppes to America’s Wild West! 9th August 2017 - From Russian steppes to American cowboy country, the music chosen for St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s 2017-18 season travels from East to West and back again. The journey begins on Saturday 14 October with an all-Russian...
Clarinet star Emma Johnson to perform with SASO 9th June 2017 - Emma Johnson – acclaimed as “Britain’s favourite clarinettist”* – will be the celebrity soloist with St Albans Symphony Orchestra for their end-of-season summer concert on Saturday 24 June (7.30pm St Saviour’s Church, Sandpit Lane, St...
Alissa Firsova and SASO to renew their performing partnership 30th April 2017 - The internationally acclaimed pianist and composer Alissa Firsova will renew her partnership with SASO on Saturday 6 May, performing the Piano Concerto No 1 by Brahms
“He completely gripped the audience with the quality of his playing…” 20th March 2017 - All sections excelled in a fine performance of Prokofiev’s rugged and technically demanding Fifth Symphony on Saturday 11 March. But it was  magnificent playing in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto by soloist David le Page that provided...
SASO set to scale two towering peaks of Russian repertoire 24th February 2017 - Two towering peaks of Russian music – a world-favourite violin concerto and one of the greatest 20th century symphonies – are being brought together for St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s concert on Saturday 11 March (7.30pm,...
“Dynamic Tom leads SASO into 2017 concert success…” 8th January 2017 - Critic Geoff Ward, writing in the Herts Advertiser, says he has never heard SASO play better than on January 2nd  at its 2017 New Year Concert in St Albans Abbey. He  praises the “sparkling” performance...
SASO prepares a musical firework display for New Year 19th December 2016 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) is preparing to detonate a fizzing mixture of musical fireworks to welcome New Year on Monday January 2nd at the Abbey (7pm). The bank holiday date may be unusual –...
‘Tom gets off to a flying start…’ as SASO’s new principal conductor 19th November 2016 - “New conductor Tom Hammond got St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s new season off to a fine start on Saturday (15 October) with a programme aimed to please,” says critic John Manning, writing in the Herts Advertiser....
SASO children’s concerts both sold out! 23rd October 2016 - Heavy demand for advance tickets mean that both SASO children’s concerts on Sunday November 6th have sold out. We look forward to seeing our capacity audiences on the day and apologise to anyone that was...
Autumn concert promises passion, fate and foreboding… 30th September 2016 - Passionate themes of love, fate and death dominate the opening concert of St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s new season – including final masterworks from the great romantic composers Tchaikovsky and Richard Strauss (7.30pm, Saturday 15 October,...
Clarinet star Emma Johnson headlines SASO’s new season 18th August 2016 - International clarinet star Emma Johnson is among a series of musical treats lined up by St Albans Symphony Orchestra for its new season which starts this autumn. Celebrated since she became the first-ever winner of the...
“….excellent playing from all concerned” 30th June 2016 - SASO’s summer concert featuring Saint-Saens Cello Concerto No1 and the monumental Symphony No 5 by Mahler has been highly praised by John Manning, music critic of the Herts Advertiser. Of the Mahler performance, he writes...
SASO summer concert mixes romance with passion, tragedy and loss 12th June 2016 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) promise a heady mixture of passion, joy and tragic loss at their summer concert – combining the romantic Cello Concerto No 1 by Camille Saint Saens with the searing intensity...
SASO plan to take audience on Elgar’s “passionate pilgrimage” 2nd May 2016 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) plans to transport its audience on a musical rollercoaster from exuberant joy to heartfelt grief when it performs Sir Edward Elgar’s Second Symphony in St Saviour’s Church, Sandpit Lane on...
Tom Hammond to conduct SASO from 2016-17 18th April 2016 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) is delighted to announce the appointment of Tom Hammond as its new Principal Conductor. Tom succeeds Bjorn Bantock, who left last summer after five years in charge. He will starting...
Elgar Symphony No 2: workshop invitation to string players for 13th/14th May 2016 11th March 2016 - WEEKEND ORCHESTRAL WORKSHOP 2016 In memory of Babs Yule (1920-2010) Friday 13th May (7.30 to 10pm) & Saturday 14th May (10.30am to 8.30pm, including concert performance) at Townsend School, High Oaks, St Albans, AL3 6DR and St Saviour’s Church,...
Critics praises “dazzling” Mendelssohn concerto 10th March 2016 - John Manning, music critic for the Herts Advertiser, was impressed  by rising violin start Cristian Grajner de Sa playing Mendelssohn’s Concerto on March 5th – and by SASO’s playing under guest conductor Leon Gee in...
Rising violin star to play Mendelssohn concerto at SASO’s March concert 29th February 2016 - One of Britain’s rising violin stars will play the hugely popular Mendelssohn Violin Concerto when St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) performs its early spring concert on Saturday March 5th (7.30pm, St Saviour’s Church,  Sandpit Lane, AL1 4DT)....
SASO’s New Year 2016 concert “a huge success”, declares critic 8th January 2016 - SASO’s New Year Concert for 2016 was “a huge success” according to John Manning, music critic of the Herts Advertiser. His review notes that: “From the start with Saint-Saens’ rousing Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah it...
SASO’s New Year’s Day resolution is to “keep dancing”! 13th December 2015 - From the cha-cha-cha and Hungarian czardas, to the mambo and Viennese waltz, St Albans Symphony Orchestra intends to “keep dancing” at its annual New Years Day concert in St Albans Cathedral (7pm, Friday 1st January). ...
“…some truly great sounds”: critic praises SASO in Dvorak Requiem 5th November 2015 - “Few who heard it in St Albans Cathedral on Saturday could fail to agree that this powerful and dramatic work should be heard far more often” writes Herts Advertiser critic John Manning , reviewing the...
St Cecilia Festival seeks new friends for Dvorak’s neglected masterpiece 15th October 2015 - When Alex Flood raises his baton to conduct Dvorak’s Requiem in St Albans Cathedral on Saturday October 31st (7.30pm) it will be 125 years to the day since the great Czech composer completed the orchestration of one...
Wanted: Little Monsters (and other furry friends) for SASO’s children’s concerts 7th September 2015 - Little monsters (furry friends as well as fiends) are  wanted on Sunday October 11th for St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s popular annual concerts for children (2pm repeated at 3.30pm, St Saviour’s Church, Sandpit Lane, St Albans)....
“…one of the best performances…ever” 2nd July 2015 - SASO’s summer concert of English music was one of its best ever, according to John Manning, music reviewer for the Herts Advertiser. He reports that in a highly-polished account of Elgar’s Enigma Variations “every member...
SASO’s summer celebration of English music 15th June 2015 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) celebrates English music at its best for its summer concert on Saturday 27th June – with leader Jennifer Wigram and her son David both featuring as soloists (7.30pm St Saviour’s...
Bjorn Bantock leaving SASO after five years at the helm 7th June 2015 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) is preparing to appoint a new principal conductor, following a decision by Bjorn Bantock to step down next month after five years at the helm. Bjorn, 42, is credited with...
Vacancy for a Principal Conductor 22nd May 2015 - Bjorn Bantock will be leaving St Albans Symphony Orchestra at the end of its 2014/15 season, creating a vacancy for a Principal Conductor. The orchestra, which brings together amateur and semi-professional players, welcomes applications for...
Orchestra’s “all-Scandinavian success story” 21st May 2015 - Herts Advertiser critic, Geoff Ward reviewing SASO’s May 9th concert writes that the orchestra has “improved immeasurably under their dynamic conductor, Bjorn Bantock” “The concert began with the popular Karelia Suite, which was Sibelius’s first...
Grieg, Sibelius and Nielsen lead SASO’s Nordic spring celebration 19th April 2015 - Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto – popular even before Morecambe and Wise hilariously put “the right notes in the wrong order” – will provide the centrepiece of the St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s spring concert on Saturday...
Weekend workshop April 24/25th: Lutosławski: Concerto for Orchestra 22nd March 2015 - Friday 24th April (7.30pm to 10pm) & Saturday 25th April (10.30am to 6pm) 2015 Townsend School, High Oaks, St Albans, AL3 6DR WEEKEND ORCHESTRAL WORKSHOP In memory of Babs Yule (1920-2010) Witold Lutosławski: CONCERTO FOR...
SASO’s Beethoven “exciting and inspirational” says critic 19th March 2015 - Herts Advertiser critic, John Manning, believes SASO’s all-Beethoven concert was one of its best concerts ever. “With members of the Hertfordshire Chorus and other local choirs as well as a team of top class soloists,...
‘Choral’ Symphony promises a rousing end to SASO’s Beethoven cycle 18th February 2015 - Beethoven’s ‘Choral’ Symphony –  among the greatest and most uplifting of all classical compositions – comes to St Albans Cathedral on Saturday March 7th (7.30pm) in a double bill with another of his best-loved works,...
“Passion in every note”: Rachmaninov at SASO’s New Year concert 8th January 2015 - Alissa Firsova’s performance of Rachmaninov’s ‘Paganini Rhapsody’ at SASO 2015 New Year Concert won high critical praise. According to John Manning, writing in the Herts Advertiser, she “breathed expression and feeling into every one of...
SASO raises more than £1,370 for charities 7th January 2015 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra collected more than £1,370 for charities over the Christmas and New Year period thanks to generosity of its audiences – and festive shoppers in the city centre. Before Christmas, the orchestra’s...
SASO serves-up a winter warmer for New Year 14th December 2014 - Sleigh bells will jingle all the way when St Albans Symphony Orchestra bid a snowy welcome to 2015 at their traditional New Year Family Concert (7pm, Thursday January 1st, St Albans Abbey). The programme features...
Reviewer hails “dazzling” Korngold at SASO’s autumn concert 28th November 2014 - John Manning, reviewer for the Herts Advertiser, found the performance of Korngold’s Violin Concerto by 25-year old virtuoso Adelia Myslov with SASO “dazzling”, “fluent” and “full of expression” bringing tremendous life to an increasingly popular...
Rising stars to shine at SASO’s autumn concert 9th November 2014 - An acclaimed young violin virtuoso takes centre stage at St Albans Symphony’s Orchestra’s autumn concert on Saturday 22nd November playing a concerto that is itself a rising star of the music world (7.30pm, St Saviour’s Church,...
Monster mayhem and mystery at SASO children’s concerts 8th October 2014 - Little monsters are invited to put on their best fancy dress and indulge in a spot of musical mayhem on Sunday October 12th at one of St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s popular annual concerts for children...
Kieran McGuirk 1949-2014 20th September 2014 - With great sadness, St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) records the death of its chair, Kieran McGuirk, aged 65. An accomplished  musician, Kieran not only played violin with SASO for more than a decade, but also...
“Remarkable” Rachmaninov provides the triumphant climax to SASO’s season 2nd July 2014 - John Manning, music critic of the Herts Advertiser, was bowled over by Alissa Firsova’s thrilling performance of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto on June 28th that brought SASO’s 2013/14 season to a triumphant conclusion. He writes:...
‘Rising star’ returns to partner SASO in Rachmaninov 16th June 2014 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) ends its season with a rousing summer finale on Saturday 28th June performing Beethoven’s sunny Symphony No 8 and Rachmaninov’s spectacular Third Piano Concerto (7.30pm, St Saviour’s Church, Sandpit Lane, St Albans). The Rachmaninov...
“The whole concert was a delight…” 15th May 2014 - Critic Geoff Ward, writing in the Herts Advertiser, says that he has never heard SASO play better than at its ‘Orchestral Colours’ concert in St Saviour’s Church on May 10th. He praises an “impeccable” brass...
SASO’s colourful spring bouquet… 30th April 2014 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) is set to celebrate spring on Saturday May 10th with music exhibiting a palette of exotic orchestral colours – including Scheherazade, Rimsky-Korsakov’s magical portrayal of tales from the Arabian Nights (7.30pm,...
“Completely dazzling” – critic praises Mendelssohn and Strauss concert 13th March 2014 - John Manning, critic of the Herts Advertiser, found Charlotte Scott’s  performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto at SASO’s March 8th concert “breathtaking” . He as also full of praise for the orchestra’s playing in Strauss’s...
SASO seeks new heights with Mendelssohn and Strauss 24th February 2014 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra are set to perform one of their most ambitious programmes on Saturday March 8th, matching an all-time favourite violin concerto with a spectacular symphony composed on an epic scale (St Albans...
“…a tremendous evening with some outstanding performances…” 10th January 2014 - SASO ‘Music from the Movies’ concert “proved once more that the Abbey and St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s traditional concert is the place to be on January 1,” according to John Manning, music critic of the...
SASO celebrates New Year with music from the movies 16th December 2013 - James Bond, The Little Mermaid, Superman and the Pirates of the Caribbean will be helping St Albans Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the start of 2014 with a musical trip to the movies.  The orchestra’s traditional New Years Day family concert...
Musical mayhem for kids at SASO’s children’s concerts 29th October 2013 - Noisy kids can look forward to fancy dress and musical mayhem on Sunday November 17th at St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s two annual concerts for children (2pm & 3.30pm, St Saviour’s Church, Sandpit Lane, St Albans)....
Choirs join forces with SASO for Brahms Requiem 14th October 2013 - Three choirs and two internationally-acclaimed soloists will join forces with SASO on Saturday 26th October to perform the German Requiem by Johannes Brahms  –  a heartfelt setting of biblical texts about death by a composer who was...
Workshop tackles the mighty ‘Leningrad’ Symphony 13th September 2013 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra has successfully brought together more than 90 musicians to take part in an epic musical commemoration of the invasion of Russia by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. The weekend...
Festival Concert ‘a tour de force’, says critic 13th June 2013 - SASO’s Festival Concert featuring Holst’s Planets Suite and soloist Giovanni Re in Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto was “a real tour de force” according to John Manning, music critic of the Herts Advertiser. Writing in the 13th...
SASO’s summer concert sets course for ‘The Planets’ 27th May 2013 - Almost a century after its was written, St Albans Abbey will reverberate to the sounds of Gustav Holst’s celestial Planets suite, performed by St Albans Symphony Orchestra as part of its yearly festival concert on Saturday 8th June...
SASO to launch Summer Music festival 12th May 2013 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra is to perform the opening concert for St Albans Summer Music: a month-long series of classical concerts, folk music and dance events. The programme under Principal Conductor Bjorn Bantock is on Saturday 8th...
SASO “in Seventh Heaven,” says critic 8th May 2013 - The Herts Advertiser was full of praise for SASO’s ‘Beethoven’s Seventh’ concert on April 27th: “St Albans Symphony Orchestra continued their progression through the symphonies of Beethoven in their concert last night at St. Saviour’s with...
Hanja and Bjorn team up for romantic concerto 23rd March 2013 - An unashamedly romantic piano concerto will bring together piano soloist Hanja Bantock with her conductor husband Bjorn for a concert with St Albans Symphony Orchestra on Saturday 27th April (7.30pm, St Saviour’s Church, Sandpit Lane,...
Magnus Johnston to interpret Beethoven’s masterpiece for violin 27th January 2013 - The Harpenden-born violinist  Magnus Johnston makes a welcome return to St Albans music-making on March 9th in an early spring concert that promises to banish winter blues with brilliant masterpieces of orchestra colouring. (7.30pm, St Saviour’s Church, Sandpit...
Romantic classics to start the New Year! 12th November 2012 - Make a romantic start to 2013 with the St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s New Year Concert! Our traditional family event in St Albans Abbey features classics that are guaranteed to bring a warm glow to the...
SASO musician reveals his heroic tenor identity! 29th October 2012 - Jonathan Finney is a valued viola player with St Albans Symphony (SASO). But on Saturday November 10th he will reveal another identity as operatic superhero, singing the role of Siegmund in a scene from Wagner’s...
Noisy kids wanted for SASO’s musical fancy-dress party! 8th October 2012 - Children of all ages will be able to experience the thrilling sound of a symphony orchestra in full cry!
Legacy helps SASO to scale the Alpine Symphony’s heights 17th September 2012 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) has celebrated the life of a woman known to many in the city as ‘”the little lady on the bicycle” by performing one of the biggest and loudest pieces of...
Festival Concert is a family affair for SASO’s conductor 7th June 2012 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s Festival Concert promises to be a family affair on Saturday 23rd June when conductor Bjorn Bantock leads the performers in music composed 80 years ago by his great-grandfather, Sir Granville Bantock...
Conductors wield the cake knife at SASO’s 80th birthday party 6th May 2012 - Three conductors helped St Albans Symphony Orchestra to celebrate its 80th anniversary last week together with violinist Jennifer Wigram – the  orchestra’s leader who has worked with all of them during the past 30 years....
SASO celebrates 80 years of music-making with top-ten classics 16th April 2012 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra is to celebrate its 80th anniversary by performing two of Britain’s best-loved classics: Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto and the Pastoral Symphony by Beethoven (7.30pm, Saturday 28th April, St Saviour’s Church, Sandpit Lane, St Albans). The young Russian-born virtuoso Alissa Firsova will...
St Albans and Watford forces combine to perform Verdi’s searing Requiem 10th March 2012 - The musical forces of St Albans Symphony Orchestra and the Watford Philharmonic Society join together this month to perform Verdi’s blazing Requiem –the most famously spine-tingling of all settings of the Latin funeral mass (7.30pm,...
Donors invited to bang the drum for SASO 7th September 2011 - Conductor Bjorn Bantock (with SASO percussioni Kieran McGuirk) needs a bigger drum to bash. St Albans Symphony Orchestra is promising music lovers plenty of boom for their bucks if they contribute to a campaign to...
ORCHESTRA RAISES RECORD SUMS FOR CHARITY 7th March 2011 - As published in the letters column of the Herts Advertiser: Dear Editor We would like to thank warmly, through your columns, everyone who contributed so generously to three different Christmas and New Year charity collections...
Dear Santa…. please bring Bjorn a groovy güiro! 7th December 2010 - Urgent message for Santa: aftershave and novelty socks won’t do for conductor Bjorn Bantock as he prepares to conduct his first New Year’s Day concert in St Albans Abbey. What he really needs for Christmas...
Anything but a quiet life… 7th September 2010 - Bjorn Bantock, SASO’s new conductor, looks forward to the orchestra’s 2010-11 season Despite an increasingly successful international career, Bjorn Bantock, who has been appointed Principal Conductor of the St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) for its...
Conductor James Ross to leave SASO after nine years of achievement 7th June 2010 - Conductor James Ross, who has led St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s to new heights of achievement is to leave the orchestra when its season ends in July. After nine years at the helm, he has decided...
Harpenden concert features dance music with a dash of genius 7th April 2010 - Harpenden concert features dance music with a dash of genius Music spanning three eras of composition – baroque, classical and romantic – will feature when St Albans Symphony Orchestra performs in Harpenden on Saturday April...
Young ‘cellist makes SASO spring concert a family affair 7th March 2010 - A prize-winning ‘cellist from a famous family of local musicians will make his solo debut with the St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) on Saturday March 13th playing the much-loved concerto by Dvorak (7.30pm, St Saviour’s...
Orchestra raises record sums for charity 7th January 2010 - 1st January 2010 Musicians from St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO) raised more than £1,300 for charities over the Christmas and New Year period – a record figure for their seasonal collections. The audience at the...
Rare brass instrument hits the low notes for Verdi’s Requiem 17th October 2009 Chris Ludwig & cimbasso 7th September 2009 - What do you get if you cross the body of a tuba with the bell of a very big, bass trombone? The audience for Verdi’sRequiem in St Albans Abbey this Saturday won’t have to puzzle...
Elgar Symphony Concert, 14th March 2009 7th January 2008 - Russian violin star English symphonic genius combines with Nordic passions for SASO’s spring concert A darkly passionate violin concerto by Finland’s most celebrated composer and arguably the greatest symphony ever written by an Englishman will...
SASO launches new season with stirring hymns against tyranny 7th January 2008 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra will launch its 2008-9 season on Saturday 18th October with Finlandia by Sibelius, one of the most stirring and best-loved compositions in the classical music repertoire (7.30pm, St Saviour’s Church, Sandpit...
St Albans Symphony Orchestra collects more than £1,000 for charity 7th January 2008 - 20th January 2008 For the second year running, St Albans Symphony Orchestra has raised more than £1,000 for charities through its musical activities over the Christmas and New Year period. A retiring collection at the...
For Auld Lang Syne: St Albans Symphony Orchestra plan a New Year Scots celebration 7th January 2008 - 20th December 2007 Scots wa’hae! The traditional New Years Day Family Concert in St Albans Abbey is turning tartan to welcome 2008 – with possibly the most unusual soloist that the St Albans Symphony Orchestra...
St Albans Symphony Orchestra starts its new season with Sax appeal! 7th January 2008 - 14th October 2007 Most people may think of the saxophone as a jazz instrument, but classical composers have also been intrigued by its plaintive sound – as St Albans  Symphony Orchestra will demonstrate on Saturday...
Tea at Three! – St Albans Symphony Orchestra raises money for The Pasque Charity 7th January 2008 - Led by Anna Ludwig, a music therapist and horn player in the orchestra, the St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO), raised £54.38 for the Pasque Hospice. Tea at Three was a campaign organised to raise awareness...
St Albans New Music Day 2007 renews the search for ‘undiscovered’ composers 7th January 2008 - 23rd June 2007 The St Albans Symphony Orchestra (SASO), supported by its professional partners at the City of London Sinfonia (CLS), is again looking for talented composers who would like to hear their music performed...
St. Albans Symphony Orchestra Celebrates its 75th Anniversary 7th January 2008 - “We hope as many people as possible will join us in the Abbey to hear one of the most demanding and exciting programmes that the orchestra has ever played. We intend to make it a...
St Albans Symphony Orchestra raises more than £1,000 for charity 7th January 2008 - 28th January 2007 St Albans Symphony Orchestra raises more than £1,000 for charity Musicians in the St Albans Symphony Orchestra succeeded in raising funds for charity to the tune of over £1,000 during the Christmas...
Pledge £1000 to help local hospices – or Simon’s beard stays on! 7th January 2008 - 10th January 2007 A close shave as St Albans Symphony Orchestra members, including conductor James Ross (left), threaten Simon Healy’s beard with the chop. Simon insists it must stay until he can raise at least...
June Concert 6th January 2008 - St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s Festival Concert promises to be a family affair on Saturday 23rd June when conductor Bjorn Bantock leads the performers in music composed 80 years ago by his great-grandfather, Sir Granville Bantock (7.30pm St Saviour’s Church, Sandpit...
SASO spring concert promises virtuosity, drama and passion 1st March 2007 - Stephen Stirling, a horn player whose performances and recordings have gained an international reputation, will play Richard Strauss’s Second Concerto. A dazzling horn concerto – featuring one of Europe’s leading soloists – will be matched...