St Albans Symphony Orchestra comprises professional and amateur musicians of a high standard from Hertfordshire and beyond. Its members include professionally trained musicians, teachers and music college students. The orchestra is developing into one of the UK’s leading non-professional ensembles.
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, an annual New Year concert in St Albans Abbey, weekend workshops, and chamber orchestra programmes. 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 regularly ever since, including some concerts during the Second World War when many orchestras ceased working. Former conductors include Robert Lindsay, Geoffrey Barker, Andrew Parnell, James Ross and Bjorn Bantock, who all worked to expand the Orchestra’s repertoire by 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 such distinguished soloists as pianists John Lill, Peter Katin, Juliet Allen, the trumpeter Rod Franks, Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Alexander Baillie (cello) and Anna-Liisa Bezrodny (violin). We also invite local stars and have welcomed Anna Le Hair (piano), Guy Johnston (cello), Magnus Johnston (violin), Michael Wigram (cello), Ellie Fagg (violin), Lynn Carter (piano) and Alissa Firsova (piano), as well as our own 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.