The Havant Orchestras
Havant Symphony Orchestra was created by Peter Craddock in 1962 as a Further Education class to offer local amateur musicians an opportunity to study, rehearse and perform a wide range of orchestral music. It is now independent of FE and is made up of a mix of professional and gifted amateur players. The leader is Cathy Mathews, a professional violinist with a wealth of experience in orchestral playing, especially with the Bournemouth Orchestras.
Havant Chamber Orchestra was formed, also by Peter Craddock, in 1965 by the amalgamation of several chamber music ensembles. HCO has continued to fulfil a complementary role to HSO ever since. Like the HSO it is made up of a mix of professional and gifted amateur players. Membership is by invitation. The leader is Brian Howells who played for many years with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and now freelances.
The main season of concerts comprises 6 concerts each year, 3 by each orchestra. Additional concerts are held in smaller venues including a regular concert on Hayling Island.
One of the most important features of the concerts of both orchestras is the wide range of music performed which often includes a ‘discovered’ work - either an unknown by a well-known composer, a should-be-known by a little known composer, or even, occasionally, a commissioned work. Each concert features a soloist, whether an international star, a promising newcomer, a talented member of the orchestra or a well-known local professional.
The Bob Harding Bursary for Young Conductors
Bob Harding was the Society’s President from 1982 until 1987. He was an ardent supporter and, shortly before his untimely death, had been discussing with Peter Craddock a proposal to offer young student conductors the opportunity of working with the Symphony Orchestra.
The project was particularly close to Peter’s heart as he believed it would be a unique and wonderful opportunity for students on the threshold of their conducting careers to acquire experience and investigate repertoire as well as offering the Symphony Orchestra’s players the chance to work with new young musicians of great talent.
The Bursary was created initially from gifts donated in Bob’s memory and has, to date, helped more than twenty students in their careers including Paul Murphy (Birmingham Royal Ballet), Rumon Gamba and Jason Lai (former BBC Young Conductors) and Mark Wigglesworth.
The bursary conductor for 2014-2015 is Ignatius (Iggy) Wang, who was nominated by the Royal Marines School of Music.
The Havant Orchestra is always pleased to hear from players of orchestral instruments to around Grade 8 standard. If you would like to join, please visit our website at www.havantorchestras.hampshire.org.uk or email [email protected]
Two orchestras - Havant Symphony Orchestra, providing an opportunity for amateur orchestral players to rehearse and perform; Havant Chamber Orchestra, a semi-professional orchestra bringing live classical concerts to South East Hampshire.