About The Orchestra

Bassoon section rehearsing

Origins and Aims

The Orchestra began as an ad hoc group in March 1971 for a performance in Beaulieu with the New Forest Singers, but quickly developed into a permanent chamber orchestra called Solent Sinfonia, performing in Southampton Art Gallery. An expansion in size quickly made it possible to perform standard symphonic works and the Guildhall became a regular venue. The name of the orchestra was changed to the City Of Southampton Orchestra in 1978 by courtesy of the civic authorities. Its purpose is to promote concerts of as high a musical standard as can be achieved while maintaining the friendly approach needed to encourage regular attendance at rehearsals on a volunteer basis.

The conductor and professional soloists are paid out of concert proceeds and sponsorships. Most other activites of the orchestra are unpaid. The Orchestra is a registered charity (no. 281214) and is affiliated to Making Music (formally the National Federation of Music Societies).


The orchestra is run by a committee on behalf of its members. The committee is elected annually at the orchestra's AGM.

Programme Policy

The music played by the orchestra usually exploits the full scope of symphonic instrumentation used in 19th and 20th century orchestral works. We aim to reach a wide audience and each winter a concert is performed that is designed for family entertainment including children. In the summer, an evening of lighter and more popular pieces is performed in an informal atmosphere as an accompaniment to some refreshments.

Each of the remaining concerts contains both accessible items and less familiar, or more challenging works. We hope that the introduction of the latter will prove rewarding.

Financial Support

The Orchestra is supported from a variety of sources. The cost of weekly rehearsals is paid for by annual subscriptions from members of the orchestra. Concert expenses are funded from ticket proceeds, bolstered by income from cooperation in performances with other musical societies and generous personal and corporate support from external parties.