Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra offers first concert in two years

Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra is offering its first concert in two years on Sunday, October 24.

Dominic Doutney
Dominic Doutney

Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra is offering its first concert in two years on Sunday, October 24.

John Thornley, ESO concert manager, is delighted to report the musicians are resilient and raring to go after so many months of frustration and disappointment.

The concert will be at 7pm in St Saviour’s Church featuring Glinka Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture; Schumann Symphony No 3 (Rhenish); and Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2; conductor Graham Jones; leader Lisa Wigmore.

“ESO has its own Young Soloist Competition, in Jan/Feb every year and the winner of this is offered a concert with the ESO in the summer or autumn,” John said.

Obviously, that couldn’t quite work this year. Instead they welcome Dominic Doutney.

“This is the first time that the orchestra has teamed up with another local competition (Norah Sande Award) – a piano competition – and the winner of their competition from last July is Dominic who is our soloist on October 24. One of the orchestra’s goals is to find opportunities for young musicians. The ESO’s Young Soloist Competition takes place as usual in Jan/Feb 2022.

Tickets (all £15) are available from Wegottickets; tickets (£14 in advance; £15 on door) (concessions for ESO Friends) from Reid and Dean, 43-45 Cornfield Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4QG or [email protected] or 07780 993801.

John added: “What we are really pleased about is that the players are all really keen to play again. Because of the proximity in orchestras and players being fairly close together, we wondered whether they would be worried about coming together. But we had our first rehearsal in a hurricane and a flood and in the middle of a fuel shortage, and they all turned up. There were about 45 and we were very pleased to see almost all of them back. It tells you that musicians are a very resilient bunch!

“The way we work is that we have a group of players, the core group, of about 45 and we fill up the gaps with students from the music colleges.”

The key point is that they have clearly survived the pandemic: “The finances of the orchestra at the moment are OK. It was always a problem balancing income and bums on seats and outgoings, but we are surviving. We are in our 42nd year. We have consistently done three concerts a year for the last 41 years apart from when the pandemic hit us.”

After the autumn concert, ESO will be looking forward to the 34th Annual Young Soloist Competition. The first round will be on January 22 and 23 2022; the final round will be on Sunday, February 13. Next will be the spring choral concert: Haydn The Creation, Sunday, May 8 at St Saviour’s Church, conductor Graham Jones, leader Lisa Wigmore, soprano Rachel Shouksmith, tenor Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks and bass Christopher Dixon with Eastbourne Symphony Chorus and Eastbournian Society Chorus. The summer concert will be Sunday, June 26 at 7pm at St Saviour’s Church, programme to be confirmed, followed by the 2022 autumn concert on October 23.