Southern Pro Musica - orchestra

The Southern Pro Musica evolved from a need for a professional orchestra to provide support for choirs based in Hampshire and West Sussex. The availability of increasing numbers of fine free-lance musicians choosing to base their careers in the south, together with the demise of the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, enabled the orchestra to enlarge its area of operations to work with choral societies further afield and to undertake purely orchestral engagements. The orchestra was renamed Southern Pro Musica and its first engagement was an opera gala in Portsmouth Guildhall in August 1991.

The orchestra now performs regularly with the Chichester Singers, Portsmouth Choral Union and the Petersfield Festival and has also worked with the Winchester Music Club, Southampton Choral Society, Dorset Guild of Singers, Leith Hill Festival, Epworth Choir, Sussex Chorus and the Wokingham Choral Society. In 1992 the orchestra was invited by the Southern Orchestral Concerts Society to become the resident chamber orchestra for its annual concert series based at Petersfield Festival Hall. In this series it has performed with many distinguished national and international soloists. The orchestra also undertakes an annual series of children’s concerts each year, introducing live orchestral music to many thousands of young listeners in Winchester, Petersfield, Worthing, Portsmouth, Chichester, Southampton, Guildford and Dorking. These concerts have in recent years been generously supported by the John Lewis Partnership.

The Southern Pro Musica made its first commercial recording in 2001 when Priory Records issued a recording of Jonathan Willcocks’s choral works with the English Cathedral Singers, and further recordings have since appeared including a collaboration with the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain and a CD of music for narrator and orchestra with the distinguished musician and broadcaster Bryan Kay.

The orchestra is ambitious to expand its concert-giving to further venues in the south of England, both in orchestral programmes and in collaboration with choirs, and recent funding initiatives have included support from the Foyle Foundation to encourage more children from state schools to attend orchestral concerts.

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