ABOUT THE SSO
The Southend Symphony Orchestra was formed as an association in 1921 from the orchestral section of the Westcliff Operatic and Dramatic Society. The aims of the orchestra were, and remain to this day “to perform, for the benefit of members and friends, the works of the Great Masters as created in Overtures, Symphonies and Concertos for Solo Instruments”. There were few opportunities at this time to hear such works outside of London, other than that performed by Military Bands.
Under the baton of Miles Hook the orchestra took off and a high standard was achieved, leading in 1936 to us becoming affiliated with the National Federation of Music Societies.
The Orchestra continued under several different conductors until the outbreak of the Second World War, and was revived in 1946. To attract the new post-war audiences, several notable soloists were engaged including; Eric Harrison, Trefor Jones and Philip Hattey. The Orchestra rapidly gained the respect of its audiences.
Since the war there have been several different conductors at the helm including John Bates, Christopher Adey, Michael Hamm, Ray Maulkin and Antoine Mitchell. who’s great enthusiasm and energy have inspired the players to give their best, ensuring the Southend Symphony Orchestra remains the premier orchestra in Southend.
The Orchestra has been presented on a number of occasions by the Southend Music Club including performances of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with Philip Fowke, Mahler’s 3rd Symphony when we were joined by the Essex Symphony Orchestra, the Claire Singers, Fidelio Singers and the internationally renowned Southend Boys’ Choir and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Arthur Pizzaro.
The Orchestra has also linked up with the Leigh Orpheus Male Voice Choir and Sweyne Choral Society for performances of Cerabini’s Requiem, Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony and many other works.
The year 2000 was celebrated with joint concerts with the Essex Symphony Orchestra performed both in Southend and Chelmsford of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 . Two memorable performances.