The Solway Sinfonia

Welcome to the Solway Sinfonia website.  This is a forum to disseminate information about our orchestra for both our members and any other interested parties.  Please see the news page for current information.  A full list of all music played by the Solway Sinfonia over the years is available here.

The Solway Sinfonia is a not for profit amateur orchestra based in Dumfries & Galloway.  Its members are drawn from the south of Scotland and north of England.  Although it is an amateur orchestra, many of its members have made their careers in music and all play to at least around Grade 7.  The aim of the orchestra’s members is to attain a high standard of musicianship in concerts.  The orchestra puts on two major concerts per year as well as one or two smaller ones.  Rehearsals are limited to about six in order that the music making is fresh and fun.

The orchestra is also on Facebook.

History

In the late 1970s, the municipal orchestra based in Dumfries folded through lack of interest and falling musical standards.

Then from around 1985 an ad-hoc orchestra called the Galloway Chamber Orchestra, based in Newton Stewart, came into being under the leadership of Dave Montgomery from Creetown.  This took the form of a group of his friends and colleagues from the region and beyond giving a concert every spring in Newton Stewart and occasionally elsewhere.

In 1995, Girthon Church, Gatehouse of Fleet hosted a performance of the Faure Requiem 'from scratch' with an ad hoc group of musicians.  One of the violinists, Sarah Berker, subsequently asked the conductor, Geoff Keating, if he would conduct the first performance of her 'Caerlaverlock Suite', written for the 40th anniversary  celebrations of the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve.  The sights and sounds of both the NNR and adjacent Wildlfowl and Wetlands Trust Reserve were the inspiration for her work.  A concert was organised in Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries on October 12th 1997 with an orchestra of some sixty players.

The success of this event spawned the idea of an orchestra which would convene as required for a couple of concerts each year.  We were very fortunate that Geoff conducted us for 21 years.  Click here to read a little potted history about him.  However he decided to retire and we have therefore gone through the process of finding his successor.  Three excellent candidates were auditioned on 13 January 2019.  The successful candidate was Hilario Flores-Coni, originally from Argentina, but now based in Glasgow.  Welcome to the orchestra Hilario!

Members of the orchestra are drawn from a very wide area - from Glasgow to Penrith and from Whithorn to Jedburgh.  We rely on the goodwill of our members who play for the love of doing so and also on generous sponsorship and patronage. 

We have aimed to put on a major concert in Dumfries in the late Autumn with a smaller event in the Spring elsewhere.  So far we have performed in Newton Stewart, Lockerbie, Castle Douglas, Carlisle, Kirkcudbright, Gatehouse of Fleet, Langholm, Annan, Stranraer and Moffat.  We would value any suggestions for other suitable venues.

Orchestra Vacancies

We are always keen to hear from players of any orchestral instrument.

We perform two main concerts a year with four or five rehearsals before each. Numbers of players required vary depending on the repertoire performed, but for those members who are able to play in concerts a membership subscription is payable. This is currently £15 for the first concert of the season and £10 for the second. Modest travelling expenses are available to help players attend rehearsals and concerts.

We aim to achieve as high a standard of playing as possible. We therefore expect members to play at at least grade 7.

If you are interested in joining us please contact us via contact@solwaysinfonia.org.uk with your contact details and a brief description of your playing experience. We will respond as soon as possible.

The Orchestra's Charitable Work

The Solway Sinfonia likes, every spring or summer, to put on a concert in support of a local charity or a local branch of a national charity.  If you are involved with a charity which you think might like the Solway Sinfonia to play for it at a fund raising event please get in touch through our mailbox.  You can find a short explanation of the way such charity concerts would normally be managed by clicking on the link below.

Charitable Concerts