Firmly established as the Chamber Orchestra for the Heart of England, Orchestra of the Swan is ten years old in October.
Artistic Director David Curtis was asked to form an orchestra for a concert for the 1995 Stratford-on-Avon Music Festival (which itself celebrates its tenth birthday this year). "It was an unexpected invitation but one that was intriguing and with tremendous possibilities" reflects David Curtis. "There was from the outset a clear vision of the aspirations for this chamber orchestra."
The Orchestra celebrates double figures with concerts in the Stratford-on-Avon Music Festival - a family concert on Sunday 16 October and the first of its regular Wednesday series concerts on Wednesday 19 October. The repertoire in both concerts demonstrates how the orchestra has realised its aspirations, and has developed its reputation for interesting programming, commitment to living and lesser-known composers and to young artists, and involving the community, with works by Paul Patterson and Frank Bridge alongside Vivaldi, Mozart and Prokofiev, David Quigley performing Beethoven's 3rd piano concerto, and children from Stratford primary schools taking part in the family concert.
From that first concert for the Stratford Festival, Orchestra of the Swan now gives over 40 concerts a year throughout the Heart of England alone, performing in venues from Symphony Hall to village hall, to Birmingham International Airport Fire Station! Working with numerous partners and voluntary groups the orchestra has residencies throughout the region and has developed an enviable education programme, and has worked in over 40 schools and colleges. The 'Take Note!' and 'Music of Our Time' contemporary music projects have brought national recognition to the orchestra, and the orchestra leads the way with innovative partnerships with the corporate sector.
Quite apart from bursting into double figures, the Orchestra of the Swan has plenty of cause for celebration this autumn and beyond.
The season began in early September with an Arts Council-funded ten-concert tour to Festivals and venues throughout the UK and Wales.
The orchestra is at its home venue of Stratford-upon-Avon's Civic Hall in October for the first of its Wednesday Classics series.
In November there's the first of four pairs of New Notes! concerts, each of which has a commissioned work, in Stratford and Cheltenham's Pittville Pump Room.
And then, in December the Live 'n' Rural series which takes the Orchestra to Southam and Shipston-on-Stour begins.
Throughout the year there are the orchestra's usual concerts in Stratford for Christmas and Shakespeare's birthday, and at Stoneleigh Abbey, as well as appearances in Dorking, Sutton Coldfield, Warwick, and the Three Choirs Festival.
The unique development partnership between Orchestra of the Swan and Birmingham International Airport moves into its third year, with performances in the airport and an innovative community programme for local schools and airport staff.