top of page



Are you interested in playing in a friendly orchestra that meets once a month to work on the orchestral repertoire, and with NO ticket selling?


We could be the orchestra for you!  Please read on.......

How we began


Bristol Orchestral Players was formed in 1963 by a small group of musical friends at Southmead Hospital. Since then it has expanded into a fun and friendly group of musicians of differing ages and experience drawn from Bristol and beyond.


For more information about the music we enjoy playing, please click on the About Us page.



We play for the pleasure of working on and getting to know the orchestral repertoire. 


From September to March, we meet monthly, usually on the third Sunday, to focus on a couple of works (usually one symphony and one overture) for two successive sessions before moving on to explore new works for the next two rehearsals and so on.  

Between April and June, we meet more regularly (up to five times)  preparing for our annual concert – which is given free to family and friends, followed by an Americian supper style buffet.


We don't take ourselves too seriously but we do work hard at playing the music to as high a standard as possible. 


With only one concert (free!) a year, there is NO TICKET SELLING....  . Friends and family are warmly invited.



Season 2023/24

  A list of dates 

and this year's music

can be found

by clicking on the

2022/23 Calendar page



Julian Dale



from 6.30pm to 9.00pm



St Peter'sChurch Hall, The Drive,  Henleaze Bristol BS9 4LD.


Annual subscription:  £35.00


Good parking available

Get in touch


The orchestra is affiliated to "Making Music" and managed democratically.

For contact information, please see the Contact page.


We currently have vacancies for all strings; also horns

For other Brass and Woodwind, please enquire.


Notes from our Conductor about our 2023/24 Programme (First Term)

As always, most of this year's programme is made up of pieces requested by members of the orchestra.  

Otto Nicolai  Overture 'The Merry Wives of Windsor'

Nicolai's comic opera, based on the Shakespeare play, was composed in the 1840s and remains popular in Germany. This lively, colourful overture, new to BOP, is his only piece well-known in the UK.

Mendelssohn Symphony No. 5 in D major/D minor, the 'Reformation', Op.107

This was actually the second symphony Mendelssohn composed, in 1830 when he was 21, apart from the symphonies for strings he wrote in his teens. It appears to have been performed only once during the composer's lifetime. He himself dismissed it as juvenilia, and it was not published until some years after his death. He had originally labelled it as being in D major, but not very much of it is in that key. The work is in four movements, of which the first and last are in sonata form, the second is a playful scherzo and trio and the third a sombrely beautiful slow movement in G minor. The finale begins and ends with, and is based on, the chorale 'Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott' by Martin Luthor.


Brahms  Variations on a Theme by Haydn Op 56a 'The Saint Anthony Variations'

When this was composed, in 1873, whole orchestral works in the form of theme and variations were very unusual. The work from which Brahms borrowed the theme (from a movement headed 'Chorale St Antoni') is no longer attributed to Haydn, hence the alternate title which is often now used. Some of the variations are in a complex contrapuntal style not often found in music of the Romantic period.


Dvorak  Symphonic Variations Op 78

It has been claimed that Dvorak deliberately chose, in 1877, a theme (from a song of his own for male-voice choir) which seemed unpromising as a basis for variations, as a challenge to himself. He certainly rose to that challenge, though his publisher was not impressed, & declined to print it until it had achieved success, championed by conductor Hans Richter, 10 years later.


bottom of page