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 a 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 2020/21

  A list of dates 

and this year's music

can be found

by clicking on the

2020/21 Calendar page





from 6.30pm to 9.00pm



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


Annual subscription:  £30.00


Good parking available

Covid 19: Following recent changes to HM Gov Guidelines regarding amateur music we have planned a Summer Programme of music making

(May to August 2021*), details below.

We shall be meeting on 'Covid secure' premises and complying with all relevant guidelines. 

If you are interested in joining us, and are not on our mailing list, please do NOT just turn up - we have to manage numbers in compliance with social distancing rules.  However, we would love to hear from you and put you on our mailing list - please see our Contacts page. 

*assuming Guidelines continue to permit amateur music making

Get in touch


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

A list of contacts can be found by clicking on the Contact page.


We currently have vacancies for all strings. 

For Brass and Woodwind, please enquire.


Summer 2021 programme:


Sunday 23rd May 2021

Sunday 6th June

Sunday 20th June

Sunday 4th July

Sunday 18th July

Sunday 4th August

Sunday 15th August

For full details of what we are playing and when, please get in touch via our Contacts page

Notes from our Conductor about some of the pieces we plan to play:

Beethoven - Egmont Overture Op. 84

Beethoven's music was not always as well regarded as it later became. Weber said 'Beethoven is a monster, with no respect for the nature of instruments. Clarity and precision are meaningless to him.' It was generally agreed that he was, as Goethe called him, 'an utterly untamed personality'.

The Egmont overture, along with some incidental music, was commissioned in 1809 for a new production in Vienna of a play, a tragedy Goethe had written 20 years before. The music is a drama in itself, pithy and tightly-constructed, as we expect from the great master.


Haydn - Symphony No.104 in D major

Haydn is too often dismissed as a lesser composer, usually by those who do not know much of his music; but many of his string quartets and his mature symphonies, including this one, as well as The Creation, are among the masterpieces of classical music. Composed in London in 1795, this was the 12th of Haydn's London symphonies and the last symphony he wrote. It is one of the few symphonies of its date which 'fit' our orchestra snuggly - scored for full double woodwind, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani and strings. It is in the usual 4 movements: an allegro with a slow introduction, an andante slow movement, a minuet-and-trio and a fast finale marked spiritoso.


Mendelssohn - Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave) Op. 26

Schumann called Mendelssohn 'the Mozart of the nineteenth century'. In 1829 Mendelssohn, then 20 years old, visited Britain, including a sight-seeing tour of the highlands of Scotland. While complaining, in a letter, of 'the wretchedness and comfortless, inhospitable solitude', he was greatly struck by the wild countryside. On a boat-trip to Staffa he was seasick, but came away inspired to write this overture, expressing his reactions to the rugged coastline. It has long been a favourite with audiences and players.


Schubert - Symphony No. 4 in C minor ('Tragic') D. 417

Schubert was aware of his own talent, but felt himself somewhat in the shadow of Beethoven. 'Who can ever do anything after Beethoven?' he said.

Schubert was prolific for much of his short life. Between the 3rd & 4th symphonies, of 1815 and 1816 respectively, he wrote a mass, 2 operettas, 3 violin sonatas, and many piano pieces and songs. All this at the age of 19. The composer himself gave the symphony the subtitle 'Tragic', but it really doesn't evoke tragedy at all, although it is in a minor key. The word may even have

been intended ironically, as this is genial music. The opening slow introduction is serious in tone, and the beautiful slow movement has characteristic Schubertian pathos, but neither sounds tragic. The overall form, though not the music, is similar to that of the Haydn.

Other pieces under consideration include: Mozart's overture Don Giovanni, Dvorak No. 8 and Beethoven No. 4.


Bristol Orchestral Players