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We are a string orchestra of about 25 players, based in Bridport, Dorset, in a beautiful region of the south coast of England and normally perform three concerts each year.

Our players come from a wide area of West Dorset, East Devon and Somerset, mostly within 25 miles of Bridport itself.

The orchestra was formed in the autumn of 1975 by the conductor Bruce Critchinson.  There are still one or two founder members playing with the orchestra, originally the New Elizabethan Players, now known as the Bridport Chamber Orchestra

We have a broad repertoire embracing many composers from baroque to modern.

Next concert:
3pm Sunday 15th July
St Swithun's Church, Bridport

Spring 2018 Concert Review

From British patriotism to the plains of South America - Bruce Upton

Bridport Chamber Orchestra gave its spring concert last Sunday to an appreciative audience in St Swithun’s church, Allington. Pared back to strings alone, the players showed discipline and excellent tonal control as they tackled Holst’s “I Vow to Thee, My Country”, followed by Henry Purcell’s Abdelazar suite (famously used by Benjamin Britten in his “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”). The short movements which make up this piece sounded like a series of samples rather than finished works, but under the leadership of Alexandra Ennis our players conveyed their wealth of musical ideas and rhythms.

Stuart Ellsmore, on solo trumpet, then gave an exciting rendering of a concerto by Tony Hewitt-Jones, written in 1986. His brilliant attack, the unpredictable harmonies and the subtle interplay between soloist and orchestra made this an exciting piece to listen to.

By contrast, the Handel Concerto Grosso which followed it was comfortable listening, familiar and predictable but nonetheless competently given. Without the distraction of brass or woodwind parts we were able to hear the complexities of Handel’s scoring, and the balance between the different orchestral sections was well maintained.

On Sunday the global musical establishment mourned the loss of José Abreu, founder of the phenomenally successful “El Sistema” music schools in Venezuela and copied elsewhere. In tribute, and at the last minute, the orchestra performed “Alma Llanera”, a wonderful evocation of South America and a sort of unofficial National Anthem of Venezuela. We would expect nothing less from Arturo Senna, the conductor, and it made a bitter-sweet finale to an excellent concert.