We’re looking for a new Leader


Todmorden Orchestra is looking for a new Leader.

We are looking for an experienced violinist with a high standard of playing, and who could, if required, take a string sectional rehearsal. The successful applicant will be familiar with a wide range of classical orchestral music, and able to establish a good working relationship with players. The Leader will also advise strings on technical issues / bowing and play solos as required by the programme.

Based in Todmorden, and performing in Todmorden Town Hall, we play six concerts a year, four of which are orchestral, and two which are with Todmorden Choral Society.

We have a professional conductor, Nicholas Concannon Hodges, whose ambitious and innovative programmes have both inspired the orchestra and attract regular large and loyal audiences.

We are currently playing in smaller groups in a Covid-secure venue and will resume full rehearsals and performances once it is safe to do so.

Rehearsals are on Tuesday evenings, 7.30 – 9.30pm, in Todmorden town centre, and we would expect a commitment to attend regularly.

If you wish to apply please email the Secretary, Jennifer Moorhouse, on jennifermoorhouse@hotmail.com, including details of previous experience.

For further information please email or telephone 07768 298928.

The closing date is 30 November 2020.

Make music with us


During lockdown many of us took up new hobbies or had time to rekindle past interests. There’s been space to reflect on how we want to spend our time and for more creativity and expression in our lives.

Inviting you to play with us
If you’re interested in returning to music-making, or playing in an ensemble for the first time, then we’d love to welcome you to one of our rehearsals.

We’re going to be getting together weekly from September, in a Covid-secure venue with social distancing in place, all in line with current government guidelines.

Usually we’d be rehearsing for concerts, but with no opportunities for formal performances right now, we’ll be focusing on the enjoyment we get from making music together, trying out some new pieces and some old favourites.

If you’d like to dip a toe in and see what it’s like to play in Todmorden Orchestra, please email Jennifer Moorhouse at secretary@todmordenorchestra.org.uk to find out more. Opportunities to join us will depend on space available at each rehearsal due to social distancing.

We usually meet on Tuesday evenings at 7:30pm.


Our leader Andrew takes a final bow


Andrew Rostron, Todmorden Orchestra’s leader and principal violin, has announced that he is standing down from the end of our 2019/2020 season. He became a member of the Orchestra in 2002, when he was invited to join as leader.

We asked Andrew for his reflections on his time as leader: “In terms of highlights, I’ve enjoyed all concerts with the Orchestra”, he says, “but a couple stick in my mind for different reasons. We played the Dvorak Cello Concerto the weekend after my first daughter, Hollie, was born. It was a vibrant performance and the beautiful duet between solo cello and leader towards the end seemed to encapsulate that feeling of elation at the birth of a child.

“A few years later when we played the Strauss Oboe Concerto the soloist stayed with us and developed a lovely bond with Hollie. In more recent years we have been very fortunate to have the support of Ann Widdecombe, whom we were also privileged to host. Last and by no means least, the most significant one is meeting my lovely wife Heather through the Orchestra!

“In terms of significant events, the night that I played the solo part in Danse Macabre was the night my father died, which makes one contemplate the concept of synchronicity.”

“From the point of view of what it has meant to me, I have relished the opportunity to play some of the best orchestral repertoire, and to be an active part of the local community.”

Conductor Nicholas Concannon-Hodges, says of Andrew’s term as leader:

“It has been a real pleasure to have worked with Andrew. I have appreciated and will miss his strength as a leader; his confidence and the consistency of his playing has always stood out and this has been most reassuring both for myself and the rest of the string section. Andrew will be a very hard act to follow and his departure will leave a large hole in our orchestra. I wish him the very best with all his future music making.”

Todmorden Orchestra will be recruiting a new leader over the next few months and will share details of the process soon. If you’d like to register your interest in the position please contact Jennifer Moorhouse on secretary@todmordenorchestra.org.uk.

Introducing our 2019/2020 season

An exciting season ahead – and a homecoming

The new season for Todmorden Orchestra is underway, and rehearsals have begun for the first concert on 16th November. The concert ‘Music for a Century’ includes music that was written, or received its first performance, in the 20th Century. There is music by Malcolm Arnold – his overture Peterloo which was written to mark 150 years since the terrible massacre in St. Peter’s Fields, Manchester in 1819. There is also Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird Suite’, the final version of which was completed in 1919. This suite is from a ballet based on the Russian fairy tales of the Firebird and the blessing and curse it possesses for its owner.

Last, but by no means least, the orchestra will be playing Mahler’s Symphony no.4, which was first performed in 1901. This symphony contains a song ‘Das himmlische Leben (The Heavenly Life) and is based on a child’s view of heaven. Swedish soprano Thérèse Wincent makes a return visit to sing this beautiful song in the last movement.

We’ll welcome in the New Year with a concert of dance music on the 18 January, with some surprises alongside Viennese favourites. This is followed on 21 March with a cello concerto written by a cellist – Lalo, and the serene Symphony no.3 by Brahms.

There are old favourites all round in our summer concert on 27 June. Not only a popular Berlioz overture, and Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony, but also Tchaikovsky’s much loved violin concerto, and a homecoming for Calderdale-born Martyn Jackson, who played in Todmorden Orchestra as a teen.

Martyn studied in London and Berlin and has been acclaimed by many, including the legendary violinist Ida Haendel, who described him as “one of the most exceptionally gifted violinists I have ever encountered.” Martyn’s recent concert schedule has included solo and chamber music performances at the Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall and Berlin Konzerthaus,  As a soloist, he has appeared with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and Berliner Capella. He is also leader of the Allegri Quartet and we are thrilled to welcome him back to Todmorden to close our season.

Tickets are usually £12 full price, £10 concessions and £2 for under 16s and are available by calling 01706 817333 or online here.

Becoming a patron

If you’d like to come to several concerts, it’s well worth becoming a Patron of the orchestra for a minimum subscription of £60. You’ll receive two tickets for our November, March and June  concerts in the Town Hall. Please email Jennifer Moorhouse for more details.

Highlights from last season’s reviews…

“The orchestra has successfully pushed the bounds of musical achievement in the region…we should beat a path to each concert when the season starts again in the autumn.”

“With a piece of music as well-known as Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez there is little room for error. Susani set the pace throughout, most conspicuously in the slow movement, where time was as of no consequence. Here was complete immersion and the audience held its breath.”

“The orchestra’s leader is Andrew Rostron and he came under the spotlight in one of the Strauss songs and more extensively in the Rachmaninov. In each instance his violin was burnished in tone and registered clearly.”

“The Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Liszt in its orchestrated guise is probably one of the best loved pieces in the repertory for its drama, variety and tunefulness……….This is a thrilling piece to listen to and the orchestra gave a carefully rehearsed and accomplished performance.”

We’re looking for new players

We’re looking for new players to join us in September:

  • Principal Cello
  • Flute / Piccolo*
  • Trumpet*
  • 4th Horn

To find out more about these vacancies please get in touch with our secretary on jennifermoorhouse@hotmail.com or 01706 817333. There may be an friendly and informal audition for some of these positions.

We rehearse on Tuesday evenings in central Todmorden and give 5-6 performances a year.

Please note, we are also looking to expand our string section, particularly violins. You’ll expect to face music of a grade 7 equivalent standard.

*In these sections you’ll be sharing 1st and 2nd parts with the other player

Introducing our 2018/2019 season

Our 2018/19 season offers a tantalising mix of familiar classics and the lesser known.

The first concert on 10 November features a trumpet concerto by Todmorden’s own composer, Tim Benjamin, performed by critically acclaimed soloist Simon Desbruslais, as well as pieces by Chabrier, De Falla and Rachmaninov. It will culminate in Prokoviev’s Symphony no.7.

On 19 January we have invited BBC presenter Tom Redmond to introduce our family concert Tom and Tod’s Musical Adventures. This is a short afternoon concert with children especially in mind – but everyone is of course welcome. Tom has introduced classical music to over 150,000 young people and their families in interactive concerts with the Halle.

In our 23 March concert we mark the start of Spring with up and coming Italian guitarist Giacomo Susani performing Rodrigo’s much loved Concierto d’Aranjuez. Resphigi, Liszt and Vaughan Williams’ The Wasps Suite will also feature.

And on 29 June we welcome the return of soprano Paula Sides, who will sing the Four Last Songs by Strauss. Rachmaninov’s wonderful Symphony no.2 brings the season to a close.

Tickets are usually £12 full price, £10 concessions and £2 for under 16s and are available by calling 01706 817333 or online here. Ticket prices for the family concert will be confirmed soon.

If you’d like to come to several concerts, it’s well worth becoming a Patron of the orchestra for a minimum subscription of £60. You’ll receive two tickets for each of the three* evening orchestral concerts in the Town Hall. Please email Jennifer Moorhouse for more details.

Please note that neither The Messiah with Todmorden Choral Society nor the family concert is included in the Patron subscription.

Centre Stage – our fundraising appeal

We’re launching a fundraising campaign to help with the costs of our new bespoke staging, which we use to stage our concerts at Todmorden Town Hall.

Orchestra Chairman, John Moorhouse, says:

“The new lightweight staging extension is a boon for our growing community orchestra and will enable us to delight our loyal audiences with top rank music for years to come.”

We are very grateful to have received support from Todmorden Town Council and Todmorden Choral Society and our members have helped us to raise money through playing carols at Gordon Riggs and Morrisons and our Christmas Raffle. Cellist Heather Rostron raised the bar even further raising over £500 running the Brussels Marathon.

Now we need your help. We’re hoping to raise the remaining £2000 in 2018 so that we can continue to perform ambitious concerts and bring top soloists to Todmorden.

If you are able to help us with a donation, please contact Jennifer Moorhouse at secretary@todmordenorchestra.org.uk or call 01706 817333. A big thank you to everyone for their support.

We’re looking to boost our numbers

Violin and viola players wanted

Would you like to play in our friendly orchestra with a growing reputation for ambitious, high-quality concerts? We’re looking for violin and viola players and we’d love to hear from you if you play to approx Grade 7/8 standard.

Email Jennifer Moorhouse  at secretary@todmordenorchestra.org.uk to find out more or to arrange to come along to a rehearsal and see whether we’d be a good fit for you.

We meet on Tuesday evenings 7.30-9.30pm in Todmorden Central Methodist Church and perform in 5-6 concerts a year with an exciting programme already planned through to 2019.

Welcome to our 2017-2018 season


Our upcoming 2017 – 2018 season includes a variety of orchestral delights – and an exciting new venture.

In November we welcome young up-and-coming violinist Michael Foyle to perform the Dvorak violin concerto. Brahms’ Tragic Overture begins the concert, and Tchaikovsky’s great Symphony No.6, the Pathétique, is the final work.

In January, we’re delighted to offer something new – an evening in Vienna to mark a new year. With favourites by the waltz kings – the Strauss family and others, Leopold Mozart’s Toy Symphony for our younger audience members, and much more, this new venture promises to enrapture.

In March, we’ll celebrate the arrival of spring in a concert beginning with Berlioz and ending with Dvorak’s tuneful Symphony No.8. In between local clarinettist Rachael Gibbon will perform Spohr’s captivating first clarinet concerto.

In June, our last concert of the season sees us at the cinema, with an evening of film music. From The Great Escape to The Pink Panther and including Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Mary Poppins on the way, this will be an evening of nostalgia and fun.

More information about our concerts calendar in 2017-2018

Image: Court Ball at the Hofburg by Wilhelm Gause

Fanfare for Daniel

We’re delighted that the youngest member of our orchestra, Daniel Gordon age 15, has been successful in gaining a place in the Hallé Youth Orchestra starting in September 2017.

Trumpet player Daniel joined us in September 2016 and has been mentored by our Principal Trumpet, Lawrence Killian over the course of the last year, making fantastic progress throughout our 2016/2017 concert season. Lawrence says:

“I’m delighted that Dan has attained the standard required to successfully secure a seat in the Halle Youth Orchestra. He has listened well and taken on board some high-level orchestral trumpet techniques with ease. He has gained in confidence and he can be truly proud of his achievements. Many congratulations to him.”

Hallé Youth Orchestra membership is for outstanding young musicians aged 13 to 19 years. Daniel will take part in rehearsals and concerts during term-time and in other training activities including residential courses and tours. The orchestra perform at least three times a year in the Bridgewater Hall including a ‘side-by-side’ event with the Hallé.

Daniel plays in Todmorden Orchestra alongside his parents – Karen on oboe and Alasdair on trombone. They are all thrilled at the news and are grateful to conductor Nick Concannon Hodges, Lawrence and the rest of the orchestra for their support.

Watch a short film about Hallé Youth Orchestra below: