Southend Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) began as the ‘Southend on Sea Music Club Orchestra’ in 1945 as part of the Music Club, set up by the late Madam Freda Parry O.B.E.

In 1947 the name was changed to Southend Philharmonic Orchestra. Until 1968 all concerts were held on Sunday afternoons. The tradition of three concerts each year has been continued to the present day.

Stuart Mitchell
March 1945 – October 1967
Following demobilisation Stuart became the Orchestra’s first permanent conductor. He stayed for over 20 years, during which the Sunday afternoon concerts became an established feature of Southend’s musical life.

George Mowatt
December 1967 – May 1970
George had earlier performed with SPO as the soloist in a Mozart piano concerto in 1951 and became a regular member of the Orchestra both as a player – double bass and percussion – and as secretary and chairman. In 1967 he took up the baton to become the Orchestra’s second permanent conductor. It was while he was conductor that performances changed from Sunday afternoons to Saturday evenings. George guided the Orchestra through two crises, lack of funds and lack of players. Such was his success at ‘turning the Orchestra round’ that the 25th Anniversary Concert was given in 1969 to great acclaim, with two well known and popular soloists of the time; Sidney Harrison and Molly Houldsworth.

Derek Harper
February 1971 – October 1979
Derek followed the tradition of having played in the Orchestra. For over 20 years, he played as a violinist and percussionist, before picking up the baton. Under Derek’s leadership the Orchestra performed many celebrity and charity concerts including a patriotic concert to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. Derek’s last concert was in October 1979.

Christopher Wood
March 1980 – July 1989
Christopher trained as a pianist at the Royal Academy of Music. Under Christopher the Orchestra was introduced to modern music and played much of the music of Sir Michael Tippett. Concerts in a variety of venues outside Southend were undertaken at this time including St John’s Smith Square in London. One notable open-air concert in Priory Park took place on a wet and windy day. The concert finished with a great flourish with the 1812 Overture and the obligatory fireworks.

Alan Gardner
November 1989 – July 1995
Alan was born near Southend and was a music teacher in a local Grammar School. He had been associate conductor of Southend Symphony Orchestra, and conductor of the local Sweyne Choral Society, when he took over the baton for SPO. Under his guidance Southend Philharmonic featured, as soloists, members of the Orchestra, local singers and instrumentalists, and professional performers at the start of their careers. The latter included cellist Caroline Dale, violinist Candida Thompson and the talented local cellist Sarah-Ann Barnes.

Lance Oliver
November 1995 – July 2001
Born locally, Lance began to play the violin at the age of six and three years later joined many of the local orchestras. At the age of thirteen whilst studying with Brenda Farrow, he performed his debut concerto with South East Essex Sixth Form College Orchestra. After a period of study with Detlef Hahn at the Guildhall School of Music, he went on to study at the Royal College of Music under Peter Manning where he also studied conducting and composition.
Since graduating, Lance has pursued a career as a violinist playing in a variety of orchestras and ensembles, including the orchestras of the BBC, the orchestra of the Royal Ballet of Birmingham and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Lance has performed with many stars from both the classical world and the West End including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Maria Friedman, Michael Legrand, Luciano Pavarotti, Nigel Kennedy and Lesley Garret, as well as special projects and tours involving Sir Simon Rattle, Elton John, Andrea Bocelli and Warner Brothers. Most recently he took part in a concert at Priory Park with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Lance is also active as a local teacher and music director, having been conductor of Southend Philharmonic Orchestra from 1995-2001 and currently the music director for the Southend Operatic and Drama Society. Lance has enjoyed a special relationship with the SPO for many years as player, leader and four times as a soloist with the Orchestra.

After Lance left, to pursue his professional career, the Orchestra invited three ‘guest’ conductors, for the following year 2001 – 2002:

Richard Brittain – November 2001

David Stanley – March 2002
Also conducts www.seyso.org.uk

Ian Walker – July 2002
Also MD of www.eastwoodchorale.co.uk

After holding auditions during the autumn term 2002 the Orchestra invited Andrew Morley to become its seventh permanent conductor.

Andrew Morley
January 2003

“What we heard was a marvel … the most convincing, gripping, sheerly beautiful realisation of Gruppen that I’ve heard.” – Sunday Times
Andrew studied conducting with Denis McCaldin at Lancaster University and subsequently won the Hertford Choral Scholarship to study with Peter Stark at Trinity College of Music (TCM). Having graduated with distinction, winning the Ricordi Conducting Prize, he is now in demand as a teacher and conductor in and around London.
At Trinity, Andrew’s conducting work included Aaron Copland’s ballet Appalachian Spring with the TCM Sinfonia, Heinz Holliger’s experimental study in breath, Pneuma, with the TCM Wind Orchestra, and a concert of film music arranged by the late Stanley Black with the TCM Symphony Orchestra. In recognition of his successes Andrew was chosen as Trinity’s entry for the intercollegiate Harriet Cohen Memorial Awards.
Recent performances include Malcolm Arnold’s Symphony No. 3, Berlioz’s Harold in Italy with the talented violist Samuel Burstin and a charity performance of Stockhausen’s rarely performed Gruppen for three orchestras. In addition he has held teaching posts at Lancaster University, Trinity College of Music and currently works with the Trinity College of Music Junior Choir, the Stoneleigh Choral Society, The Wallace Ensemble, St. Paul’s Sinfonia and the Southampton University Sinfonietta. In February 2004 Andrew was awarded first prize at the Allianz-Cornhill Musical Insurance Conducting Competition having received unanimous votes from both jury and orchestra.

1945Frank TittertonTenor
Doris BowersPiano
Daphne RoadnightMezzo Soprano
Frederick WallaceBaritone
1946Daphne RoadnightMezzo soprano
Florence RoadnightPiano
Conrad LewisNarrator
1947Daphne RoadnightSoprano
Frederick WallaceBaritone
Samuel ArtisViolin
Alan HuntCello
Betty PeirsonPiano
1948Betty PeirsonPiano
Heddle NashTenor
Betty PeirsonPiano
1948Irene ScharrerPiano
1949Winifred HuntPiano
Bernice HicksSoprano
Gwen RalphContralto
Dan MerrittTenor
Adrian DesmondBaritone
Alicia ChislettPiano
1950Mrs S.L. LastPiano
Brenda FarrowViolin
George DarvellOboe
Ethel WalkerPiano
Olivia QuinleySoprano
Adrian DesmondBaritone
1951George MowattPiano
June HarwoodMezzo-Soprano
1952Sally Anne MaysPiano
Ethel WalkerPiano
1953Cecil BarkerViolin
Ron GriffithsCello
Brenda FarrowViolin
Daphne WoodNarrator
Alice HutchinsonMezzo-Soprano
George DarvellOboe
Brenda FarrowViolin
Howard LingFlute
Gillian HabgoodViolin
George MowattPiano
1954David DelaruePiano
Roy DowlingDouble bass
Winifred NancarrowViola
1955Brenda FarrowViolin
Joseph LockViolin
George MowattPiano
Brenda FarrowViolin
Ronald MeachenPiano
1956Herbert HaddockViolin
Eric YoungsClarinet
Brenda FarrowViolin
Joseph LockViolin
1957John CurtisBaritone
Brenda FarrowViolin
Joseph LockViolin
George MowattPiano
Mary HarrisonPiano
Michael GoodwinHorn
1958Rosalyn ElvinNarrator
Mary HarrisonPiano
Eric YoungsClarinet
Daphne EdwardsSoprano
Joseph LockViolin
John CurtisBaritone
Ronald GriffithsCello
Annette ChesherSoprano
Ronald MeachenPiano
1959Margaret Murray &Piano
George MowattPiano
Nigel NewittViolin
1960Margaret MurrayPiano
Betty ColliniSoprano
Peter WillisonCello
Audrey SimpsonVoice
Ronald MeachamPiano
1961Betty ColliniSoprano
Peter WillisonCello
Brenda Farrow &Violin
Joseph LockViolin
Ronald MeachenPiano
1962Betty ColliniSoprano
Leonard HillierTenor
John CurtisBaritone
Martin JonesPiano
1963John AlvisTenor
Brenda FarrowViolin
George MowattPiano
1964Cecil BarkerViolin
Alan GirlingViolin
1965William GordonHorn
Eileen ShultsSoprano
George MowattPiano
Soo Bee LeeSoprano
Lesley EmmisonOboe
Eric YoungsClarinet
Kenneth StewardBassoon
David PreslandHorn
1966Leon GreeneVoice
1967Jennifer HillClarinet
Ronald MeachenPiano
Mary CottonOboe
1968Molly HouldsworthVoice
Christopher NichollsVoice
Pauline JohnsonPiano
1969Joseph Locke & Alan GirlingViolins
Iris ElvinVoivce
Brenda FarrowViolin
Joseph LockeViolin
Molly HouldsworthVoice (25th Anniversary Concert)
Sidney HarrisonPiano (25th Anniversary Concert)
1970Patricia JamesOboe
Roy MowattViolin
John SkinnerBaritone
Janice McClueSoprano
Joseph LockViolin
George MowattPiano
1971Alfredo CampoliViolin
Jacqueline DelmanVoice
1972Roy DowlingDouble Bass
Reginald SammonsSaxophone
Joseph LockViolin
1973Iris Elvin
1974Joseph LockViolin
Patricia BeaumontOboe
Kenneth StewardBassoon
Joseph LockViolin
Roger PrestonCello
Derek WoodNarrator
1975David CottamGuitar
Joseph LockViolin
Vera TaylorPiano
1976Peter AllenHorn
Roy MowattViolin
Iris ElvinVoice
Vera TaylorPiano
John ReadVoice
Joseph LockViolin
1977Dorothy LeaveyVoice
Janet BloxwichBassoon
Iris ElvinVoice
George MowattPiano
1978Reginald SammonsClarinet
Vera TaylorPiano
1979Tony ComptonAccordion
1980Joseph Lock & Richard BrittainViolin
Ronald MeachenPiano
George MowattPiano
1981Jeffrey DyballHarp
Nicholas CrabbFlute
Vivienne HellosVoice
1982Robert BramleyClarinet
Edward ParkerPiano
Tang YunViolin
1983Leonard StehnCello
Alexander StewartViolin
Ronald MeachenPiano
1984Stephen RobbingsPiano
John OgdenPiano
Christopher WoodPiano / Conductor
Vivienne HellosVoice
1985Edward ParkerPiano
Leonard StehnCello
Alexander StewartViolin
Vivienne BellosSoprano
Margaret CozensContralto
Roger LawrenceTenor
Brindley SherrattBass
1986Michael CrabbOrgan
Christopher Wood &Piano / Conductor
David WillisonPiano
Robert BramleyClarinet
Michael CollinsClarinet
1987Lance Oliver & Stephen WealeViolins
1988Gregory WalmsleyCello
Phillip FowkePiano
Christine JohnsonSoprano
1989Mark Greensill &Violin
Joanna Parker &Flute
Barbara SouthwardFlute
Caroline KotokPiano
Lisa Perfect &Oboe
Tracey Bridgeman &Clarinet
Oliver Smith &Horn
Kenneth StewardBassoon
1990Caroline DaleCello
Christopher WoodPiano
1991Oliver SmithHorn
Lance OliverViolin
1992Sarah-Ann BarnesCello
Tracey BridgemanClarinet
1993Stephen WinfieldViola
Candida ThompsonViolin
Shalinee JayatilaykaPiano
1994Glyn WilliamsBassoon
Kathryn SargentSoprano
Joanna SmithPiano (50th Anniversary Concert/
1995Lance OliverViolin
Ian SalmonTrumpet
Oliver SmithHorn
1996Tracey BridgemanClarinet
Susan Tucker &Cello
Rebecca CoxCello
Gillian HullNarrator
1997Mark Greensill &Violin
Keely DartfordViola
Joanna SmithPiano
Emma JohnsonClarinet
1998Vanessa CozensMezzo Soprano
Jeffery WilsonAlto Sax
Anna Bradley &Violin
Thomas WoodsCello
1999Raffaella SauliViolin
Evan Davies &Flute
Lynne CreaseyHarp
2000Gregory WalmsleyCello
2001Mari NagahashiPiano
Oliver SmithHorn
David GalbraithOrgan
Yuri ZhislinViolin
2002Yuri KalnitsViolin
Lance OliverViolin
2003Aleksander SzramPiano
Nadia LassersonPiano
2004Samuel BurstinViola
Caroline SzramCello

11th December 2004
Guest Conductor Ante Skaug
Overture: La Cenerentola — Rossini
Wind Serenade — R. Strauss
Serenade for Strings — Elgar
Rumanian Folk Dances — Bartók
Symphony No.8 in F — Beethoven