Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra performed it’s inaugural concert at St David’s Cathedral, Cardiff in June 1982 for what was supposed to be a one-off charity concert. Now, 30 years and over 300 concerts later, CPO continues to flourish and is widely recognised as one of Wales’ foremost non-professional orchestras with a reputation for a wide ranging repertoire from film music and light classics to major works usually considered outside the remit or capabilities of non-professional groups. A full list of past orchestral repertoire is available HERE 


Major works include performances of Mahler’s 3rd and 6th Symphonies as well as his monumental Symphony No. 2 – ‘Resurrection’ in June 2008 with an orchestra of 116, chorus of 250 including singers from Brittany and Paris and soloists Ros Evans (Soprano) and Kate Woolveridge (Mezzo). Other works include Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony & Don Juan, Elgar’s Symphonies 1&2, Rachmaninov’s Symphny No. 2, Shostakovich’s 5th and 7th symphonies and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. In 1994 CPO commissioned a work from composer Lynne Plowman which they premiered at Llandaff Cathedral as part of Cardiff Festival of Music. In 2013 CPO performed the UK Premiere of Wagner's Ring Without Words, assembled by Lorin Maazel.

 

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Overseas tours include a 3-concert tour of Switzerland in 1996, followed by a tour of France in 1998 which culminated with a concert in Paris’ premier concert venue, the Salle Playel. After the success of this tour, CPO were invited back to Paris to perform the final concert of the British Millennium Festival in the historic Eglise de la Madelieine. In 2007 the orchestra visited Cardiff’s twin city, Nantes, performing two concerts.


CPO was the first non-professional orchestra to perform at St David’s Hall, Cardiff (above) in 1983. The orchestra still performs regularly in the hall with it’s own annual series of concerts of light classics and film music. Since 2000 CPO has also performed as part of the annual Welsh Proms in the ‘Family Prom’ alongside guest presenters including Brian Blessed (below), Dave Benson Phillips, Aled Jones and Barney Harwood. From 1997 to 2009 CPO accompanied the finalists in the television broadcast of the Texaco Young Musician of the Year competition (left). In 2000 Texaco (later Chevron) became CPOs sponsor which led to the release of their first CD, ‘A Night at the Movies’.

 

Sololists who have appeared with CPO include Sir Geraint Evans, Bryn Terfel, Charlotte Church, Bonnie Tyler, Iris Williams, Martin Jones, Richard McMahon, Wynne Evans, Paul Watkins, welsh cellist, Steffan Morris and violinist Ben Baker. The successful Welsh Composer Karl Jenkins conducted the orchestra in a performance of his ‘Armed Man’ during their debut appearance at the Wales Millennium Centre. As well as Michael Bell, other conductors CPO has worked with include New Zealand conductor Tianyi Lu. Broadcasts include televised concerts from the Welsh Proms, Texaco Young Musician of Wales and an ITV Wales documentary following the orchestra’s tour in 1998. The orchestra has also been broadcast as part of BBC Radio 3’s Listen-Up Festival in 2006 as well as more recently in 2013.


CPO was led by Paul Lewis for 24 years until October 2006. He was succeeded as leader by Clare Frankcom until June 2009 when Jill Francis-Williams became leader of the orchestra. 


 

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