Reading Symphony Orchestra

Reading Symphony Orchestra is an amateur orchestra with over 60 players and is led by a professional conductor, Cathal Garvey.

RSO was formed in 1944 by musicians who had previously been members of the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, disbanded at the start of the war in 1939. We generally perform four main concerts each year, at a variety of venues in the Reading area. 

Annually, members form a chamber orchestra, the Reading Sinfonietta, to perform an extra concert of small-scale works not practicable for a large-scale symphony orchestra. Our wind section has also operated independently under the name RSO Winds.

In recent years we have celebrated the link with Reading’s twin town, Düsseldorf, by joining forces with the Orchester der Landesregierung Düsseldorf e.V. These events have allowed us to perform large scale works, such as Mahler’s mighty ‘Resurrection’ Symphony and Verdi’s Requiem. The most recent venture took place in September 2018, when a party from Reading joined our German friends in Düsseldorf for a performance of Mahler's Symphony No.1.

"...a musical experience not to be missed... " - Reading Chronicle, July 2004

The orchestra is keen to encourage young performers, and holds an annual Young Musicians’ Competition. This is open to instrumentalists and singers of school age who live or study in the area and who have reached a standard at least equivalent to Grade 7 of the Associated Board. The winner receives a cash prize and, if a suitable standard has been reached, the opportunity to perform as a soloist with the orchestra. 

We are always keen to hear from potential new members. Weekly rehearsals are on Thursday evenings in Caversham (more details on the Members’ Page of our website).