New Worlds, Kings Hall, Ilkley

Sunday 17th March 2024

Rossini, Jennings, Marquez, Dvorak

Oh what a night!

Conga-ratulations (see what I did there!) to all our amazing players for absolutely knocking it out of the park on Sunday, you are all incredible. Thank you to all of our audience - nearly a full house again - for bringing the most joyful atmosphere to our performance.

And a big congratulations to @philippa_jennings on the World Premiere of her composition Killer on the Road!

And of course, thank you to our fabulously talented conductor @bencrickmusic for whipping us into shape over the last 3 months!


We were treated to a wonderful evening of music by the ASO on the evening of 17th March. The programme was musically very approachable with new pieces and well loved classics. The Dvorak New World Symphony was played with aplomb by the orchestra and the Conductor infuses their performance with an energy which infects the audience. Altogether a wonderful evening was enjoyed I am sure by the full audience. Dr Martin Stockdale

Audience feedback:

'A thoroughly enjoyable concert.  I am a non-musical person but I was engaged throughout.  I particularly enjoyed the 2nd movement of the New World Symphony'. George.

'You are a first rate orchestra and your conductor is brilliant!! Well done all round. We look forward to the next concert.'

'Excellent programming of your last concert - a really entertaining mix of music'

'Love the new conductor. The atmosphere at the last 2 concerts has been buzzing'

'In my opinion the orchestra has jumped to the next level in terms of playing and creating and encouraging an active community……removed some of the barriers, much less stuffy and so much more relaxed.'

'A very enjoyable evening with a good mixture of old and new music . The items were introduced to explain the background and musicality, and the  orchestra performed the pieces brilliantly . An all round good evening. Highly recommended'
Bernadette, Patricia and Jan

'Always lovely to hear the orchestra especially because it’s a local orchestra. Appreciate the hard work which the musicians and conductor must put in to make it always a wonderful evening.'

'It is fantastic that you play music composed by your own members - we thought that was the best part.'

'Really enjoyed your recent concerts very much, including the Christmas candle one. The standard is excellent and everyone looks as though they are enjoying themselves including the conductor. The music new and old is introduced very well to examine the background and musicality. Excellent performance all round . Thank you all.'

'We think the whole orchestra is enlivened by the energy of your new Conductor.'

 concert march 2024

Kings Hall, Ilkley, Sunday 19th November 2023

MacCunn, Dvorak, Price, Beethoven

Wow what an amazing relaunch concert for the Airedale Symphony Orchestra on Sunday 19 November! After eight months away from performing, the orchestra and concert audience made up for lost time with great music and enthusiastic support for our local musicians.

A sell out performance meant an overflow audience was invited to sit in the Winter Gardens next to the King's Hall, with doors wide open to allow everyone to hear if not see the music! The atmosphere was electric as our friendly local orchestra performed works spanning the decades. Cello soloist Douglas Badger played the Dvorak Cello Concerto with great passion, it was wonderful to see 'The Oak' by Florence Price in a rare performance alongside the uber famous Beethoven 5. Plus there were some excellent cakes on offer during the interval!

Feedback from the audience

'Excellent concert. I particularly enjoyed the cello concerto and the Florence Price piece was also excellent- a real revelation. There was some really sensitive playing. Woodwind section playing was v impressive.' Les Goldman

'I’m a newbie to coming to Airedale Symphony Orchestra events - and I’m not very musical myself. I was totally lifted up and inspired by the evening. I loved the range of music and for the first time ever, the emotion and drama of classical music gave me goosebumps: a physical reaction to the power of music. It totally opened my eyes to the power of live classical music. A wonderful night and I will be coming back for more!' Hilary Carter

'Such an amazing concert last night, great atmosphere, great musicians and a very happy audience, thrilled with the programme!' Jane Golden

'Best cello concerto (performed very well by Mr Badger). Most famous symphony (where the orchestra really came into its own and played with a polished sheen to the sound)' Edward Whelan

Thank you to everyone involved in making this such a special afternoon - the musicians, our super conductor Ben Crick, amazing soloist Douglas Badger, and the enormous, and enormously enthusiastic audience!

King’s Hall, Ilkley, Sunday 13th March 2022

Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky

THE war in Ukraine somewhat shifted the focus of Sunday’s concert. A redesigned programme cover featured the Ukrainian flag set against delicate pink blossom.

An audience of 300 rose to its feet for the besieged country’s National Anthem. The words were helpfully printed in the programme in both Ukrainian and English. Felix Mendelssohn’s elegiac Hebrides Overture was dedicated to solidarity and friendship with the Ukrainian people.

The piano concertos of Sergei Prokofiev are among the most technically demanding of 20th century masterworks. William Green is a young Bradford born pianist, now Swiss based, at the Lucerne Opera House as a répétiteur. William’s absolute mastery of Prokofiev’s delightful Piano Concerto No 3 in C dazzled the King’s Hall audience. Conductor John Anderson and the Airedale Symphony rose, with seeming effortlessness, to the virtuosic demands of the orchestral score with its spiky dissonances and sudden tempo changes......

The Airedale Symphony’s impassioned performance of this most emotional and grief-laden of works spoke to the listener as only great music can speak. A minute’s silence before a deluge of applause afforded reflection on the human suffering and the destruction unleashed by Vladimir Putin’s crimes of aggression in Ukraine. The bucket collection afterwards raised £1400 towards the Ukrainian Red Cross Appeal.

Geoffrey Mogridge

King’s Hall, Ilkley, Sunday 21st November 2021

Humperdinck, Sibelius, Beethoven

THE orchestra’s first public concert in twenty months and an audience hungry for live music virtually guaranteed a joyous reception.

John Anderson, the ASO’s conductor since 1990, introduced three popular works from the 19th and early 20th century. The Prelude to Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel weaves into just eight minutes some of the fairytale opera’s best loved scenes. A performance of subtle Wagnerian weight of sound opened softly with the ASO’s chorale of mellowed French horns in the deeply moving children’s Evening Prayer.

A decade after the 1893 Weimar premiere of Hansel and Gretel, Sibelius conducted the first performance of his Violin Concerto in D minor. This is at least in spirit, the last of the great 19th century romantic violin concertos. A hauntingly beautiful opening for the solo violin is cushioned by gently pulsating pianissimo strings. The music conveys longing for the century past and portends nastier things to come. Andy Long who is associate leader of the Orchestra of Opera North was the unshowy soloist. Andy stressed beauty of tone while making light of the concerto’s virtuosic demands. The tightness of ensemble and pointing up of orchestral colours set the seal on a memorable performance.

An exhilarating reading of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony filled the second half of this Sunday matinee concert. In the irrepressible final movement, the notes seemed to fly off the pages of the score.

Geoffrey Mogridge

Leeds Town Hall, Saturday 29th February 2020

With Leeds Philharmonic Chorus


Jerome Kern’s 1920s musical Showboat ignited an electrifying evening. A medley of ‘hits’ contained within the Overture led into Ol’ Man River, pensively sung by baritone Neil Balfour and the Chorus. The Promise of Living from Aaron Copland’s opera The Tender Land was performed with blazing fervour by the chorus and ASO. Copland, who was dubbed “The Dean of American composers”, unforgettably conducted a Suite from The Tender Land in this very hall back in October 1976.

Leeds Philharmonic Chorus Master Joseph Judge then directed his unaccompanied choir in a finely nuanced performance of Samuel Barber’s Agnus Dei. Next came Marietta’s sublime aria from Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt (The Dead City). This was sung with a gorgeous sense of line by soprano Sarah Power.

Composer Randall Thompson was represented by Choose Something Like a Star, from his Suite of Seven Country Songs for chorus and orchestra. Gershwin’s meandering jazz infused rhapsody An American in Paris showcased the full orchestral panoply - including a battery of percussion, five saxophones, and a trio of car horns! Part One ended with Make Our Garden Grow, the gloriously uplifting orchestral and choral finale from Bernstein’s operetta Candide.

Robert Russell Bennett’s forty minute-long concert arrangement of Gershwin’s folk opera Porgy and Bess filled Leeds Town Hall with light and colour. Familiar numbers like Summertime - ravishingly sung by Sarah Power; I Got Plenty of Nothing - a soft-grained performance from Neil Balfour, and Bess You is My Woman Now, were all featured. The casually dressed Leeds Philharmonic Chorus injected life and swaying movement into the big choruses like Gone, Gone, Gone; Overflow, I Ain’t Got No Shame, and The Promise’ Lan’. The stupendous finale Lawd, I’m On My Way was encored. Astonishingly, this was a first Leeds performance of Porgy and Bess. Surely, a fully staged production from our own trailblazing Opera North is long overdue.

Geoffrey Mogridge