Latest date for Chichester's Eroica Orchestra

Chichester's Eroica Orchestra, directed by James Thomas, will be in concert at St Paul's Church, Churchside, Chichester on Saturday, April 29 at 7.30pm.

Tuesday, 25th April 2017, 10:24 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:20 pm

Their programme will comprise Butterworth: On the Banks of Green Willow; Beethoven: Romance in F; Vaughan Williams: Dives and Lazarus; and Beethoven: 7th Symphony

Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are £10 and £5 (concessions) on 07592 896746 or

James said: “The Eroica Orchestra was founded by myself for two key reasons. As an aspiring young conductor hoping to pursue a career in orchestral conducting, I was fed up of being told at auditions that I didn’t have enough experience to gain entry to postgraduate courses. So, I decided to make my own experiences and not be relying on other people to ‘borrow’ their orchestras for my own personal practice.

“Having lived in Chichester most of my life and sensing from musicians around me that there was a gap to fill in the cultural context of the city, I began working on putting the word out that I was forming a new orchestra and see what reaction I got.”

The reaction was great.

“The response I got was very positive.

“People wanted to play good music together and so began the Eroica Orchestra.

“It was also set up to bring together aspiring young musicians a taste of a more professional environment and to bridge the gap into professional orchestral playing.

“Professional orchestras tend to ask for a certain period of time in other high-standard orchestras before considering players for audition, so this I hope one day will be recognised as one of those quality orchestras.

“The orchestra is made up entirely of students from Chichester University and students who are from Chichester but have gone to study further afield such as the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Royal College of Music.

“Music education and enrichment is at the heart of what the orchestra is about. Like many of the players, I benefitted from a time where the music opportunities in Chichester were vast and more importantly free of charge.

“This doesn’t seem to be the case anymore with cuts in funding and music taking a back seat in schools. Once it is gone, there is no getting it back.

“So, all the orchestra’s concerts will be free to under 18s to encourage them to come along and experience orchestral music.

“I’m very excited about our next concert at St Pauls Church on Saturday, April 29.

“As well as Beethoven’s Violin Romance in F played beautifully by soloist Nataly Corolscaia, I will be conducting Beethoven’s 7th Symphony from memory, a feat that is exciting and daunting at the same time. The concert will also feature music by Vaughan Williams and Butterworth, fitting for what will be a beautiful English evening in April.”

James has got plenty of big plans as he steers the orchestra towards a successful and flourishing future.

“The orchestra has the potential to go on to great things. I am already thinking about future projects and concerts, collaborations with composers and hopefully a debut performance at the Festival of Chichester in 2018. But next up, I want to take the orchestra on the road to Oundle School, where I am currently music fellow, again, putting music education at the forefront of the orchestra mandate.”

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