Durham University: Student Orchestra celebrates musical talents, past and present

Durham University Palatinate Orchestra (DUPO) will be performing a symphony written by University alumna Ruth Gipps, to celebrate the centenary of her birth. This unique concert will see current students, celebrating music written by a former student, bringing the past and present together, in what promises to be a stunning event. The concert will take place on Friday 26 November, in the wonderful surroundings of Elvet Methodist Church, Durham

This will be DUPO’s first large scale performance since Covid restrictions were lifted and will involve over 75 student members of the orchestra.

Celebrated composer

Ruth Gipps (1921 – 1999) was a prominent English composer throughout the 20th century, producing more than 70 works, including five symphonies. Gipps was an accomplished oboist, conductor and pianist, studying at the Royal College of Music, before coming to Durham to continue her studies where she gained a Doctorate in Music. She went on to found the London Repertoire Orchestra in 1955 giving many young performers debut opportunities.

Ruth Gipps PhD Composer

Centenary celebration concert

DUPO will be performing her 4th symphony as part of their concert. The piece is firmly rooted in conservative English style with dramatic character changes, difficult technical passages and a grand ending. The concert will also include performances of Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

The concert will be conducted by 1st year music student Jude Holloway, who explains; ‘The Gipps 4th Symphony has been an exciting challenge for me and the orchestra, testing us individually as musicians and collectively as an ensemble. It’s charming nature and vibrant musicality make it a wonderful new discovery for us to play’.

DUPO

DUPO is an entirely student-led orchestra consisting of players studying a variety of degree subjects from across the University. The Orchestra is brought together once a week, to share their passion for orchestral playing. DUPO has a Symphony Orchestra of around 75 players and Chamber Orchestra of 30 players. The Orchestras perform concerts every term, as well as an outreach concert each year to bring their music to local primary students.

Even though DUPO weren’t able to rehearse together due to covid-19, the orchestra remained active and adapted to the challenges. DUPO created nine smaller ensembles who each recorded a virtual performance, and also put on a series of socially-distanced concerts.

DUPO are looking forward to playing to a packed audience again, in a concert which is set to show the extraordinary musical talents of Durham University students both in the past and present.

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