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Sunderland Symphony Orchestra is engaged in an exciting phase of development following celebration concerts for the charity's eighteenth year since its formation for the Millennium, supported by Sunderland City Council. The Orchestra's "Coming of Age" project, financed by Arts Council England, is bringing new partnerships, a new pilot outreach orchestral music and instrumental education programme for school children, and varied concerts in a wider variety of performance spaces.

The voluntary orchestra offers support for progression in orchestral engagement across the city. Our impact is recognised as developing orchestral music education and enjoyment through new partnerships in and around Sunderland.

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Our orchestra rehearsals take place every Wednesday evening 7:30pm

at St. Mark's Community Association, Sunderland.


Use the contact us page to enquire about membership. 

Sunderland Symphony Orchestra: The End of an Era

Christmas by Candlelight Concert Saturday 17th December 2022

West Park Church was filled to capacity for a touching Christmas performance.

It was a somewhat poignant concert for many of our players, patrons, friends and

loyal audience attendees, many of whom have been with us since the first concert

in West Park Church in January 2000.

Since the inception of Sunderland Symphony Orchestra (Formerly City of Sunderland Millennium Orchestral Society) in 1999, the orchestra has enjoyed a very happy and rewarding residency at West Park Church.


On welcoming a capacity audience, SSO’s Chair Ged McCormack, recounted the support, and encouragement for the Orchestra’s successful growth and development from the Church Elders of West Park Church and more latterly the generosity and interest of the Blacker family, in particular Barnaby Blacker, whose enthusiasm and love for playing in the orchestra is greatly missed, and Carrick, who continued to welcome our presence. 

Ged McCormack acknowledged that the end of an era marked the beginning of a new chapter, with new residency at St Mark’s Community Association in Millfield Sunderland, and with fresh opportunities for the Orchestra to spread its wings.


Under the baton of Musical Director David Milner, the concert opened with an uplifting performance of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, which delighted the audience, who then gave a rapturous applause in appreciation of the ever popular Gabriel’s Oboe by Ennio Morricone. The audience were clearly thrilled by Sunderland Youth Choir. Led by Laura Taylor. This talented choir sang and signed Eric Boswell’s Little Donkey, accompanied by the wind instruments and sang a selection of their own Christmas music with wonderful musicality. Three popular orchestral pieces, Stephen Bulla’s Christmas Calypso; The Christmas Song (‘Chestnuts Roasting By An Open Fire’, arranged by Bob Krogstad) and Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride also enjoyed rapturous applauses.


A highly successful concert, a growing audience base realised, as we look forward to a bright future in new venues across the City of Sunderland and beyond. 

Our next concert is planned for Saturday 25th March 2023, venue yet to be announced. Visit our Website for updates regarding this and future concerts.  



Mark Greenfield

Relational Lead Sunderland Symphony Orchestra

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Jubilee Concert Reflections

A Note from the Musical Director, David Milner

"In 1977 as a member of the Band of HM Life Guards I played at numerous events for Her Majesties Silver Jubilee. Little did I think at the time that 45 years later I would be involved in a musical capacity celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, this time as conductor of Sunderland Symphony Orchestra.

The programme for our “Jubilee Celebration” includes music representing each of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom, together with favourite pieces loved by Her Majesty.

We have had a great time rehearsing these works. A unique achievement for a unique lady.”


  • Fingal’s Cave - Mendelssohn

  • Champagne Polka - Strauss Jnr.

  • Oklahoma - Arr. Robert Russell Bennett

  • David of the White Rock - David Wheatley

  • Crown Imperial - Walton


  • Plymouth Hoe Overture - John Ansell

  • Irish Suite, Part 1 - Leroy Anderson

  • Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - Mozart

  • By The Sleepy Lagoon - Eric Coates

  • Gold and Silver Waltz - Franz Lehar

  • Pomp & Circumstance No. 1 - Edward Elgar


Past SSO Events

Working with Schools and Community Groups


Sunderland Symphony Orchestra (SSO) works closely with the Sunderland Youth and Community Orchestra (SYCO) and the Sunderland Music Hub (SMH), managed by  Together For Children CIC, to offer a 

range of participatory outreach music engagement opportunities for children, families, and community groups. Follow THIS LINK to the Sunderland Music Hub to read an interview with Emma Mapplebeck, Cellist with SSO and Musical Director of SYCO and Spotlight testimonials from three young SSO players.

Annual Composition Competition in partnership with the University of Sunderland


Composer Lawrence Chiu played with the orchestra as flautist and piccolo player, before graduating from the University of Sunderland and returning to Malaysia, continuing with composition of chamber music among his musical 

works. SSO's Summer Concert on Saturday, 7th July 2018 gave 'Roker Pier' its Première performance. The piece was received with great enthusiasm, inspiring an annual composition competition to be held in partnership with the University of Sunderland. 

Inspiring the SSO / University of Sunderland Composition Competition, Lawrence Chiu's Roker Pier, performed by Sunderland Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Paul Judson, has been set to photography and film by SSO Development Manager, Matthew Burge. 

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