About Us

Sunderland Symphony Orchestra is a group of talented musicians and friends who enjoy playing music together on a voluntary basis and who are keen to share their work in quarterly concerts, community events, and inclusive outreach learning programmes. The charity membership includes non-playing volunteers who assist the successful running of all aspects of the work of the orchestra.

Sunderland Symphony Orchestra (SSO) welcomes new members. We work closely with the Sunderland Youth and Community Orchestra (SYCO) in helping to bring on beginners who may wish to join the SSO as players when they are ready. New players in the SSO Concert Orchestra are by appointment of the Musical Director, and are usually players from Grade 5 to Diploma Plus. Our inclusive developmental work stands with our high standards of musicianship.

SSO works with the Sunderland Music Hub, managed by Together for Children CIC, and Sunderland schools to promote and support the wider playing of orchestral music. A number of music outreach projects with schools, community, and other music groups are being delivered under our Coming of Age project supported by Arts Council England. 

SSO is grateful to a number of partners, sponsors, and funders detailed on our Partners page. SSO works in partnership with a range of local musicians, choirs, and music groups and organisations including,  by agreement, Royal Northern Sinfonia. Opportunities to get involved include our SSO Patron, and Friends of SSO schemes.


SSO Musical Director, David Milner

An established SSO member and French Horn player, David Milner was appointed SSO Musical Director in the summer of 2018. 

David studied at the Royal Military School of Music and at the Royal Academy of Music. With a background in the army and police mounted section, he is a peripatetic music teacher working across three local authorities, and has been the Musical Director of the Newcastle Concert Band for over 25 years.





Where to find us

West Park Church is our base and opposite the Park Lane Transport Interchange (Bus and Metro). The Metro Station is 'Park Lane’. 

Entrance is from Stockton Road for concerts, and from Cowan Terrace for rehearsals and meetings. Both entrances are via steps, so access may need to be arranged in advance. 

Disabled access is from the side door on Cowan Terrace. A wheelchair hoist (which also has a seat for ambulatory persons) gives  access to the ground floor and toilets. A  chairlift  gives access to the balcony. There are no toilets on the upper floor. Anyone with impaired mobility is advised to use the side door. 

Car Parking is in the multi-storey Civic Centre car park at the far end of Cowan Terrace, but may also be available at certain times in the streets on the opposite side of Stockton Road. 

Rehearsals are normally held on Wednesdays at 7.30 pm 



Sunderland Symphony Orchestra (SSO) has been based at West Park United Reformed Church for concerts, rehearsals and general meetings since its formation. Supported by Sunderland City Council from the beginning, SSO began life as the 'City of Sunderland Millennium Orchestral Society', or 'CoSMOS', established as a voluntary organisation with the charitable aim of integrating music education with community and public cultural development and benefit.


“The idea was to celebrate the Millennium with an initiative of real and lasting cultural and educational value for the people of Sunderland” 

- Mark Greenfield, Orchestra Founder and Vice-President. 

West Park United Reformed Church was sold in February 2018 to a private individual, who has allowed the orchestra to continue meeting there. An excellent relationship has developed between SSO and the new owner, himself a musician and voluntary player with the orchestra. The building is now known simply as 'West Park Church'.

Who's Who

John Lennox
Vice President

Joy Lowther

Brian Naisby

Orchestra Manager

Judith Thompson
Orchestra Leader

Ged McCormack
Mark Greenfield
Vice President, Relational Lead

David Mills
Honorary Vice President

Peter Chapman
Membership Secretary, Treasurer

David Milner
Musical Director
Lynne Dakers



Winifred Lundgren
Vice President

Louise Baxter
Vice Chair

John Harding

Paul Judson
Deputy Conductor

Emma Mapplebeck
Youth Partnership Development


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