Our History

How it all began …

Nailsea Concert Orchestra was founded by cellist Anne Dube in April 1995. She spent three months prior to that advertising, cold calling, hiring music, booking rehearsal rooms. At the time, there weren’t that many adult orchestras in North Somerset and she was playing with an ad hoc group for various events, but nothing regular. Someone suggested putting an orchestra together.

Anne was very aware of the many musical people in the Nailsea area, as lots of children who had played instruments would still be living in and around Nailsea as adults. Nailsea always had a reputation as being a ‘talent pool’ for young musicians and Anne hoped to tap into this opportunity of getting the now grown up musicians together to have fun playing a wide variety of music. Anne worked very hard to find an excellent professional to conduct, Robert Jenner, and the first rehearsal took place with around thirty members. Many musicians have come and gone over the past eighteen years with a handful of the original members still playing in the orchestra. Many players are Grade 8 and beyond.

In October 2023, the members voted to change the orchestra name to North Somerset Philharmonia. This reflects the wider repertoire that we now perform and will make it easier for the orchestra to encourage players and audience from further afield.

Our first Conductor

Our original conductor was Robert Jenner who stayed with the orchestra from its inception in 1995 until the summer of 2017 when he retired.

Robert studied trumpet and conducting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and, after working as a free-lance player in London, was appointed Principal Trumpet with the (now Royal) Scottish National Orchestra in 1961. He was a member of the teaching staff at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama for several years and took up the position of Head of Brass at Cheltenham College in 1981. He was also on the panel of brass examiners with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He  worked for many years as a free-lance musician in the Midlands and the West Country, both as a performer, teacher and conductor before his well deserved retirement.

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