The Oxford University Orchestra Tours Italy in March 2024

Jan 30, 2024 | General, Highlights, Information Portal, Members news, News

◊  With the patronage of The British Chamber of Commerce for Italy  ◊

The Oxford University Orchestra will be touring Northern Italy with conductor Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey in March 2024. Travelling between Milan, Bergamo, Cremona, Bologna, and Parma from Sunday 10th to Saturday 16th, their programme includes five public concerts in the different cities, a collaboration with the choir of Bologna University, an open rehearsal for school groups, and a chamber music concert in a retirement home.

Oxford University’s premier ensemble, OUO, is made up of talented students reading a range of subjects from Music to Maths, to Chemistry and History who perform together every term under the leadership of an invited professional conductor. Since 1958 they have had a reputation for tackling some of the most challenging parts of the orchestral repertoire in their Oxford concerts, including old favourites and championing equally brilliant lesser-known works. In Italy, the 60-strong orchestra will perform Brahms’ beautifully melodic 2nd Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet overture, and Ruth Gipps’ exceptional 2nd Symphony. Alongside these will be the premiere of Sŏlum, a new composition by Italian composer and Oxford graduate Giulia Monducci commissioned for this tour.

📍MILAN, 6pm Sunday 10th March, Aula Magna, University of Milan 🎵
OUO will play in the concert season of the professional ensemble based at the university, Orchestra UNIMI, dedicated to the celebrations of the centenary of the Milanese university (find out more). The following day, selected chamber groups will perform at the Casa di Riposo G. Verdi: a private afternoon event in the historic Milanese care home for retired musicians.

📍BERGAMO, 8pm Tuesday 12th March, Basilica di S. Maria Maggiore 🎵
The immense Basilica in the ‘Città Alta’ will resound with the melodies of Tchaikovsky and Brahms for a symphonic concert dedicated to the victims of Covid-19 (find out more).

📍CREMONA, 8.30pm Wednesday 13th March, Teatro A. Ponchielli 🎵
In the morning at 10.30am, there will be a rehearsal open to middle and high school students as part of the ‘Oltre I Banchi’ (‘Beyond the Desks’) project. The evening concert will include two premieres:  the first Italian performance of the Second Symphony by Ruth Gipps, an English composer of the 20th century, and the world premiere of a new commission by Giulia Monducci, Italian composer and Oxford alumna on the theme of environmental sustainability and climate change (find out more).

📍BOLOGNA, 8pm Friday 15th March, Auditorium Manzoni 🎵
OUO will be the guests of the Fondazione Teatro Comunale di Bologna and will share the stage with the Choir of the Collegium Musicum of the University of Bologna in a performance of Edward Elgar’s From the Bavarian Highlands, as well as performing Brahms and Monducci (find out more).

📍PARMA, 8.30pm Saturday 16th March, Auditorium Paganini 🎵
The grand finale of the tour at the hall designed by renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano will host the music of Monducci, Tchaikovsky, Gipps, and Brahms in an extraordinary concert in collaboration with La Toscanini (find out more).

For further information
Official website:
Instagram: @OxfordUniversityOrchestra | Facebook: /OxUniOrchestra
Concert details and tickets available at
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About the Oxford University Orchestra
Since 1958, the Oxford University Orchestra has provided world-class opportunities for the most talented players at the university and enjoys great public acclaim among the university community, the people of the Oxford area, and beyond. As the flagship ensemble of the Oxford University Music Society, it selects its instrumentalists from the best the university has to offer, including many former members of the National Youth Orchestras of Great Britain, the United States, Wales and Scotland, and finalists of the celebrated BBC Young Musician competition.

The orchestra includes members from across the university community: from undergraduates to staff; music students and those reading other subjects; British and international students; and members from any socioeconomic background. Primarily self-funded through ticket sales, the Oxford University Music Society, and generous philanthropists and private donors, it is committed to presenting ambitious programmes which challenge and develop its players as well of being of considerable cultural interest to its audience. Every term, the orchestra performs in Oxford’s seventeenth century Sheldonian Theatre. Recent programmes have included works such as Richard Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony, and Shostakovich’s Eleventh Symphony. The orchestra has collaborated with conductors such as Daniel Harding, Sir Roger Norrington, Natalia Luisa-Bassa (principal guest conductor), Peter Stark, Jan Latham-Koenig, and Ben Palmer. Among its artistic supporters, the orchestra is proud to have the patronage of great performers such as Steven Isserlis, Midori, and Ian Bostridge.

Photo credits: Jason Sengel | “Toby Purser conducting OUO in The Sheldonian Theatre.”