Maastricht

Encouraged by a member of Dorking Philharmonia who had lived in Maastricht for a number of years, Dorking Philharmonia linked up with the Maastricht University Orchestra for two joint concerts, the first in Maastricht (in The Netherlands) in June 2002, and a further concert in Dorking in May 2003.

The two orchestras share great similarities - both have very enthusiastic and energetic memberships scanning a wide age range, and of course the shared passion of musical performance. There are also contrasts - the Maastricht University Orchestra has a membership from both the local community and students and staff from the University, and are generally all based in the city. Dorking Philharmonia draws its membership from Surrey, London and Sussex and is based in a much smaller town.

It was an exciting and entertaining opportunity to link two orchestras for larger scale works - in Maastricht the combined orchestras performed Brahms' 4th Symphony to a packed audience in St. Jan's Church in the central plaza of the city, and in Dorking St. Martin's Church was filled with the sound of an 80 strong joint orchestra performing Dvorak's New World Symphony. The orchestras also performed smaller works individually, choosing works by British and Dutch composers. On both occasions the visiting orchestra stayed with members of the home orchestra for a long weekend of socialising and rehearsing, generating close ties and friendships.

Although both legs of the first exchange are now complete contact between the orchestras will be maintained and it is hoped and intended that there will further joint concerts in the future.

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