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Music Hire : We now have a large library of orchestral music available to hire. This includes music still in copyright and expensive to hire or purchase from publishers. Click here to download the full list and use the Contact Us page if you want to hire any of the pieces.

Our Conductor : Ben Palmer

Ben Palmer is Artistic Director of the Orchestra of St Paul's, and is in demand as a guest conductor throughout the UK and abroad. Acclaimed for his innovative and imaginative programming, he is increasingly gaining recognition as an inspiring and versatile conductor. He has made a speciality of conducting films live to screen, with performances ofThe Snowman and Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush at Southbank Centre; this season he conducts Casablanca at the Royal Festival Hall, and The Snowman and Suzie Templeton’s Oscar-winning animated version of Peter and the Wolf at Barbican Centre’s Milton Court. Recent guest conducting engagements include the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (including at the Hampton Court Palace Festival), the London Mozart Players, the Royal College of Music Classical Orchestra (replacing Sir Roger Norrington at short notice), the Kazakh State Chamber Orchestra, Southern Sinfonia, the Kharkov Philharmonic Orchestra and Oxford University Orchestra. In March 2015 he released a critically acclaimed disc of music for strings with OSP, featuring première recordings of music by Elgar, Malcolm Arnold and Robert Simpson. 

Engagements for 2015/16 include his debuts with Aurora Orchestra (in a concert given at the Science Museum), the Royal College of Music Philharmonic, and London Russian Ballet School, and re-invitations to Southern Sinfonia and Farnborough Symphony Orchestra. He will record a CD of Antonio Lotti with The Syred Consort and OSP for Delphian Records, and act as assistant conductor to the Gabrieli Consort & Players for a recording of Haydn’s The Seasons. Other orchestras he has conducted include the Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, the Rambert Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. He appears every year at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room, and St John’s Smith Square, and this season makes his debuts at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Milton Court and the Royal Festival Hall. Other notable venues include the Royal Albert Hall, LSO St Luke’s, Shanghai Oriental Art Center and the Liszt Academy in Budapest.

He is often engaged as rehearsal conductor for the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra, preparing Berlioz for Sir Roger Norrington, Mahler for Bernard Haitink and The Rite of Spring for Jac van Steen. He has worked closely with Norrington since 2011, acting as his assistant conductor for concerts, recordings, on tour and at the BBC Proms, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, Zurich Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestre de chambre de Paris.

Ben Palmer is principal conductor of London Haydn Project, musical director of Stamford Chamber Orchestra and Aylesbury Symphony Orchestra, and is regularly invited to work with some of the UK’s finest amateur orchestras. He is musical director of acclaimed professional chamber choir The Syred Consort, and Woking Choral Society, one of the UK’s foremost amateur choruses. His opera work includes productions of Le nozze di FigaroCosì fan tutteDie ZauberflöteL’enfant et les sortilegesDido and Aeneas and Die Fledermaus

In addition to his work as a conductor, Ben Palmer is in demand as a composer, arranger and orchestrator. Recent commissions include three works for the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin (all performed at the Berlin Philharmonie), a Sinfonietta for the English Music Festival, and Flying in the Fire for Woking Choral Society, to be premièred alongside Tippett's A Child of Our Time at Cadogan Hall in March 2016. His music has been performed by such ensembles as Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the City of London Sinfonia and the Fibonacci Sequence, in venues including the Royal Albert Hall and St John’s Smith Square, and as far afield as South Korea. He is editor of Volume 17 of the Elgar Complete Edition, currently in preparation.

A trumpeter and composer by training, he studied music at the University of Birmingham, graduating with first class honours in 2003. He stayed on at Birmingham to complete an MPhil in composition with Vic Hoyland, before moving to London in 2005 to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Simon Bainbridge. It is his lifetime ambition to conduct all the Haydn symphonies.

Our Leader : Mark Warner

Mark Warner started playing the violin at primary school, where he was taught by Susan Hallam through the Oxfordshire County Music Service. At the age of 12 he became the youngest member of the Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra, which he went on to lead in his final year of membership, performing in concerts at both the Royal Festival and Royal Albert Halls. Whilst studying music at the University of Hull he took lessons from David Greed, the leader of the Orchestra of Opera North. Mark took part in the Orchestra’s student training scheme, through which he was privileged to work with such international conductors as Paul Daniel and Dmitry Sitkovetsky, and renowned soloists including Sir John Tomlinson and Dame Evelyn Glennie. After obtaining a first class honours degree he worked as a tutor within the music department at Hull University for a year, before moving to Aylesbury. After initially working as a peripatetic violin teacher for Oxfordshire, Mark changed career direction and trained as a computer programmer with a large consultancy in London. He worked for 14 years as Software Development Director for Prologic plc in Berkhamsted, while remaining actively involved in the local music scene, leading Dacorum Symphony Orchestra, Aylesbury Opera and Thame Sinfonia, as well as playing in many chamber music groups. Mark has now happily retrained as a primary school teacher, and spends term time with a lively class of 5-7 year olds!


The Charles Pope Memorial Trust

The Charles Pope Memorial Trust is a grant awarding, charitable body, operating in the Aylesbury Vale area for the benefit of music students of all ages.  It was founded in 1983 in memory of Charles Pope, a former teacher at Aylesbury Grammar School, who made an outstanding contribution to musical life in Aylesbury and it is to him that several of Aylesbury's present music societies, including this orchestra owe their origin.

Small grants are available to assist with the cost of musical education. Applicants must have lived or been educated in the area administered by Aylesbury Vale District Council for 2 years or more and be able to demonstrate some musical competence. Applicants may be of any age and there is no fixed limit on family income.

The Trustees meet three times per year to consider applications.  All applications are considered on their individual merits, taking all financial and other circumstances into account.

Application forms are available from the address shown below and should be submitted by the end of October, middle of February or the end of May, in order for references to be taken up prior to the meeting.

If you would like to help the work of the Trust, please consider making a donation - the Trustees are very grateful for any help, large or small.  If you are a UK tax payer, it may be possible for the Trust to reclaim income tax on donations to further benefit the Trust's work (without the need for a Covenant).  For further information, or to make donation, please contact;

The Secretary
Charles Pope Memorial Trust
77, Regent Street
Leighton Buzzard