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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.

Who We Are :

Aylesbury Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1949 by Charles Pope, a former teacher at Aylesbury Grammar School, who was a major figure in local music, also setting up Aylesbury Choral Society, the Charles Pope Ladies' Choir and the former Charles Pope String Orchestra.

We have over 60 players, rehearsing every week at the Aylesbury Music Centre, who come together to perform, improve their musical ability, and spend time with like minded musicians. If you are interested in joining have a look at our Join Us page new players are always welcome.


altOur Conductor : Robert Hodge

Robert is a conductor known for his considerable skill, clarity of technique and good rapport with musicians. He devises exciting programmes that are enjoyable and challenging for players and audiences.

He is the Musical Director of the City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, Essex Symphony Orchestra, and Aylesbury Symphony Orchestra. He regularly works with Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, and made his debut with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducting a side-by-side workshop in Swansea. 

​Robert is the Musical Director of Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra in London. Recently SYO have enjoyed success performing in the NFMY Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, and a broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as part of the Making Music ‘Adopt a Composer’ scheme. SYO tour extensively, and under his guidance have developed a wonderful exchange partnership with Malta Youth Orchestra. 

​Robert is a regular conductor of the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain, Conductor in Residence at St Albans High School, and works at the Royal College of Music Junior Department (RCMJD) where he conducts the Sinfonia. He also enjoys relationships with organisations including Malta Youth Orchestra, Yorchestra, Oasby Music Group, Benslow Music, and Music for Everyone in Nottingham.

​He is increasingly busy as a teacher of conducting technique. Robert is responsible for all of the conducting classes at the RCMJD, and he teaches on the Masters Programme at the Royal College of Music, delivering a unit entitled ‘Conducting in Education’. He has also given workshops and training in ensemble conducting technique for several schools and music services.

Born in Pembrokeshire, Robert studied at Royal Holloway, University of London before winning a scholarship, funded by the H R Taylor Trust, to the Royal College of Music where his conducting teachers were Peter Stark and Robin O’Neill. At the RCM he prepared the orchestras and acted as assistant to conductors including Lorin Maazel, Bernard Haitink and Vladimir Ashkenazy. In 2011 Robert was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra, playing orchestral piano and celeste for their European tour.

For three years Robert was Musical Director of Nonesuch Orchestra, conducting an extensive series of outreach concerts and appearing at London festivals including the St Jude’s Proms in Hampstead. He has toured the UK with aerial theatre company Ockham’s Razor, directing choirs for their critically acclaimed production, Not Until We Are Lost. In past seasons, he has conducted Oxford University Orchestra, King’s College London Symphony Orchestra, Suffolk Sinfonia, Havant Symphony Orchestra, Kingston Philharmonia, Farnborough Symphony Orchestra, the Yorchestra Holiday Courses, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Tallis Chamber Orchestra.


Our Leader : Mark Warner

Mark started playing the violin at primary school, where he was taught by Susan Hallam. 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, who enabled him 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 within the Music department at Hull University for a year, before moving to Aylesbury.

After initially working as a peripatetic violin teacher, 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 then returned to a career in teaching and has now been appointed as Director of Music at Aylesbury High School.



1953 - 1978 : Elliott Viney
1979 - 1982 : Charles Pope
1984 - 1998 : Iris Loveridge
1998 - 2018 : Freda Roberts MBE 
1949 - 1979 : Charles Pope
1961 - 1974 : David Aylett
1979 - 1980 : Roy Harrison
1980 - 1993 : Michael Eardley
1993 - 1994 : Roy Harrison
1994 - 2001 : Duncan Hinnells
2001 - 2003 : Hugh Molloy
2003 - 2012 : Jacques Cohen
2012 - 2018 : Ben Palmer
2018 to date : Robert Hodge
1949 - 1960 : Nora Bell
1960 - 1987 : Vaynka Field
1987 - 2003 : Myrna Fleet
2003 to date : Mark Warner

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