"World class musicians who make magic in our communities – turning the everyday into something extraordinary...”

Jayne Knight,

Arts Development Officer,

Suffolk County Council

 “...outstanding orchestral music in our village halls, schools, concert halls and cathedral.”



The new Covid19 vaccine and the SPO's plans for 2021 


Leslie Olive, Founder and Artistic Director writes:

With the wonderful news today (Monday 9th November 2020) of the first Covid19 vaccine, we are in a position to make a cautious adjustment to our performing expectations for 2021. It appears to me that the Ipswich Corn Exchange concert on Mothering Sunday, 14th March, may still be too soon after the introduction of the vaccine to be able to go ahead: but it is too early to make that decision just yet. 


The celebration concert for the 1,000 years since the founding of the Abbey of St Edmund, now looks much more likely (details below), as does the Ely Cathedral concert scheduled for 19th June 2021.  

You will be pleased to know that over recent months we have been working hard to put in place the widest Community and Education programme we have yet seen, and details will be available here in the coming days.


Ipswich Corn Exchange

In association with Ipswich Borough Council

Sunday 14th March 2021 

Full popular classics programme including


With linked outreach events in East Suffolk and Ipswich in February.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Bury St Edmunds Festival

Supported by the Abbey1001 Celebrations



NEW COMMISSION: "Into the Light", by Paul Carr

Saturday 29th May 2021

With linked outreach events in West Suffolk in April and early May.

Leslie Olive wrote on the day a vaccine for Covid19 was announced:


Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra's new commission from Paul Carr celebrating 1,000 years since the founding of the Abbey of St Edmund (in Bury St Edmunds), is called INTO THE LIGHT. Completed for 2020 , this new piece now has its world première scheduled for Saturday 29th May in St Edmundsbury Cathedral as part of the 2021 Bury Festival, when Eye Bach Choir, The English Arts Chorale, and the fabulous tenor James Gilchrist join Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra. With the announcement of the first Covid19 vaccine, it begin to seem as though by 29th May, the title “INTO THE LIGHT” might feel happily providential.

Ely Cathedral

The Isle of Ely Festival


Italian Symphony

Hebrides Overture

Thomas Gould, violin

Saturday 26th June 2021

With linked outreach events in late May and early June.

Information coming soon about concerts at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, on:

Sunday 18th July 2021

Saturday 9th October 2021

OUR VISION - Great music is for everyone

The Suffolk Philharmonic vision is that great music is for everyone. We work collaboratively to bring enjoyment, to educate and to strengthen community.


Our major concerts programme brings together some of the finest orchestral musicians in the land to provide full orchestral concerts within reach of everyone.

In partnership with other community agencies we share that world-class playing across rural Suffolk through our free Community concerts - "village hall concerts" - which make a valued contribution to the challenges of loneliness and rural isolation.


In collaboration with the County Music Service and Suffolk schools, our Education programme supports young musicians, encourages musical composition, and shares the therapeutic qualities of great music.

© 2020 Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra, Charity No. 1148363

Created by Cantaria and SPO Design

Some photography courtesy of Wandering River 

Annual Reports | Controls Policy 

Council of Reference | Testimonials | Archive