COVID-19 ...

“The brochure for our 2020-21 season can be downloaded by clicking on “More” above, as well as a special digital edition of our audience magazine Crescendo covering what we have been up to during lockdown.

However given what looks likely to be a continuing need for social distancing, it is uncertain whether we will realistically be able to resume rehearsals in September, or to stage the first concert that we have planned for 10 October.

We will update this message whenever the picture is clearer.

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We’ve five wonderfully entertaining concerts in store for you this season. Our solo line-up was to be led by MOS’s President, the great pianist John Lill - in his 75th birthday year - playing his favourite Brahms. Sadly John has had a nasty fall and will not be able to play with MSO on 30 November - we wish him a speedy recovery. We are delighted to have engaged in his place, the wonderful young British pianist Alexander Ullman to play Tchaikovsky’s brilliant Concerto No.1. There’s a very welcome return for popular clarinettist Emma Johnson, with contrasting concertos by Weber and Malcolm Arnold. The acclaimed current BBC Young Musician, 18-year-old Lauren Xhang, plays Rachmaninov’s spectacular 3rd Piano Concerto. Plus, two exceptional young artists also return, Kentish-born Callum Smart brings Korngold’s beautifully romantic Violin Concerto, and - after his stunning last-minute debut with us last season - Maxim Calver plays Shostakovich’s brilliant 1st Cello Concerto. There are fabulous pieces for MSO’s players as well - Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben, Stravinsky’s Petrushka, Elgar’s Enigma Variations, symphonies by Schumann and Tchaikovsky, plus works by Chabrier, Beethoven, Britten, Dukas and Wagner. So buy your season tickets - excellent value - and spread the word that classical orchestral music is very much alive and well here in the middle of Kent!
Click here to download our brochure

21 March 2020


Lauren Xhang
(BBC Young Musician 2018)



Dukas - The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No.3

Stravinsky - Petrushka

18-year-old Lauren Xhang stunned both judges and audience at the BBC Young Musician competition when winning in 2018. She plays the most technically challenging and exciting of romantic piano concertos, Rachmaninov’s 3rd. Elsewhere musical storytelling fills the air. We begin with Dukas’ colourful symphonic scherzo, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and end with Stravinsky’s brilliantly orchestrated tale of the ups-anddowns of the puppet Petrushka.

Click here to download a flyer for this concert

Saturday 12 October 2019

Callum Smart



Chabrier - España

Korngold - Violin Concerto

Richard Strauss - Ein Heldenleben

To begin our season, Chabrier’s rhapsody España brilliantly evokes the character and sounds of Spain. BBC Music Magazine recently hailed young Kentish-born violinist Callum Smart “a rising star”. He plays Erich Korngold’s lush and lyrical Violin Concerto which he based on themes from his acclaimed Hollywood movie scores. The hero of Richard Strauss’ symphonic blockbuster of a tone poem, Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life), is the composer himself. Narcissistic, but be prepared to swoon!

Click here to download a review for this concert

30 November 2019

Alexander Ullman



Beethoven - Overture, Fidelio

Schumann - Symphony No.4

Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No.1

Sadly, our advertised soloist, John Lill has had a nasty fall and will not be able to play with MSO on 30 November - we wish him a speedy recovery. As we were unable to find another soloist to play the Brahms 2nd Concerto at such short notice, we have engaged the wonderful young British pianist Alexander Ullman to play Tchaikovsky’s brilliant Concerto No.1. Alexander won the 2017 International Franz Liszt Competition and has impressed audiences around the world with his subtle interpretations and refined technical mastery. We are excited that he is able to come and play with us. Schumann provides our symphony, his revolutionarily compact and eloquent 4th. We open with Beethoven's fine overture to his magnificent opera, Fidelio

Click here to read a review of this concert

1 February 2020

Emma Johnson



Britten - Four Sea Interludes from “Peter Grimes”

Weber - Clarinet Concerto No.2

Malcolm Arnold - Clarinet Concerto No.2

Elgar - Enigma Variations

Emma Johnson has been a very popular soloist with MSO for many years. No-one has done more to promote the clarinet than Emma, and she brings both classical-romantic eloquence with Weber’s 2nd Clarinet Concerto and some jazzy pizzazz from Malcolm Arnold. Either side there are poignant and fiery seascapes from Benjamin Britten, with his Four Sea Interludes from “Peter Grimes”, and Elgar’s Enigma Variations. This famous series of musical portraits, featuring Nimrod, is lovingly dedicated to “my friends pictured within”. .

Click here to download a flyer for this concert

16 May 2020

Maxim Calver




Wagner - Overture, Die Meistersinger

Shostakovich - Cello Concerto No.1

Tchaikovsky - Symphony No.4

Young Maxim Calver amazed us all last season when he took over as soloist at short notice. He returns with the work originally billed for that concert, Shostakovich’s powerful 1st Cello Concerto. Wagner’s festive overture to Die Meistersinger is a perfect foil. Tchaikovsky then brings every emotion to the fore in his passionate 4th Symphony. At its heart is his belief in the disruptive power of fate, but as he remarked about the boisterous finale: “If you can find happiness in the joy of others, you can still enjoy life!”

Click here to download a flyer for this concert

Pre-concert talks

Steve Migden presents Free Pre-concert talks before each concert from 6.40-7.10pm


Steve has been a professional musician and educator since arriving from the USA in 1965 to study horn at the Royal Academy of Music. He presents informative informal and 'fun' talks throughout Kent. He has served MSO as Principal Horn, MOS Chairman, and currently as an MOS Vice President.


All our concerts are held in Mote Hall Mote Leisure Centre, Maidstone, ME15 7RN.


Wheelchairs can be accommodated in certain areas of the hall. A number of reserved car parking spaces are available for visitors with disabilities. The bar is open before and after the concerts, and during the interval. Interval drinks may be pre-ordered Refreshments are available in the bar foyer

Please note that Maidstone Leisure Centre (Mote Hall) have installed a vehicle number plate recognition system in the car park. However, we have arranged for the system to be TURNED OFF AT 5.30pm prior to each of our concerts. Therefore, please ignore all signage and park as normal, without registering your vehicle’s number plate.

Buy Tickets


Phone number 0333 666 3366

Click here to buy tickets online

Maidstone Symphony Orchestra performs at Mote Hall, in Mote Park, Maidstone, which has a seating capacity of approximately 900. Concerts start at 7.30pm, with Free pre-concert talks presented by Steve Migden from 6.40pm to 7.10pm. Current Season Ticket Holders save up to 20% by buying a season ticket for all concerts.  HALF PRICE FOR NEW SEASON TICKET SUBSCRIBERS!   Students £5 and FREE for under 18s.  You can book tickets for individual concerts online, by phone, or buy tickets at the door.  Click here for more information on buying tickets.

About Us

Under the direction of its acclaimed and popular conductor, Brian Wright, Maidstone Symphony Orchestra is regarded as one of the UK's finest "community" orchestras. It was formed in 1910 as Maidstone Orchestral Society, still the title of the concert promoting organisation.

Today MSO is a superbly well-balanced mix of local professionals and ex-professionals, music teachers and excellent amateur players who come together regularly on a voluntary basis to produce concerts of a professional standard. This entails great commitment by the players, many of whom travel from all over Kent, and beyond, to attend MSO's weekly Thursday evening rehearsals.

The MOS is a registered charity number 1163384.

Brian Wright


Brian Wright

Brian Wright has been Music Director and Conductor of Maidstone Symphony Orchestra since 1990.

Brian studied as a Gulbenkian scholar in London and Munich. He won major prizes in conducting competitions at La Scala, Milan and with the London Symphony Orchestra. He was Assistant Conductor to the LSO and then Associate Conductor to the BBC, winning acclaim for performances at the Proms. Brian has conducted all the UK orchestras, toured in Europe with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and in Europe and China with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been a guest conductor in almost 20 countries.

For further information click here to see Brian's website

Andrew Laing


Andrew Laing

Andrew (Andy) Laing started learning the violin when he was 5, and by the age of 16 was appointed leader of the National String Orchestra of Scotland. He gained a place at the Royal Academy of Music, winning numerous prizes and scholarships. Andy was appointed sub-leader of the BBC Radio Orchestra, then Leader of the London City Ballet Orchestra. In the '90s, he spent much time on stage at the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he met his wife, Rachel, also a professional violinist. Andy is a keen amateur astronomer, and if music had not been his first love, it is entirely possible that a career involving the stars may have followed!


Chairman - Peter Colman

General Secretary - Lyn Parker,

Treasurer - Harriet Finch,

Ticketing - Nicci Whittaker.

Ben Knowles, David Montague and Angela Migden

Richard Ashby, Peter Hart, John Horne

John Lill CBE (President),

Janet Ash (Vice-President),

David King (Vice-President),

Steve Migden (Vice-President),

Brian Wright (Conductor & Music Director),

Richard Ashby (Chairman Friends of MOS)

Friends of MOS

The Friends of Maidstone Orchestral Society are our financial lifeline.

The Friends help to bridge the gap between the price of the tickets and the actual cost of the concerts. We would love you to join them and help the orchestra continue to perform its excellent season of concerts. The Friends are chaired by Richard Ashby, and the Secretary is Evelyn Shoults. If you would like to know more about the Friends please contact their Secretary, Evelyn Shoults, by email at friends@mso.org.uk



The Kent Messenger described MSO's players as "A fantastically loyal group of players with amazing abilities." Coming from all over Kent, they are recognised for all giving of their time unstintingly with more than 23 hours of rehearsal for each concert.

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We would love to hear from you.

  Maidstone, Kent


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Small Print
The Society is an Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), governed under a Constitution dated 1 October 1992 and last amended 11 December 2014. Trustees (Committee) are appointed or elected by the membership at the Annual General Meeting. The Maidstone Orchestral Society was first registered as a charity in October 1983 with the aim to advance and promote public education in, and appreciation of, music by the presentation of public concerts and recitals.

Maidstone Orchestral Society (MOS) is retained as the title of the orchestra’s promoting body and, unusually, the Society has two types of members – players and audience. MSO’s core of voluntary players pay an annual subscription to become members both of the orchestra and of the Society. Annual season ticket subscribers also become members of the Society, and both player and audience members have equal voting rights at the MOS Annual General Meeting and equal representation on the Management Committee. This MOS/MSO organisation may not be unique in music promotion, but it has particular strength for a community orchestra in bringing together every possible strand of local expertise.

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