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past concerts

Chamber - Michaelmas 2024

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DUOS chamber presents:

An evening of dance
1st December | St. Oswald's Church


This programme presents a captivating journey through a diverse range of musical landscapes, all inspired by dance forms and concepts.


Béla Bartók's "Romanian Folk Dances" immerse us in the vibrant and spirited world of Eastern European folk traditions, where intricate melodies and rhythms dance with exuberance. Antonín Dvořák's "Czech Suite Op. 39" transports us to the heart of Bohemia, where the composer masterfully blends Czech folk elements with his signature Romantic style, resulting in a symphonic dance of rich melodies and lush harmonies. Igor Stravinsky's "Danses Concertantes" takes us into the realm of abstract ballet, where the music becomes a choreographic spectacle in itself. With its rhythmic complexities and playful orchestrations, Stravinsky's work invites us to explore the boundaries of classical dance. Finally, Joan Tower's "Chamber Dance" offers a contemporary twist to the theme, guiding us through a tapestry of solos, duets, and ensembles. Tower's innovative ensemble writing creates a dynamic and rhythmic profile that challenges the musicians to 'dance' together, providing a fresh perspective on the concept of dance in classical music.


With this concert, DUOS invites you to experience the universal language of dance expressed through the diverse voices of these four exceptional composers, each offering a unique and captivating interpretation of this timeless theme.

symphony - Michaelmas 2024

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DUOS Symphony presents:

Change and Conflict
25th November | elvet methodist church

DUOS is excited to announce our first concert of academic year 2023/24!

As with all art comes criticism, and these three composers are no strangers to external resistance to their artistic expression. These pieces, all written by composers whose music had been denounced by their authoritarian governments, managed to retain popularity and influence within their respective societies. 

Grażnya Bacewicz, writing her Overture in 1943 under the German occupation of Poland, did not hear her piece performed until 1945, alongside Poland’s liberation. Bacewicz's music emerges as a poignant symbol of hope and creativity during the darkest hours of history.

Paul Hindemith was condemned as “degenerate” by the Nazis as a result of his unabashed hatred of the Nazi party. Drawing upon Weber's themes, Hindemith crafts a symphonic marvel that stands as a testament to his defiant stance against authoritarian forces and his enduring influence on 20th-century German music.


Perhaps most famous in this group of censured composers, however, is Dmitri Shostakovich, who was denounced by the Soviet authorities in 1948. His 5th symphony, titled “A Soviet’s Response to Just Criticism”, represents a pivotal moment in his life and career. Written amidst the political turmoil of 1948, this symphony is speculated to have been an attempt to recover his rocky relationship with the authorities. Critics and scholars have since unravelled its intricate layers, finding within it a subtle and sometimes outspoken critique of the Soviet regime. This symphony remains a testament to Shostakovich's resilience and his ability to convey profound messages through his music.


Together, these three works offer a glimpse into the indomitable spirit of composers who faced adversity with creativity, defiance, and a profound commitment to their art. DUOS invites you to join us on a musical journey that explores the profound depths of human expression and resilience.

SYMphony - Easter 2023


10th June | Durham Cathedral

Durham University Orchestral Society returned to the beautiful, historic Durham Cathedral for their summer concert: Shakespeare in Music: Romeo and Juliet!

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's 1st folio, DUOS explored the timeless story of Romeo and Juliet as told by three of the biggest composers of all time!

Featuring the stunning works of Tchaikovsky, Bernstein, and Prokofiev within the breathtaking Durham Cathedral, this concert paid homage to one of the greatest stories ever told - of love, death, fate, and duality.

Chamber - Easter 2023

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9th June | Durham Town Hall

Durham University Orchestral Society returned to Durham Town Hall with an exciting musical telling of some of the greatest tales and legends ever penned.

We opened in the present, with Yoshimatu's White Landscapes, an idyllic portrayal of snow to put you into a state of tranquility. 

This was followed by Fauré's Pelleas et Melisande, including the famous Sicilienne - a musical depiction of Maurice Maeterlinck's play of mystery, love, and jealousy. 

Following this, we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare's folio with SibeliusThe Tempest Suite No. 2, a musical retelling of Shakespeare's story of magic, betrayal, love, and forgiveness.

The concert concluded with Kodaly's Dances of Golanta, with the intoxicating folk dances leaving the audience dancing on their way out of Durham Town Hall.

Chamber - Epiphany 2023

17th March | Castle Great Hall

Durham University Orchestral Society returned to Castle Great Hall with an exciting programme of 20th Century Music.

We opened with Arnold's light and delecate Seranade for Small Orchestra

This was followed by an orchestral rendition of Ravel's famour le Tombeau de Couperin

Following this was Roussel's Concert pour Petit Orchestre

The concert ended with a lively rendition of Ligeti's Concert Romanesc

SYMPHONy - Epiphany 2023

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9th March 2023 | Gala Theatre Durham

Durham University Orchestral Society debuted at Durham's state of the art Gala Theatre for a breathtaking concert in collaboration with Durham University Physics Department

We opened with Strauss's famous Also Sprach Zarathustra

Following this, we welcomed the brilliant Ollie Dewar for a stunning and emotional rendition of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2

Finally DUOS symphony took to the stage to play Holst's The Planets. Featuring talks by Durham Physics Department, as well as projections, this was not a concert to be missed!


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SYMPHONy & chamber - michaelmas 2022

3rd December 2022 | Elvet Methodist Church, Durham

Durham University Orchestral Society returned to Elvet Methodist Church for our annual Michaelmas term concert, this time featuring both our chamber and symphony orchestras.

We began with Debussy's magnus opus: Prelude à l'Après-Midi d'un Faune, followed by Bax's playful Dance in the Sunlight.

Following this, we welcomed the brilliant Penny Cairney-Leeming to the stage, where she performed Ibert's Flute Concerto

Finally DUOS symphony took to the stage to play Rachmaninoff's final major work, his Symphonic Dances. The church was alive with the wonderful sounds of Rachmaninoff

SYMPHONy & chamber - EASTER 2022

Sunday 19th June | Sage, Gateshead

Durham University Orchestral Society returned to Sage, Gateshead for a concert featuring Zemlinsky's Sinfonietta, before journeyed to the studios of Hollywood in Korngold's Violin Concerto in D major (soloist Jamie Frost) and concluded with Shostakovich's exhilarating Symphony No.10.


This programme excited with the virtuosity of the Korngold concerto and the immense power of the Shostakovich, written in criticism of the oppression of the Stalinist regime. The power of an 80 strong symphony orchestra brought the concert hall to life and was definitely an event not to miss!

chamber - ePIPHANY 2022

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Friday 18th March | St. Oswald's Church

'Mozart's Overture to The Marriage of Figaro got things off to a fizzing start, with light, agile playing and some really nice punchy accents.'

'The DUOS ensembles are on particularly fine form at the moment.'

'Trumpeters Clara Falkowska and Emily Vaughan-Williams simply shone, with sultry muted passages, jazzy inflections, and cleanly executed flutter-tonguing and trills.'

joint concert with durham university choral society     - ePIPHANY 2022


Saturday 12th March | Durham Cathedral

'Durham University Choral and Orchestral Societies deliver a moving and powerfully sung programme, conducted by John Forsythe, MBE'

'Trombonist Chris Chung floated out a flawless legato in the 'Tuba Mirum' solo"

'Last night's performance by Durham University Choral Society and Durham University Orchestral Society of Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and Mozart's Requiem was very special, and I haven't quite got over its emotional impact.'

Symphony - EPIPHANY 2022


Saturday 5th March | Durham Cathedral

'In a confident, dramatic opening, DUOS brought out the restless roaring of the sea...a softer wind passage created a vivid and slightly sinister picture of moonlight on a calm sea.'


'Conductor Monty Milner held the orchestra tightly together through some really exciting, turbulent music.'

'DUOS have emerged from the difficulties of the last two years with such a fine ensemble, presenting a challenging programme with both poise and flair, as if they'd never been away.'

 Chamber - michaelmas 2021

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Tuesday 30th November | Mount Oswald Hub Hall

An evening that showcased the music of Ravel and Debussy, taking all on a journey across the channel to the streets of Paris, whilst transporting us to magical lands in Debussy's Petite Suite and Ravel's Ballet Ma Mere L'Oye. 

A blend of jazz and impressionism was heard in Ravel's scintillating Piano Concerto in G major, with soloist Tony Wong. 

Symphony - michaelmas 2021

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Saturday 27th November | Elvet Methodist Church

For their first concert of the academic year, DUOS Symphony Orchestra explored the music of Russia & The Soviet Union, from the tragic beauty of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony paired with the fire of Khachaturian's Spartacus Suite No. 2, and the heroism of Sibelius' Finlandia. 

The concert also showcased the hidden gem that is Arutiunian's Trumpet Concerto, with soloist Clara Falkowska, a concerto teeming with lyricism and vigour. 

This concert was musical escapism at its finest. 

Joint concert - eASTER 2021

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Sunday 27th June 2021 | Sage, Gateshead

Durham University Orchestral Society performed with Chancellor Sir Thomas Allen, a world renowned operatic baritone. 

The concert celebrated music at Durham University and featured great orchestral classics such as Stravinsky's Firebird 1919 Suite, Wagner's Prelude & Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde, and Beethoven's 8th Symphony. 

The event also featured a world premiere performance of a student composition by Marcello Palazzo, commissioned for the Sir Thomas Allen, who performed as a narrator alongside the orchestra. 

joint concert - epiphany 2020 


Saturday 7th March 2020 | Elvet Methodist Church

'High praise must be given to Will Fox and the Chamber Orchestra, especially all the soloists, for their highly professional performances in both pieces.'

'The Orchestra dealt well with the gradual rhythmic disintegration of the material towards the latter half of the piece under the direction of Marcello Palazzo ... Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable performance.'

'The Orchestra should be congratulated for delivering such an exemplary concert, which was a touching tribute to the late Orlando Gonzales, father of a former DUOS member.'

chamber - michaelmas 2019


Friday 7th December 2019 | Castle Great Hall

'The Orchestra boasted a well-balanced and diverse programme executed to perfection.'


'Gabriel Francis-Dehqani was a joy to watch and listen to and the rest of the orchestra supported him beautifully, filling the space effectively even though there were so few of them.'

'All-in-all, this was a brilliant first concert by DUOS Chamber this year, and I'm certainly looking forward to the rest of their concerts this year!'

symphony | the brave and the bold - michaelmas 2019

Saturday 23rd November 2019 | Elvet Methodist Church

'Marcello Palazzo's conducting extracted beautiful musicality from the players.'

'Laura's virtuosity and character in bringing this fantastic piece to life rightly blew away the audience; an excellent rendition of a formidable concerto.'

'The debut performance of DUOS 2019-2020 has certainly been a success, with a brave and bold programme, fierce playing, and wonderful musicianship all round.'

joint concert | a symphonic journey - easter 2019


Saturday 22nd June 2019 | Durham Cathedral

'The Durham Cathedral acoustic works wonders with the Orchestra; a thoroughly strong performance from DUOS Chamber.' 

'...The intensity from all was suitably bombastic and passionate...'

'Once again, DUOS Symphony demonstrates its passion and energy in bringing to life one of the true greats of the 20th Century symphonic repertoire, and one of Alex's favourite works, to conclude his four-year association with the society.' 

Joint concert - epiphany 2019

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Saturday 16th March 2019 | Elvet Methodist Church

'Durham University Orchestral Society pulled off a fantastically challenging concert last night; with the forces of the Chamber and Symphony Orchestras combined, the height of Durham's instrumental musicianship was certainly on show...'

'...Rapid string writing was played with impressive virtuosity...'

'...DUOS were on a very high form tonight...'

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