The History of The
Rhondda Symphony Orchestra
The Rhondda Symphony Orchestra was started on a frosty night in March 1968, in Tonypandy Grammar School hall. Jeff Lloyd had gathered barely a dozen highly regarded musicians to meet together as a group for the first time, with a stack of dusty unused music which had been salvaged from a pile of papers heading for the bonfire (which turned out to contain symphonies by Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Brahms, also suites by Vaughn Williams, Gustav Holst and many other famous composers). These well known musicians immediately drew the attention of many keen amateur musicians wanting to play along with them. Many of the younger up and coming musicians that joined in those first months and years, went on to play and lead professional orchestras around the country including the Halle Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and The Welsh National Opera.
Jeff was in no rush to have the orchestra perform in public, but was more focused on playing for the enjoyment. So it took until May 1970 for RSO to have its first concert held in Upper Rhondda Comprehensive School in Treorchy. With such a great success, it was no surprise that this led to the RSO playing many concerts over the following years, many of them with well respected professional soloists joining them for the performance. One for example was the 10th anniversary of the RSO in September 1978, Jeff invited the internationally acclaimed clarinettist Jack Brymer to be the soloist. It was an enormous success, although Jack nearly missed the concert, arriving after the overture with seconds to spare before the start of his performance of Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No2.
Since then the Rhondda Symphony Orchestra has played many concerts, not just in South Wales, but also in touring parts of Europe. Sometimes the concerts have been to support local choirs or Charity organisations, but always performing because of their enjoyment of playing music!