Chuma Sjeqa

What a season of musical highlights the Orchestra of St John’s has in store for you! And while a rousing St Matthew Passion is the highlight, there is a wealth of interesting and eclectic concerts to enjoy in the meantime featuring the likes of Ravel, Gershwin and Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Gorecki and Kodaly’s gypsy-folk inspired dances.

First up is an extra special concert – an inclusive evening of inspirational music-making of classical and jazz music by autistic performers at Dorchester Abbey on January 20. Following its success last year, it’s hosted by OSJ Music for Autism and features two amazing pianists Derek Paravicini, Ashleigh Turley, Poppy McGhee on violin and the acclaimed soprano Hannah Davey, alongside other young musicians across the spectrum of neurodiversity. BOOK HERE

Derek Paravicini

For example, Derek was born three and a half months prematurely, is blind and has severe autism. But with perfect pitch, innate talent and a lot of practice, he became a concert pianist by the age of 10. He can play almost any piece by ear in any key and style and is one of the most extraordinary pianists and musicians of his generation. So come and join him and his musical companions for this one-off inspiring event, with free tickets available for NHS workers and the disabled. BOOK HERE

Otherwise, Themes of childhood kicks off OSJ’s refreshing start to the season at Dorchester Abbey on February 17 with Kodaly‘s gypsy-folk inspired dances and Ravel‘s playful Mother Goose Suite to take you back. Soprano Hannah Davey performs Gorecki‘s heartrending contemplation of the love between mother and child, alongside Gliere‘s astonishing vocal symphony. BOOK HERE

Hannah Davey

Ravel is up next at SJE Arts on February 24 as OSJ Voices perform two pieces for an a cappella choir by Debussy and Ravel, whilst soprano Hannah Davey launches into the vocal acrobatics of Gliere‘s incredible concerto. The evening ends with Ravel’s poignant suite for piano which was composed between 1914 and 1917, each of the six movements dedicated to friends killed at the front. BOOK HERE

Celebrate Easter in style with Bach’s St Matthew Passion at SJE Arts on March 23 BOOK HERE and Dorchester Abbey on March 30 BOOK HERE in this huge highlight in Oxford’s musical year, featuring some of Bach’s most delicate chorales and rousing choruses, which are still as powerful today as when they were written nearly 300 years ago.


A more light-hearted evening can be had on April 13 as Gershwin and Tchaikovsky are given their moment in the sun on April 13 at Dorchester Abbey. Japanese pianist Maki Sekiya brings Gershwin’s fabulous Rhapsody in Blue to life. She is joined by soprano Danielle Maihalet and bass Chuma Sijeqa who will perform much-loved excerpts from Porgy and Bess. The evening is rounded off with Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, this most dramatic of works representing fate and the search for happiness. BOOK HERE

Maki Sekiya. photo by Volinsky

The genius of Gustav Mahler rounds up the spring season at SJE Arts on April 27, featuring four spectacular pieces spanning his lifetime. Movements from his first and final symphonies go hand in hand with Songs of the Wayfarer, composed in his early twenties, and Im Abendrot for an a cappella choir. BOOK HERE

For more information go to