Four years after it was originally planned, an afternoon of original music, together with classical favourites, was enjoyed by an audience of almost 200.

The City of Peterborough Symphony Orchestra (CPSO) put on its spring concert on Sunday March 17 at the Queen Katherine Academy Hall.

The orchestra was joined by five student percussionists, from the Peterborough Centre for Young Musicians (PCYM) to play a specially commissioned piece, Apkallu:Protector, by Martin Bright.

The piece was originally planned before the Covid lockdown to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the CPSO but had to be cancelled as concerts were restricted.

Inspired by the beliefs of the ancient Assyrians and their protectors, the extraordinary Apkallu - part-man, part-animal – the music was a true celebration, with dances and processions, but also moments of quiet reflection, that felt quite poignant given the time that has passed since the originally planned concert.

Deirdre Culloty, chair of CPSO, said: “While we wished to have played this special piece sooner to celebrate our 30 years as an orchestra, we can certainly say it was worth the wait.

“All the orchestra enjoyed playing such an original piece and to have five talented local young musicians join us on stage, it was an exciting opportunity for us all.”

Martin Bright, the composer, studied at the Royal College of Music in London, and has performed in the Albert Hall, St Paul’s cathedral and West End theatre productions, and currently teaches percussion in Peterborough.

Martin said: “I first began to develop this work in 2018, so to hear it today, played to an audience and with five of my fantastic students having the opportunity to be part of the orchestra, it really was a special moment.

“Thank you to the CPSO for commissioning this work, and conductor Bjorn Bantock and all the orchestra for their hard work in rehearsing and bringing the piece to life.”

As well as the performance of Martin’s Apkallu:Protector, the concert audience also enjoyed Edward Elgar’s entertaining Enigma Variations, and Vaughan Williams collection of English Folk Songs.

The next CPSO concert will be held at Peterborough Cathedral on June 22, with guest pianist Katya Apekisheva playing Rachmaninov’s piano concerto No 2.

Tickets will be available soon at

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