Surveys

At our March 2018 concert we distributed the following survey. A total of 89 submissions were received, on paper and electronically. Thank you everyone who responded. Here is a summary of the results.

Questions about the March 2018 concert in particular:

Was the publicity for this concert useful to you?Bar chart of results

Was the printed programme for this concert useful?

Were the spoken introductions during this concert useful?

Could you see and hear everything clearly during this concert?

Which of tonight’s pieces were already familiar to you?

Was the Smetana Overture: Bartered Bride a suitable choice for this concert?

Was the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto a suitable choice for this concert?

Was the Shostakovich Symphony No. 15 a suitable choice for this concert?

Other comments about the March 2018 concert in particular

  • The soloist was outstanding
  • Found the Shostakovitch quite challenging
  • I cried during the Tchaikovsky because it was lovely
  • The concert was originally programmed for the 17th and the change to the 10th proved very inconvenient
  • Fantastic soloist excellent programme
  • An absolute joy – from beginning to end your concerts are the highlight of my year
  • Very good solo violinist
  • The last piece difficult to follow if you are not a musician
  • Waiting to get refreshments v.slow – need extra serving points to speed up the process
  • Excellent venue
  • Enjoy being introduced to pieces of music I am unfamiliar with
  • People allowed in whilst concert in progress – please desist!
  • Exhilarating; exciting
  • Tremendous concert; wonderful selection; passionate playing; amazing soloists
  • Fantastic, enjoy every minute of concert
  • Latecomers were let in and this was distracting
  • Stunning playing by the soloist – an absolute treat. Superb dynamic variation by the orchestra. Thank you – very moving performance of the Shostakovitch.
  • Noisy audience – perhaps a reminder is needed not to unwrap sweets, drink from plastic bottles and talk/whisper! Not usually a problem but was distracting this evening.
  • Pity that stewards let people in late and distracted the beginning of the overture
  • Good balanced programme
  • More light during concert in order to read programme. Programme notes divided into movements would be helpful-need lights for this.
  • The refreshment queue needs sorting out.
  • We need a ‘lollipop’ piece at each concert.
  • Finish by 10pm please
  • Balanced programme
  • What a shame it clashed with other concerts.
  • People should NOT be allowed to take their seats DURING the music
  • Shostakovitch no.15 is an interesting choice, but I would have preferred no.10 (or no.5) but best of all no.7 (perhaps too much to ask!)
  • Good to hear something less familiar with regular repertoire
  • What a great orchestra (and conductor!) to be able to bring it off so successfully
  • The Tchaikovsky was well known to me – and a favourite. Anna-Liisa Bezrodny was in my view absolutely brilliant – but I am not really a music critic! To me, although I have recordings of Shostakovitch Symphonies 7 & 8, this No.15 was not for me.
  • The concert was as varied and intense as any I have been to over about 6 years. The orchestra and conductor must have found it very demanding and tiring but the 3 performances were all excellent and powerful. The conductor’s explanation of the Shostakovitch was particularly helpful in giving some deeper understanding of the piece, and emotional depth and political impact of it.
  • Outstanding performance by Anna-Liisa Bezrodny supported very well by the orchestra and excellent rapport with and through Adrian Brown. Another very good and enjoyable concert-Adrian’s excellent and so well informed background introduction to the complex Shostakovitch Symphony enhanced our appreciation of the performance significantly.
  • violin concertos seem to suit the venue very well. The sound of the solo violin seems to project very well which is more than can be said for many major concert halls.
  • I feel that playing the Shostakovitch must have been great fun. It was not the most ‘listenable’ piece but interesting to see live. I cannot imagine listening to it on a recording with much enjoyment.
  • General comment – spoken intro too long – and for me, too technical. If there must be a spoken intro then short and to the point rather than repeating what is in the programme.
  • wonderful solo violinist
  • Good mix as usual
  • I could hear the music very well but very little of the conductor’s introduction. It would be helpful to have the descriptions of the movements (e.g. Adagio, Allegretto) in the programme.
  • No problem hearing the music: the conductor’s introduction is an excellent idea; but it is impossible to hear him from a seat in the balcony, because:
  • he speaks too far away from the microphone
  • he lowers his voice at the end of each clause or sentence
  • he speaks too quickly
  • He should hold the microphone close to his mouth or use a lapel microphone and speak more slowly. The orchestra’s performance for an amateur orchestra is excellent and the concert hall first class.”
  • This concert showed the superb quality of the orchestra (and the violinist solo)
  • Would you please ensure that future concert dates do not coincide with other local orchestras in particular Sidcup Symphony Orchestra as our letter dated 14th October 2016 attached. For  example: This year BSO changed the concert from 17.03.2018 to 10.03.2018 that clashed with SSO concert.
  • Keep programming with imagination and adventure
  • It was a superb concert – I enjoyed every minute
  • Shostakovitch was a challenge but worth staying with. Marvellous!
  • Late-comers should not be allowed in after the concert has started, particularly as they had to cross the whole width of the auditorium.
  • The programme was well balanced and the quality of the music making was high. A very enjoyable evening.
  • Do I perceive recently a slight change in the programming? Although a move I would support a fine balance is still required which this programme achieves.
  • Despite the above the numbers attending do not seem to increase. Do you send ‘reviews’ to the local papers – they are often keen for ‘free’ copy? Do you contact Radio 3 for their ‘free’ advertising of concerts?
  • I thought that the programme was balanced and very enjoyable.
  • It is a pity that the audience does not seem to increase despite this type of programming. I wonder whether you submit ‘reviews’ to the local newspapers or contact Radio 3 to get their free publicity.
  • Brilliant and dynamic soloist in the Tchaikovsky violin concerto.
  • A comment that has nothing to do with the concert. We are both disabled and come from some distance by car. Although we generally arrive 30mins before the start we have great difficulty in finding a parking place reasonably close to the hall and end up parking behind another car. We always display our blue badge.
  • A well thought out programme
  • Nice programme. 1st time I know all three
  • Always thrilling to watch the percussion section in action!
  • A really interesting combination of pieces
  • Printed programme useful but unless one had a very good memory – I was unable to read it when the lights went out.
  • Spoken introductions useful if one could hear them
  • See everything clearly: Could see everything since 3 seats in row in front & one seat in front of them were empty.
  • Could not hear the conductors comments as I don’t think Mr Adrian Brown had the microphone near enough to his mouth. It is the same every concert!
  • I rated probably ratted Shostakovich just average because I don’t like it, but accept that others might. (For the players I am sure it’s both fun and a real challenge.)
  • A quite outstanding performance all round
  • I loved this concert.  My introduction to  Shostakovich and I found it marvellous and very  moving.  Adrian Brown’s pre playing talks are always v.helpful, especially for new pieces and add to the pleasure of the concert.  The soloist, Anna-Liisa Bezrodny played beautifully and was as one with the orchestra;  who were, as usual terrific in all sections.  A Magical night of music. Thank you.
  • The soloist: Anna-Liisa Bezrodny was tremendous.  What a treat.
  • I sometimes find the March concert a little challenging!  The pieces on the 10th March were to me a more pleasing selection.
  • I don’t know how I would have managed listening to the Shostakovich piece without some guidance from Adrian though.
  • Thank you to everyone involved in the concert.  I am very appreciative.
  • The three pieces ranged from the light, cheerful and familiar Smetana to the less well known Shostakovich – with the emotional Tchaikovsky with its excellent soloist, in between; I enjoyed the contrast of the three.
  • I thought this was very interesting programming, in fact I would say that about the entire season.  The orchestra sounds great.  I’m no expert but I see little difference between the BSO and fully professional orchestras.  Not absolutely convinced that the acoustic is great however….couple of passages when two French horns at the rear of the stage drowned out the soloist, but you get this kind of thing in large concert venues like the R.Festival Hall.  Very minor criticism.  Fabulous concert.
  • All three works were excellently performed, particularly the very tricky symphony. The soloist gave a memorable performance of the concerto.

Questions about Bromley Symphony Orchestra concerts in general

How would you prefer to find out about new or changed BSO concerts in future?

Do you find it easy to purchase tickets?

Are our ticket prices reasonable?

Are our programme prices reasonable?

Are our refreshment prices reasonable?

Do you think it would be better if performers were dressed a little less formally?

Would it be better if spoken announcements were moved to a pre-concert talk?

Which particular piece or composer would you most like to hear us perform?

  • Ravel
  • Sebelius, Dvorak, Grieg, Britten
  • Shostakovitch Gadfly Suite
  • Shostakovitch Leningrad, Ravel, Bernstein
  • Rachmaninov, Chopin, Beethoven and Mozart
  • Beethoven, Haydn
  • Baroque composers, Vivaldi for instance.
  • Sviridov “snow strom suite”
  • Mahler
  • Mozart/Handel
  • Elgar
  • The Planets and Vivaldi 4 Seasons
  • I’m happy with the selection
  • any Beethoven or JS Bach
  • like whatever is chosen
  • impossible to say; surprise me as ever!
  • Mahler. The armed man -Karl Jenkins
  • Mahler, Rachmaninov
  • Ravel’s Bolero, Richard Strauss – Four Last Songs
  • Copland, Khatchaturian
  • Dvorak New World, Debussy La Mer
  • more later 20th Century composers and unusual works – always great when you hear rarer repertoire
  • Philip Glass
  • Janacek
  • Chopin piano concerto no.2
  • Beethoven,Mozart,Mahker,Chopin, more Rachmaninov
  • Elgar Symphony No.1
  • some more 20th century music
  • Vaughan Williams Symp.5 (or 6 or 4), or Tallis Fantasia
  • Wagner Tanhauser. Berlioz Symphony Fantastic, Un Ball
  • Brahms – any Symphony or concerto
  • Happy to listen to anything – you keep a good balance
  • Britten – Les Illuminations (providing you can find an upcoming tenor with good annunciation), Copland – Symphony no.3
  • Schubert
  • happy with the current mic
  • Elgar-but we like the mixture of hearing pieces we don’t know
  • Mahler, Wagner
  • Always very good selection
  • Beethoven, Mahler, but I like a wide-ranging programme

 Which particular improvement would you most like us to make?

  • Refreshments as they used to be (no fizzy stuff, Apple/orange juice and water)
  • It would be good to bag recording of the concerts
  • 7.30pm start please! Cheaper tickets for BYMT students?
  • lights
  • only one introduction from the conductor
  • Strauss
  • Probably not very convenient but a handrail to the steps in the circle would be helpful to older folk
  • Revert to previous system for interval drinks
  • stewards to help up/down the very risky steps – as there are not enough handholds
  • I prefer ‘non orchestra’ soloists
  • shorten spoken section, improve interval service
  • less of a queue for the interval drinks
  • refreshments:slow & don’t like the new franchise system-or what is on offer
  • Publicity!
  • Improve the condutor’s introductory talk

 What do you enjoy most about our concerts? Do you have any other comments?

  • I enjoy all concerts
  • high standard of performance
  • watching the timpani!”
  • high quality of music and performance
  • varied programmes and excellent soloists
  • The varied programme
  • the complete professionalism
  • The music and the info provided before each piece by Adrian Brown
  • high standard of orchestra, convenient venue, good acoustic, comfortable seating
  • Good acoustics, pieces and composers I do not know well and comfortable auditorium
  • excellent variety of music very well explained and well performed
  • comfortable seats, local venue, lovely auditorium and lovely selection of varied music
  • They are very good musically in an informal atmosphere.
  • everything
  • wonderful concert, music very high standard
  • high standard, very professional
  • we like the soloists and the variety of the performed music
  • Good balanced programming
  • Nice to occasionally hear soloists from orchestra
  • can now buy drinks without queuing as can order before concert
  • Excellent orchestra – excellent concert hall
  • wonderful playing – terrific variety of repertoire.
  • Very good acoustics in the hall
  • enthusiastic, local music making
  • watching & listening to good musicians with the added musical observations by Adrian
  • being local, no long, late journey home.
  • Pre-concert remarks are always entertaining and useful
  • The introduction to each piece of music
  • I enjoy Adrian Brown’s introductions and atmosphere
  • The opportunity to enjoy the talents and enthusiasm of local people – a great community asset
  • excellent LOCAL music making
  • The cordial atmosphere generated by Adrian Brown
  • great performances of great music in wonderful company
  • Enjoy greatly
  • To hear in a pleasant environment – very easy to reach, music of quality. An excellent orchestra with performers having many talents.
  • The quality of the performances and the helpful explanations given by Adrian to introduce each piece.
  • Excellent standard with particularly able leaders of sections; the introductions to the pieces. Interval drinks were much better with previous system.
  • continue your current policy of mixing a popular concerto or symphony with a MAJOR less well known work. Excellent!
  • the variety of the different pieces
  • the quality of the performance
  • the mixture of known and unfamiliar interesting pieces
  • Variety of music, interesting young talent as soloists, musicians engaging making music
  • like the variety of composers over the season
  • Programme notes, conductor’s anecdotes, community spirit, high standard, varied programme – and 4 for 3 on tickets + introduction to many amazing soloists.
  • Adrian Brown’s erudition and expertise
  • Good sightlines

Would you like to help the orchestra more as a patron or as a volunteer?


At our May 2011 concert we distributed this survey (and a promotional pen) to everyone in the audience. We received 167 completed returns, containing many excellent suggestions for future programmes and improvements, including offers to help in various ways. Many thanks to everyone who participated!

The results are summarised below.

 Audience Survey 2011

Responses shown in red

1. How did you first hear about tonight’s concert?
39% Previous programme     4% Reminder letter           6% Email list          2% Website
26% Orchestra member         7% Brochure/Banner         16% Friend            1% Press

Details/Other..Season ticket holder, poster at library, steward

2. Do you know someone in the orchestra?
35% No    36% Friend          24% Relative    4% Neighbour    2% Colleague

Details/Other…Friend of friend, ex-teacher, other groups

3. Are you likely to come to our next concert on 12th November 2011?
99% Yes, probably     1% No, not interested    1% No, can’t      0% No, too expensive

Details/Other…Definitely, depends on programme, depends on babysitter availability, not sure

Legacy HallWe are considering making a move in November 2012 to a brand new, purpose-built 500-seat concert hall with parking, – Bromley’s first – currently being constructed about two miles west of here at Langley Park School for Boys.
4. Would you be more or less likely to attend our concerts there than here?
21% More likely           10% Less likely       70% About the same

Comments…Hopefully accessible by bus, if there is a train station nearby, depends on disabled access, would attend anyway, so long as parking available, rather depends on the acoustics, a tiered venue would be wonderful, it’s further to go, will be sorry to leave this school

5. Is there a particular composition or type of music you would like us to perform?

Vaughan Williams, Phillip Glass, Bach, Mozart, Mahler, Prokofiev, Britten, Walton, Wagner, Sarasate, Saint-Saëns, Gershwin, Debussy, Ravel, Delius, Strauss, Shostakovich, Beethoven, Chopin, Elgar, Borodin, Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Finzi, John Williams, film music, jazz, concertos, English, Russian, French, choral, classical, 20th C, baroque, variety, more of the same, something calming, children’s concert

6. What could we change so you would recommend us to more of your friends?

Less talk more music, comfortable seats, more publicity, week night/daytime concerts, no change

7. Did you buy a programme tonight?
85% Yes           5% No, not interested        4% No, too expensive    6% Didn’t see one

Comments…Very informative

8. Did you buy an interval drink tonight?
64% Yes           34% No, not interested       1% No, too expensive    1% Didn’t know I could

Comments…Long queue, we miss the hot drinks

9. Did you attend our free summer workshop last year (there will be none in 2011)?
7% Yes            20% No, not interested       40% No, couldn’t     33% Didn’t know about it

Comments…Would like to hear the rehearsal as well, would like to know more

10. Would you like to be more involved with the orchestra, e.g. by helping with administration, publicity or concerts?
93% No             7% Yes, my contact details are below

11. Would you like to receive email reminders before each concert?
62% No             16% Yes, my email address is below          21% I already do

12. Would you like to be added to the postal mailing list?
The postal mailing list provides the earliest opportunity to receive the new season’s brochure in late July/early August for booking seats. By the end of August more than half the hall, the best seats, have been booked for the whole season.
38% No             15% Yes, my address is below         46% I’m already on it

13. Approximately when did you start coming to our concerts?

Year…45% <= 5 years ago,  16% 6-10 years, 21% 11-19 years, 19% > 20 years, earliest 1946


At our November 2005 concert we distributed this survey (and a promotional pen) to everyone in the audience. We received 174 completed returns.

2005 Audience Survey

Responses shown in red

We are asking for your opinion about our concerts and any improvements we could make, to help us balance our limited resources. We want to keep performing challenging and interesting programmes without raising prices if we can.

Cartoon of musicians blown away by wind
Are we too loud?

1. What do you think of our recent programmes (choice of music) in general?
[70%] a) Great, just keep it coming
1%] b) A bit boring, I’ve heard most of it before, needs more variety
[17%] c) A bit too avant-garde, I’d prefer more familiar pieces
[14%] d) I’d prefer more concertos and smaller works with soloists
[32%] e) I like large works with a full symphony orchestra
[  3%] f) Concerts are sometimes too long for me
5%] g) Longer concerts with an occasional encore would add value
[25%] h) OK, but why don’t you ever perform the following: (See a selection below)

2. Do you feel our concerts have educational value?
[80%] a) Yes – I especially like Adrian Brown’s spoken introductions
[57%] b) Yes – I usually buy a programme to help me understand what I’m hearing
[ 8%] c) I would pay more than the usual £1 for a larger programme with more detailed notes
7%] d) Too much! Just give me music

3. The last time you missed one of our concerts, what were the main reasons for your absence?
[67%] a) I couldn’t come because of other commitments
5%] b) I didn’t like the programme enough
7%] c) I didn’t know about it or forgot

4. How did you first hear about us?
[10%] a) I can’t remember
[60%] b) I knew one of the performers
[16%] c) Other word of mouth
[  0%] d) I found you on the internet
4%] e) From a newspaper
[  0%] f)  On the radio
6%] g) From a BSO brochure or leaflet

Who/where? (49% responded)

5. How do our concert times suit you?
8%] a) It’s often a rush to get there, an 8pm start would be better
8%] b) Concerts often finish too late for me, I would prefer them to be shorter or start earlier
3%] c) I often can’t get there on Saturdays, I would prefer Sunday concerts
2%] d) I don’t like going out late, matinées would be better
5%] e) Three concerts a year would be enough
[36%] f) An extra summer concert would be nice
(45% no response or happy with current times)

6. How could we improve the Ravensbourne Hall facilities?
[53%] a) It’s fine – the best concert hall in Bromley
[25%] b) Include refreshments in the ticket price to reduce the interval queue
[13%] c) I find it hard to hear Adrian’s introductions
7%] d) It’s often too hot
1%] e) It’s often too cold
3%] f) I would pay (lots) more for better seating
2%] g) I’m willing to donate the cost of a full pipe organ
[22%] h) Other more practical suggestions (See a selection below)

7. Are our ticket prices reasonable?
[33%] a) Yes indeed, you could reasonably charge a bit more if you had to
[63%] b) Yes, so leave them as they are
[  0%] c) They’re too high, please reduce them even if this restricts programme choice a bit

8. Might we be able to persuade you to…
[  1%] a) Become our new Concert Manager (our current one is leaving after this concert)?
[  0%] b) Help as a concert steward, programme seller or with refreshments (and get a free ticket)?
[  1%] c) Help us between concerts with programmes or publicity?
[  1%] d) Help us find additional funding or sponsorship?
[  6%] e) Make a donation as a Patron?
2%] f) Remember us in your will?
2%] g) Join as a playing member? Instrument

Thanks for taking the time to complete this survey! Please keep the pen, with our compliments. Results will be posted on our web site soon. Please add your contact details or comments below if you wish. Anonymous returns are fine.
(24% gave a name, 17% an address, 33% left comments, see a selection below)

[  4%] Please add me to your mailing list

Some of the typical programme suggestions in 2005 (from question 1 h)

  • British music and artists should be featured more often…Moeran, Finzi, Bax, Ireland, Stanford, Leighton, Rubbra, Howells, Vaughan-Williams, Tippett, Walton, Elgar, Arnold…

  • Let’s have some music from shows and films…Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Basil Poledouns, Ron Goodwin, John Barry, Bernstein, Walton…

  • Sometimes a bit heavy…more familiar pieces

  • More: Mahler, Brahms, Bruch, Schubert, Wagner, Bruckner, Dvořak, Elgar, Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Gliève, Fauré, Strauss, Bach, Delius, Debussy, Gershwin, Prokofiev, Janáček, Smetana, Orff, Rachmaninov, ballet music, American composers, early music, overtures…

  • A profile on orchestra members

Some suggestions for improvements at the venue (from question 6 h)

  • Someone to manage car parking would be helpful…Could you possibly reserve a few spaces for the disabled near the entrance of the HALL?

  • Hard to hear Adrian in the gallery…Could use a mike…Can’t be heard from the back seats…

  • Not easy to see the soloists and orchestra from the back but sound is good…The existing seating is comfortable – no need for change…The seats are a bit hard…As it’s a school you won’t get better seating…

  • Please start on time…Interval sometimes too long…Reduce interval queue…Coffee sometimes too hot to drink before being recalled…

  • Could you have a word with the school about their toilet facilities – please!

A representative selection of general comments at the end of the survey

  • Thanks for introducing to music I would not consider. Does encourage you to broaden your horizons…Your concerts are excellent. They show more innovation than many professional concerts…I always keep an eye on your programmes as they contain such interesting music…admirable adventure and ambition…The concert programme is usually a good mix of well known and lesser known works and a good variety of styles.

  • More popular works occasionally might bring in the punters…some of the works chosen recently have been overly difficult for both orchestra and audience alike… I like to learn new works, but I know a friend who comes only when the items are familiar!…You are never going to please everybody in your choice of composers…I would like one familiar piece in each concert.

  • The programme notes are very helpful, as are Adrian Brown’s introductions…Adrian Brown is fantastic – I love his introductions…Adrian’s introductions often too long…tends to repeat the programme notes…Very much enjoy Adrian’s intro’s – breaks down barriers between orchestra and audience.

  • A CD or even better a video to sell of highlights of the year would be a way to make some funds

  • Many congratulations on the high standard of playing…The Mahler this evening was superb…If someone told me you were the best amateur orchestra in the country, I would believe it!…We never miss a concert unless we’re very very ill!…It’s a real joy to come and listen to a superb orchestra with a knowledgable, enthusiastic and charismatic conductor…The orchestra just gets better and better – we so look forward to the season…Bromley should be extremely proud of its Symphony Orchestra.