The Barn Theatre,
25 Bluehouse Lane, Oxted, Surrey
RH8 0AA.

Tel: 01959 561811
Email: barntheatre



The Barn Sinfonietta (formerly The Barn Bande)


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January 29th 2005 - Tippett & Friends - A Centenary Tribute

Sir Michael Tippett, world famous composer, lived and worked in Oxted for over 20 years. He was closely associated with The Barn Theatre during that time. Our evening, to celebrate the centenary of his birth, will be a musical portrait about his time spent here - his work and that of others who visited him here or whose music strongly influenced him including pieces by Vaughan Williams, Holst, Britten, Corelli and Purcell.

January 31st 2004 - A concert including Leigh's Concertino for Harpsichord and Strings a Symposium by Johan Katz and The Seasons by Vivaldi

About Us

The Barn Sinfionetta is dedicated to the regular performance of beautiful music played by professional musicians in a relaxed atmosphere

The chamber orchestra repertoire is very rich indeed. To fully explore this magnificent music, it is our intention to remain just that - a chamber orchestra, adding only a few winds as we progress. Furthermore, where-ever possible our soloists will be drawn from within our own ranks.

All too often audiences are told what to listen to and musicians are told what they will play. We welcome input from all. We are not only dedicated to include much neglected masterpieces in our programming, but wish to include music musicians want to play and you, our audience, want to hear.

We feel our area is ready to support this innovative effort.

Special thanks go to Rachael Maher and Samantha Rowe whose dedication and enthusiasm helped make the orchestra a reality. Our thanks go also to the Barn Theatre and Bruce Reed for their unflinching support.

Johan Michael Katz Music Director


Press Release


A new chamber orchestra has been formed in our area. It is called The Barn Sinfionetta. The professional group of musicians will be conducted by Music Director, Johan Michael Katz who has lived in Oxted for nearly 20 years.

Dedicated to the performance of beautiful classical music in a relaxed atmosphere, the group's next concerts will be on October 24th and December 5th in the Barn Theatre, Bluehouse Lane, Oxted at 19:45. The programs will include works by Mozart, Bach, Bloch and Barber. Performances are planned at regular intervals throughout the season next year.

The Barn Bande is starting out with 18 string players but plans to add some winds before long. "Since the repertoire available to a true chamber orchestra is so abundant we will always remain relatively small" says Johan. "Another feature is that we hope to draw many of our soloists from our own ranks. Rachael Maher, Concertmaster and Samantha Rowe principal cellist will both solo in the October concert. We would like to see local musicians associated with The Barn Bande as well."

These days players and audiences have very little input into what is played. We welcome suggestions from both for our future planning.

"We feel this area has a real niche for our innovative approach." continues Johan who was born in the Netherlands but educated at New England Conservatory in the USA. His teachers included Walter Susskind and Noam Sheriff (conducting) and Zara Nelsova (cello). "With my background and enthusiasm we hope to achieve just the correct mix of neglected masterpieces and better known works in our programs. The key to our selections will be player and audience appeal".

In the past Johan has formed the Ann Arbor Chamber Symphony in Michigan and the ISA Brass in Boston and has conducted in the UK, Switzerland and the USA.

THE BARN BANDE at the Barn Theatre, Oxted 24th October 2002

The first performance by a new orchestra was obviously going to be a very special occasion for Oxted and there was keen anticipation in the audience at the Barn Theatre, to hear them play for the first time. A very attractive girl, carrying a violin, came onto the stage, followed by another and still more until all 13 young ladies, some with violins, others with ‘cellos and finally a bass, filled the stage. Unobtrusively 2 men with violins and one with a viola filled what little space was left and all welcomed their Music Director, Johan Katz.

The Leader was Rachael Maher, a fine soloist in her own right, as she later demonstrated in a performance of Bach’s Violin Concerto in A Minor. An experienced performer, she is also the Undergraduate Administrator at the Royal College of Music.

In the first part of the concert there were also works by Mozart and by Legrenzi, (1626-1690) a composer who is mainly known for his creative advancement of instrumental style.

The musicians were more confident with the Mozart, the wonderful sweeping sound of 18 strings making this a concert to remember.

Katz is not a flamboyant conductor, he almost seemed to be coaxing the music from his players Their response showed the great rapport he has built up since he first started to gather these enthusiasts round him last May.

Although Hindemith’s Music for Mourning, gave Samamtha Rowe an opportunity as a ‘cello soloist, which she did with great skill, the four movements, written on the death of King George V, seemed overlong.

Vivaldi’s Concerto a Quatro in A Major made a good opening to the second part, but Bloch’s Concerto Grosso No 1 did not really give the pianist, Michael Barlow, a chance to be heard. Although this is classed as piece for string orchestra with piano obbligato, he was barely evident with eighteen string players at full strength in front of him. He is a composer, organist, accompanist, choral conductor and writer and the concert would have benefited from a piece giving more emphasis to the piano. A wonderful evening of classical music, in a theatre having excellent acoustics, and we look forward to the next concert of the “Barn Bande” on 26th November with music by Vivaldi, Grieg, Handel and Corelli.

Derrick Graham