Each year, the orchestra reads, studies and rehearses between six and 10 works, normally including at least one symphony. The orchestra plays wherever possible from authentic versions of the music, restricting the use of special arrangements to instances where that is made necessary by the absence of particularly significant instruments.
A number of works have been specially written for the orchestra by its musical directors, members or other associates. During her 23 years as President Imogen Holst was an enthusiastic supporter who always remembered the orchestra’s at home concert, always sending an encouraging personal message if she was unable to attend. She also wrote three works for the orchestra: A Woodbridge Suite (1970); Joyce's Divertimento (1976) for solo viola and orchestra and dedicated to Director Bernard Barrell’s wife; and twelve short pieces under the title Deben Calendar (1978). More recently, WOS member Paul Benyon has written a number of works performed by the orchestra, including miniatures, a symphony and a clarinet concerto.
For further information see under More recent times.