Hillary Davan Wetton

Profile: Founder of Milton Keynes City Orchestra

Founder of Milton Keynes

City Orchestra

One of Britain’s most versatile and dynamic conductors, Hilary Davan Wetton is probably best known for his broadcasts on Classic FM’s Masterclass, with Milton Keynes Orchestra, from 1991 to 1995. In these programmes he introduced the great masterpieces of music with live orchestral examples to a large audience. As well as being Founder of the Milton Keynes City Orchestra, he is also Artistic Director of the City of London Choir and the Guildford Choral Society. As a recording artist his 1994 disc of Holst’s Choral Symphony with the Guildford Choral Society was awarded the prestigious Diapason d’Or. He has also made highly acclaimed recordings with the Holst Singers and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has a continuing association with the Leicester Philharmonic Choir for whom he has conducted the Brahms’ Requiem with the London Mozart Players in May. He has a particular commitment to young people. In 2002 he conducted the Edinburgh International Youth Orchestra during the Festival having been conductor of the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra for the previous five years and toured with them in Sweden and Denmark. He was founder/conductor of the Scottish Schools’ Orchestra from 1984 - 1995. In 2003 he conducted the National Children’s Orchestra in Symphony Hall, Birmingham and in the Queen Elizabeth Hall and returned to conduct them in 2008. Hilary performs regularly on Radio 3; he has given many premières both with the BBC Concert Orchestra and with the Ulster Orchestra. Between 1986 and 1989 he conducted a series of first broadcasts of 19th century British symphonies (by Cipriani Potter, Sterndale Bennett, William Crotch and Samuel Wesley) with the Ulster Orchestra. Subsequently he recorded much of this repertoire with the Milton Keynes Orchestra for Unicorn-Kanchana. In 1988/9 he made a series of recordings with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for Collins Classics. One of these (Holst’s Planets) was the recommended version in the Penguin CD Guide. In the opera pit, Hilary has appeared on a number of occasions with Travelling Opera, for whom he has conducted Cosi Fan Tutte, The Marriage of Figaro, Carmen and The Barber of Seville and for Co-Opera Madama Butterfly at the Marlow Theatre, Canterbury. In 1991 he conducted for the French company Ballet du Nord the first ever danced version of Mozart’s Requiem in a double bill with Stravinsky’s Apollo at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre. He was a pupil of Sir Adrian Boult at the Royal College of Music where he won the Ricordi Conducting Prize. An alumnus of Oxford University, he has also been awarded honorary degrees by the Open University (MA) and de Montfort University (DMus). More information from: www.hilarydavanwetton.co.uk