Milton Keynes City Orchestra gave its first performance under the baton of its Founder Conductor, Hilary Davan Wetton, in February 1975. Over 35 years since, it has built a national reputation, establishing itself as the live classical music resource for Milton Keynes and the surrounding area. It plays an important part in the cultural life of the city, engaging particularly with the education sector, the business community and as a valuable arts resource.
The Orchestra presents an annual concert season - details of the forthcoming 2012 - 2013 season have just been announced - with a series of concerts at Milton Keynes Theatre. This season's highlights include a performance by Young Musician of the Year 2008, trombonist Peter Moore; a Patrons' concert with a piece personally chosen by the Patrons of the Orchestra; and works by Ludovico Einaudi, Michael Nyman, Mozart, Grieg, Bach, Haydn and more. The Orchestra will also continue the "Chamber Roots" season of small orchestra concerts, presented at Stantonbury Campus Theatre. Highlights of this series include a performance of The Four Seasons featuring the Orchestra's leader, Diana Cummings.
Members of the Orchestra regularly work within the community enabling people of all ages and experiences to participate in and enjoy music making through practical workshops, composition projects, family and schools concerts, coaching, orchestral training and other creative projects. The Orchestra frequently collaborates with the Danesborough Chorus and Milton Keynes Chorale; and smaller ensembles regularly perform in the city including at the Open University, John Lewis, Milton Keynes Central Station, The University Centre, as well as for many private and Corporate events.
Whilst the Orchestra has been traditionally committed to Milton Keynes and its environs, it continues to work further afield –having performed, for example, in “Jersey’s First Proms”; with the City of London Choir at St John’s, Smith Square, London; with Hertford Choral Society; and as a part of the English Music Festival. The Orchestra has also undertaken tours to the USA and France. It has released six recordings on the Unicorn-Kanchana and Hyperion labels. Hilary Davan Wetton and the Orchestra also performed in the Classic FM “Masterclass” series of introduced works.
In September 2007, we were delighted to announce that Sian was to become Principal Conductor of the Orchestra, the baton being formally passed to her by Hilary Davan Wetton on his retirement. Hilary has given over 35 years of distinguished service to the formation, growth and popularity of the Orchestra, and Milton Keynes City Orchestra welcomes its continuing association with Hilary in his role as Founder Conductor.