The Orchestra presents an annual concert season at Milton Keynes Theatre. The current season has also featured a concert for Children and Families – “Creatures” - at the Theatre, presented especially for a young – and not so young – family audience. Members of the Orchestra regularly work with the community enabling people of all ages and experiences to participate and enjoy music and music-making through practical workshops, composition projects, family and schools concerts, coaching, orchestra training and other creative projects. The Orchestra also worked on a new initiative - Musical Estates, where a 10 piece ensemble from the Orchestra went out into a variety of estates including Netherfield, Bradville and The Lakes Estate in Milton Keynes and presented a series of workshops which culminated in local community concerts.
The Orchestra frequently collaborates with the Danesborough Chorus and Milton Keynes Chorale; and smaller ensembles regularly perform in the city including events at the Open University. Most recently, concerts featured young musicians from Milton Keynes Music Service performing as part of a great combined orchestra, with and alongside Milton Keynes City Orchestra musicians in a concert at Milton Keynes Theatre.
Milton Keynes City Orchestra gave its first performance under the baton of its founder, Hilary Davan Wetton, in February 1975. Over more than 30 years since, it has built a national and international reputation, becoming established as the live classical music resource for Milton Keynes and the surrounding area. The Orchestra is unique in being a professional orchestra which is resident, active, here in Milton Keynes – 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.
Whilst the Orchestra is traditionally committed to Milton Keynes and the surrounds, it continues to work further afield – performing at Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire; in “Jersey’s First Proms”; with the City of London Choir at St John’s, Smith Square, London; and off stage collaborating with Creative Partnerships, Slough on an education and outreach initiative combining music with mobile phone technology, supported by BBC Radio 3’s Listen Up series. The Orchestra has also undertaken tours to the USA and France. It has released six recordings on the Unicorn-Kanchana and Hyperion labels. Also, under the baton of Hilary Davan Wetton, the Orchestra broadcast the Classic FM Masterclass series of introduced works.
After over 30 years of distinguished service, having founded Milton Keynes City Orchestra, Hilary Davan Wetton formally passed the baton of Principal Conductor to Sian Edwards earlier this season.