Hilary Davan Wetton

About Hilary Davan Wetton

Hilary Davan Wetton is one of Britain's most distinguished conductors. Principal Conductor of the Milton Keynes City Orchestra from 1975 to 2007, he was also he was also Principal Conductor of the Wren Orchestra of London, from 1989 to 1996. He is now Associate Conductor of the London Mozart Players.

He is Musical Director of the City of London Choir and Artistic Director of the Leicester Philharmonic Choir. Founder-Conductor of the Holst Singers, he directed them from 1978 to 1992 and made a number of recordings of music by Holst, Bliss and Britten which have all been listed in the Penguin Guide. He has also made several outstanding recordings for Hyperion and Naxos with both the City of London and Guildford Choirs. His 1994 disc of Holst's Choral Symphony was awarded the Diapason d'Or. His latest disc with the CLC, Flower of the Field, went straight to the top of the classical charts in 2014. His most recent disc, Home for Christmas, with the Military Wives Choir and Orchestra, was at number two in the classical chart for six consecutive weeks over Christmas 2016.

The CLC is in the middle of an acclaimed series of concerts pairing late Haydn Masses with Mozart's greatest piano concertos at Cadogan Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Recordings of the masses will be issued on the RPO label; the first - of the Nelson Mass and the Mass in Time of War - is released in January 2017.

Hilary appears frequently as a guest conductor with choirs and orchestras both in Britain and overseas. Recent concerts include performances with the RPO and the Hanover Band, and the fiftieth anniversary concert of the Fairfield Hall with the London Mozart Players in the presence of HRH Prince Edward.

Hilary performs regularly on Radio 3; he has given many premieres both with the BBC Concert Orchestra and with the Ulster Orchestra. In Ulster, he conducted a series of first broadcasts of 19th century British symphonies (by Cipriani Potter, Sterndale Bennett, William Crotch and Samuel Wesley) for the BBC. Subsequently he recorded much of this repertoire with the Milton Keynes Orchestra for Unicorn-Kanchana; the MKCO has also recorded for Hyperion, (Symphonies by Joachim Raff). In 1988 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. Another, (Mozart's Jupiter Symphony) was re-issued at mid price to considerable critical acclaim.

In the opera pit Hilary has appeared on a number of occasions with Travelling Opera, for whom he conducted Cosi Fan Tutte, The Marriage of Figaro, Carmen and The Barber of Seville. 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 Sadlers Wells Theatre. He has also conducted Madame Butterfly for Co-Opera in the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury.

Engagements abroad have included Bulgaria, Iceland, Norway, and Australia. In 1995 he made a twelve-day tour to the United States with the Milton Keynes Orchestra, culminating in two concerts in New York's Carnegie and Town Halls to capacity audiences. He made his debut in Seattle with the Bremerton Orchestra and Chorus in Brahms Requiem in May 2009.

He has a long-standing commitment to music-making with young people: from 1983 to 1987 he was conductor of the Orchestra of the Birmingham Conservatoire and he has worked with Youth Orchestras as far afield as Melbourne and Singapore. He was conductor of the Scottish Schools Orchestra from 1984-1995 and of the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra from 1994-1997, with whom he toured Scandinavia in 1996 and made a live broadcast on Danish Radio. On his return from this tour he made his debut with the National Children's Orchestra and was invited to return to them in 1998 for concerts in the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and for their Millennium celebration concerts in 2000. He has since appeared with them regularly and conducted all their concerts in 2008 for their 30th Anniversary Season. In 2016, he directed the NCO in a memorable performance of Elgar's First Symphony.

Hilary is also much admired for his audience building skills. His Classic FM programme, Masterclass, introduced a very wide audience to orchestral music; he was Jo Brand's organ teacher for the BBC1 series, Play it Again and his talks on conducting as a metaphor for management have inspired audiences both in Britain and the United States.

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