top of page
HDW 2.jpg

HILARY DAVAN WETTON

Conductor

Hilary Davan Wetton is one of Britain's most versatile and dynamic conductors.

Both choral and orchestral repertoire has featured in his wide-ranging career, and Hilary is particularly admired for his interpretations of Haydn and Mendelssohn, as well as English music of the 20th century.


Acclaimed recordings include those with the City of London Choir, Guildford Choral Society, Holst Singers, London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic  Orchestras. Excerpts are available on this site.

A regular guest conductor with choirs and orchestras both in Britain and overseas, Hilary can be regularly heard on Radio 3 and Classic FM. 

His book, 'Reflections on Conducting' was published in 2021.

The girl's hand on the strings of a violin

SELECTED DISCOGRAPHY AND BOOKS

Recent recordings

Screenshot 2022-02-13 at 16.44.33.png

REFLECTIONS ON CONDUCTING

This book is for anyone with an interest in the English choral and orchestral music scenes, both amateur and professional, as well as conducting students. Written in an engaging and approachable style, the book is filled with practical advice - including chapters on conducting technique, programme planning, rehearsals, touring, recording and working with contemporary composers - alongside interesting and humorous anecdotes from Hilary Davan Wetton's diverse and extensive career.

Screenshot 2021-01-09 at 17.36.13.png

THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE

Ashley Riches - Baritone

City of London Choir

Paulina Voices

BBC Concert Orchestra

Haydn CD.jpg

HAYDN MASSES

Mass in Time of War

Nelson Mass

City of London Choir

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Nation's Favourite Carols.jpg

THE NATION'S FAVOURITE CAROLS

City of London Choir
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Military Wives Remember.jpg

REMEMBER

Military Wives Choirs

Flowers of the Field.jpg

FLOWERS OF THE FIELD

Music by Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Gurney, Butterworth


Roderick Williams - Baritone

Jeremy Irons - Speaker

City of London Choir

London Mozart Players

HDW and Roddy.jpg

BIOGRAPHY

Hilary Davan Wetton is Conductor Emeritus of the City of London Choir. He was Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the City of London Choir for 34 years, from 1989. The choir invited him to take the title Conductor Emeritus on his retirement in July 2023. He is also Associate Conductor of the London Mozart Players. He is also Conductor Emeritus of the Milton Keynes City Orchestra, of which he was Founder and Principal Conductor from 1975 to 2007, and of the Guildford Choral Society. Hilary is now Artistic Director of Alina Orchestra, a new professional orchestra that wants to make classical music accessible & inclusive for everyone in the community.

Founder-Conductor of the Holst Singers, he directed them from 1978 to 1992 and made a number of recordings for Hyperion and Unicorn-Kanchana. 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. ‘Flower of the Field’, recorded with the City of London Choir, London Mozart Players, Roderick Williams and Jeremy Irons, went straight to the top of the classical charts in 2014. ‘Home for Christmas’, with the Military Wives Choirs and Orchestra, was at number two in the classical chart for six consecutive weeks over Christmas 2016. ‘The Nation's Favourite Carols’ - with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - reached number one in the Chart in 2017. In 2018, he released his second Military Wives recording – Remember – the success of which led to two invitations to appear on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2. At the beginning of 2019, Hilary was appointed Artistic Director of the Military Wives Choirs.

Choirs and orchestras frequently engage Hilary as a guest conductor 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.

A regular performer on BBC Radio 3, Hilary has given many premières 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. He also conducted a number of public concerts for the orchestra, collaborating with Barry Douglas, Brian Rayner-Cook and other international artists.

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. A twelve-day tour to the United States with the Milton Keynes Orchestra culminated 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.

Hilary 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.

 

For 25 years, Hilary directed the Classical Roadshow, which commissioned a wide range of works for performance by massed children's groups with professional orchestras and narrators. He was Professor of Conducting at the Guildhall School of Music from 2011-13 and Senior Music Associate at Somerville College, Oxford, from 2015-2018.

 

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.

He has been honoured by the Open University (Hon. MA), De Montfort University (Hon. DMus) and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (Hon. FRBC). His book, 'Reflections on Conducting' was published in 2021.

CONCERTS

  • Family Concert: Peter and the Wolf
    Family Concert: Peter and the Wolf
    Sun, 02 Jun
    The Stables Theatre
    02 Jun 2024, 15:00 – 17:30
    The Stables Theatre, Stockwell Ln, Wavendon, Milton Keynes MK17 8LU, UK
    02 Jun 2024, 15:00 – 17:30
    The Stables Theatre, Stockwell Ln, Wavendon, Milton Keynes MK17 8LU, UK
    Our Family Concert features Prokofiev’s symphonic folk tale for children ‘Peter and the Wolf’. The piece introduces children to individual instruments in the orchestra, as a narrator tells the story of Peter’s encounter with a wolf, with quick thinking and the help of his friends – a bird, a duck an
    Share
  • English Music Festival 2024
    English Music Festival 2024
    Sat, 25 May
    Dorchester
    25 May 2024, 19:15 – 21:15
    Dorchester, High St, Dorchester, Wallingford OX10 7HH, UK
    25 May 2024, 19:15 – 21:15
    Dorchester, High St, Dorchester, Wallingford OX10 7HH, UK
    With the Godwine Choir.
    Share
  • ALINA Summer Nights
    ALINA Summer Nights
    Fri, 10 May
    Wavendon
    10 May 2024, 19:30 – 21:30
    Wavendon, Stockwell Ln, Wavendon, Milton Keynes MK17 8LU, UK
    10 May 2024, 19:30 – 21:30
    Wavendon, Stockwell Ln, Wavendon, Milton Keynes MK17 8LU, UK
    Hilary Davan Wetton 80th birthday concert
    Share
  • Mozart Requiem
    Mozart Requiem
    Sat, 20 Apr
    Guildford
    20 Apr 2024, 19:30 – 21:30
    Guildford, High St, Guildford GU1 3RR, UK
    20 Apr 2024, 19:30 – 21:30
    Guildford, High St, Guildford GU1 3RR, UK
    Mozart Requiem with Guildford Camerata and London Mozart Players
    Share
  • An evening with Elgar and Holst
    An evening with Elgar and Holst
    Sun, 14 Apr
    St Andrew's United Reform Church
    14 Apr 2024, 17:00 – 19:00
    St Andrew's United Reform Church, Montpellier St, Cheltenham GL50 1SP, UK
    14 Apr 2024, 17:00 – 19:00
    St Andrew's United Reform Church, Montpellier St, Cheltenham GL50 1SP, UK
    Founded in 2023, our ensemble gathers between forty and fifty exceptional amateur singers with a passion for the choral repertoire, under the musical direction of renowned conductor Hilary Davan Wetton.
    Share
  •  Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and Grieg's Piano Concerto
     Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and Grieg's Piano Concerto
    Fri, 12 Apr
    Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
    12 Apr 2024, 19:30 – 21:30
    Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange St, Aylesbury HP20 1UG, UK
    12 Apr 2024, 19:30 – 21:30
    Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange St, Aylesbury HP20 1UG, UK
    Alina Orchestra's first ever concert at Aylesbury's Waterside Theatre.
    Share
  • Jersey Symphony Orchestra Easter concert
    Jersey Symphony Orchestra Easter concert
    Sat, 06 Apr
    Jersey
    06 Apr 2024, 19:30 – 21:30
    Jersey, Les Quennevais School, Jersey JE3 8LG, Jersey
    06 Apr 2024, 19:30 – 21:30
    Jersey, Les Quennevais School, Jersey JE3 8LG, Jersey
    A programme of music by Brahms, Chaminade, Fauré and Elgar.
    Share
  • Mozart Clarinet Concerto
    Mozart Clarinet Concerto
    Fri, 15 Mar
    Walnut Tree
    15 Mar 2024, 19:30 – 21:30
    Walnut Tree, Fyfield Barrow, Walnut Tree, Milton Keynes MK7 7WH, UK
    15 Mar 2024, 19:30 – 21:30
    Walnut Tree, Fyfield Barrow, Walnut Tree, Milton Keynes MK7 7WH, UK
    A programme of beautiful music by Rossini, Mozart and Haydn.
    Share
  • New Year's Day Proms
    New Year's Day Proms
    Mon, 01 Jan
    Liverpool
    01 Jan 2024, 14:30 – 16:30
    Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool L1 9BP, UK
    01 Jan 2024, 14:30 – 16:30
    Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool L1 9BP, UK
    Share
  • A Dickensian Christmas
    A Dickensian Christmas
    Fri, 22 Dec
    London
    22 Dec 2023, 19:00 – 21:30
    London, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ, UK
    22 Dec 2023, 19:00 – 21:30
    London, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ, UK
    Don’t be a Scrooge this winter! Come and toast the Christmas spirit with a selection of readings from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, alongside your favourite carols and classics performed by a live brass band and choir.
    Share
  • The Planets
    The Planets
    Sat, 30 Sept
    London
    30 Sept 2023, 14:30
    London, London SW7 5ET, UK
    30 Sept 2023, 14:30
    London, London SW7 5ET, UK
    Join us for a musical journey across the galaxy with Holst’s mesmerising masterwork which crowns an evening of sublime music performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
    Share
  • Godwine Choir at the English Music Festival
    Godwine Choir at the English Music Festival
    Sat, 27 May
    Dorchester Abbey
    27 May 2023, 19:00
    Dorchester Abbey, Dorchester Abbey, Dorchester-on-Thames, Wallingford OX10, UK
    27 May 2023, 19:00
    Dorchester Abbey, Dorchester Abbey, Dorchester-on-Thames, Wallingford OX10, UK
    The Festival will once again be held in Oxfordshire, with events held in the glorious surroundings of Dorchester Abbey as well as at the Silk Hall at Radley College and the historic All Saints’ Church at Sutton Courtenay. The full
    Share
  • Music for the Coronation
    Music for the Coronation
    Fri, 05 May
    Church of St Peter and St Paul
    05 May 2023, 19:30 – 21:30
    Church of St Peter and St Paul, Blair House, 13a High St, Newport Pagnell MK16 8AR, UK
    05 May 2023, 19:30 – 21:30
    Church of St Peter and St Paul, Blair House, 13a High St, Newport Pagnell MK16 8AR, UK
    Alina Orchestra has created a very special concert to honour the coronation of HRH King Charles III and Her Majesty The Queen Consort.
    Share
  • Verdi Requiem
    Verdi Requiem
    Tue, 14 Mar
    London
    14 Mar 2023, 19:30
    London, Barbican, London, UK
    14 Mar 2023, 19:30
    London, Barbican, London, UK
    This special performance marks conductor Hilary Davan Wetton’s retirement after 34 years as Musical Director of the City of London Choir, notable for their "terrific intensity of tone” Daily Telegraph.
    Share
  • New Year's Day Proms
    New Year's Day Proms
    Sun, 01 Jan
    Liverpool
    01 Jan 2023, 15:00
    Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool L1 9BP, UK
    01 Jan 2023, 15:00
    Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool L1 9BP, UK
    Welcome 2023 with a stirring celebration of uplifting music and raise your glasses as the Manchester Concert Orchestra perform a stellar selection of classics perfect for such a momentous occasion.
    Share
  • Last Night of the Christmas Proms
    Last Night of the Christmas Proms
    Mon, 26 Dec
    Manchester
    26 Dec 2022, 15:00
    Manchester, The Bridgewater Hall, Lower Mosley St, Manchester M2 3WS, UK
    26 Dec 2022, 15:00
    Manchester, The Bridgewater Hall, Lower Mosley St, Manchester M2 3WS, UK
    Celebrate Boxing Day in style with the Manchester Concert Orchestra as they perform a stellar selection of great classics.
    Share
  • A Dickensian Christmas
    A Dickensian Christmas
    Sat, 24 Dec
    London
    24 Dec 2022, 14:30
    London, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ, UK
    24 Dec 2022, 14:30
    London, 5 Sloane Terrace, London SW1X 9DQ, UK
    Toast the Christmas spirit with Charles Dickens and celebrate the very best of Victorian carols, classics and a selection of readings from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, presented by Stephen Mangan.
    Share
  • A Dickensian Christmas
    A Dickensian Christmas
    Fri, 23 Dec
    Birmingham
    23 Dec 2022, 19:30
    Birmingham, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA, UK
    23 Dec 2022, 19:30
    Birmingham, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA, UK
    Toast the Christmas spirit with Charles Dickens and celebrate the very best of Victorian carols, classics and a selection of readings from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Presented by Stephen Mangan.
    Share
In terra pax.jpeg

IN TERRA PAX: A CHRISTMAS ANTHOLOGY

Music by Finzi, Holst, Howells, Leighton, Rutter, Warlock, Vaughan Williams

Julia Doyle

Roderick Williams

City of London Choir

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Hodie.jpg

HODIE

Janice Watson

Peter Hoare

Stephen Gadd


Guildford Choral Society

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Military Wives Home for Christmas.jpg

HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

Military Wives Choirs

Beethoven.jpg

DER GLORREICHE AUGENBLICK

City of London Choir
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Hilary Davan Wetton

All Videos

All Videos

All Videos
Search video...
All Categories
All Categories
Music
Fantasia in C Minor, Op. 80, "Choral Fantasy"

Fantasia in C Minor, Op. 80, "Choral Fantasy"

19:42
Play Video
Coventry Carol

Coventry Carol

03:07
Play Video
Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day

Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day

02:02
Play Video
Holst : The Planets ( Full ) - LPO / Hilary Davan Wetton***

Holst : The Planets ( Full ) - LPO / Hilary Davan Wetton***

53:57
Play Video

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY

Screenshot 2021-01-09 at 17.36.13.png

ARCANA

'Ashley Riches makes a forceful yet never unduly vehement contribution, while the City of London Choir and Paulina Voices respond enthusiastically to Hilary Davan Wetton, who steers ‘White Horse’ with audible conviction as to its cumulative structure and draws a feisty response from the BBC Concert Orchestra in An English Ballad.'

wesley.jpg

GRAMOPHONE

'I defy any Haydn or Mozart lover with a streak of musical adventure not to enjoy this disc.'

Storm & Refuge.jpg

DAILY TELEGRAPH

'...these feelings were beautifully caught by the [City of London] choir under their artistic director Hilary Davan Wetton. They summoned a terrific intensity of tone in the final tumultuous lines of Psalm 48, but even this was topped by the incandescent ending of the evening prayer Nunc Dimittis by Gustav Holst.'

Flowers of the Field.jpg

DAILY TELEGRAPH

'‘This enchanting disc delves widely and deeply into the repertoire of English Christmas music and comes up with some rewarding finds among some other items that have become staples… all, deservedly, timeless classics, and all are performed here by the City of London Choir with freshness, bloom, attentive diction and a palpable heart… Hilary Davan Wetton throughout draws a winning spectrum of expression from his forces, be it voiced pensively or festively.’

Haydn concert series

CLASSICAL SOURCE

'Davan Wetton the master of the music, energising it, caring for it while ensuring strength of purpose... The City Of London Choir was outstanding – honed and committed – [and] the RPO consistently neat and stylish.'

Flowers of the Field.jpg

DAILY MAIL

'Hilary Davan Wetton is surely our finest choral conductor, and does really well on this record with both his City of London Choir, and the London Mozart Players.
I can think of no better way to crystallise our thoughts on this Remembrance Sunday than with such a beautifully refined and sympathetically chosen album. At the end of the Vaughan Williams piece, the poet writes, ‘Roam on! The light we sought is shining still.’ For these composers, that light was great music, and it can still illuminate our lives today.’

_DSC3715.jpg

BACHTRACK

'... Davan Wetton shaped the choral and instrumental lines sensitively, often picking out the robust dance-like rhythms of much of the writing and allowing small felicities in the score to emerge naturally, such as the organ obbligato that announces the arrival of the Holy Ghost or the ghostly clarinets at the word mortuos, again in the Credo. His choir delivered a compact and focused body of sound with unflagging momentum, intoning the start of the Sanctus with a hushed reverence and later also summoning up the necessary exuberance at the repeated Osanna in excelsis, both in the Sanctus and Benedictus.'

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY

Screenshot 2019-10-16 at 17.25.22.png