History


Founded more than half a century ago

The Hereford Symphony Orchestra (formerly the Hereford String Orchestra) was founded in September 1958 as an advanced strings evening class. It quickly became established as an independent orchestra, and today it is the only regular adult orchestra in Herefordshire.

Although initially founded as a string group, it quickly developed a pattern of concerts including wind, brass and percussion players and sometimes choral groups. In the past the Hereford Symphony Orchestra (HSO) joined together with the Hereford Orchestral Society to give large symphony concerts. But when the Society ceased to function, the HSO took over such concerts. The HSO continues to join with local choral societies from time to time.

Since its foundation by Ronald Collett, the music master at Kingston School, the HSO has had several conductors: Roger Fisher, Joan Spencer, Julie Hollingworth, David Briggs, Stephen Gouland, David Etheridge and Nic Fallowfield. Nic was with the HSO for 15 years until July 2006. Under his guidance, and that of his predecessors, the orchestra flourished, developing a wide repertoire and a high standard of playing.

Since 2006 the HSO has played under several conductors, Richard Coppack, Kenneth Woods, James Slater, Tim Harrison and currently the two joint conductors are Michael Bell and Roland Melia. Today the HSO consists of thirty to forty string players plus a number of of associate wind/brass/percussion players.

The HSO now gives three concerts a year, ranging in size from smaller string based concerts through to full symphonic concerts, usually held in the summer in Leominster Priory. Our associate wind, brass and percussion players join us for the last few rehearsals of term and for the concert day and to reflect this, in 2020 the orchestra changed its name to Hereford Symphony Orchestra.

The HSO is run on a day-to-day basis by an elected committee which is re-elected annually at the AGM in accordance with the requirements of the Charity Commissioners.