about us

THE ORCHESTRA HAS ITS ORIGINS BACK IN THE 1930S, ALTHOUGH WHAT YOU WOULD RECOGNISE AS ‘ESO’ STARTED LIFE IN 1989.

We are very simply organised - we have a volunteer management team, who look after the business side of the orchestra, and a Musical Director and Deputy who take responsibility musically for the concerts and the rehearsals leading up to those events. Alongside, we are indebted to the local businesses who choose to support us as sponsors – Stephens Scown, Millbrook Village, Old Mill and Toucan Design. The latter also provides further help in shaping the publicity of the orchestra, including designing the eye-catching and beautiful posters that advertise our concerts.

Under the guidance of the three Musical Directors who have helped shape ESO since those early days in the 1980s, we have developed to be the leading symphony orchestra in the City. Members are involved in choosing and developing the musical programme for each year, which we hope is a balance between true classics and also more modern and perhaps lesser known pieces.

The orchestra is made up of players with a mix of musical ability. Some were, or still are, professional musicians; others are involved in music through their day job, and many simply enjoy the fun and camaraderie of playing in the ensemble. The orchestra is therefore composed of people with very different musical backgrounds and interests. They do, though, all have in common a true love of ESO combined with a genuine desire to see the orchestra excel in its performances, reach out to the City and play a significant part in the culture and life of Devon’s capital. As we like to say, ESO plays in the heart of Exeter!

We were recently contacted by one of the former Librarians of the orchestra, who has documented the musical performances of ESO dating right back to the 1980s. It is fascinating to see the range of music played, and the different venues, both in Exeter and beyond the City, in which that music has been performed.

Finally, if you have any ideas about the music we could be playing in future programmes or ways in which we can connect with a wider audience, please do get in touch with myself or any of the team at ESO.

Enjoy the music!

Phil Hobbs, Chairman

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