As Chairman it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the website of Exeter Symphony Orchestra (ESO). ESO was first formed in the 1930s and it has seen a sustained growth in the range and ambition of its activities in recent years. Generally, there are three concerts in the year, winter, spring and summer, performed locally in Exeter, the most regular venues being The United Reformed Church in Southernhay and the Cathedral. The orchestra is open to anyone who can play at an appropriate standard and we also welcome non-musicians who might want to be involved in bringing excellent live classical music to an ever increasing audience, here in the heart of the city. We rehearse on a Tuesday during term time, at St Michael's School in Heavitree. Apart from the Musical Director, who is a paid professional musician, the orchestra is composed of amateur musicians who turn up to play for the sheer enjoyment of making music, and it is organised by a voluntary management group.
I became Chairman in October 2016, and my wife Nicky is Vice Chair. We have lived and worked in Exeter since graduating from Exeter University many moons ago and although neither of us is an instrumentalist, we have both been members of leading choirs in Exeter and the local region for the whole of this time. I have had the privilege and joy of being a tenor in the Choir of Exeter Cathedral for over thirty years. We are both committed to working for the expansion of music making in the city and region and support the outreach activities and collaborative projects the orchestra is increasingly involved in.
With the kind help of Toucan Design, ESO relaunched its website a couple of years ago, and I hope that it will enable you to answer any questions you may have about the orchestra and its scheduled programme of concerts. It is worth logging in fairly frequently because we are very responsive to new opportunites to play – we are about to take part in another orchestral evensong with the Cathedral Choir in Exeter Cathedral (October 15th) and earlier in the year we were proud to be part of the Somme100 project – such events are added to the general schedule as and when they occur. If you do have any unanswered questions, please do feel free to contact me.
The orchestra supports many local charities and we have been delighted to play in fundraising concerts for Force, ABF – The Soldiers Charity and Devon Wildlife Trust. We are also pleased to support the chosen charity of our President (The Lord Mayor of Exeter).
You will be able to use the links on this site to discover more about ESO, read about recent and upcoming concerts and also find ways to become involved with the orchestra. We have also made it a very straightforward process to buy tickets for our concerts using the Concerts and Tickets link, but you can also buy these in person from the EVIT (Exeter Visitor Information and Tickets centre) in Southernhay or through the Exeter Cathedral Box Office.
I would like to thank our sponsors for their ongoing financial support – Stephens Scown, AWPExeter and Toucan Design. If you, or your business, would like to become involved in the development of ESO and the concerts we perform, then please do get in touch – I can normally be relied upon to find time for a chat over a coffee or something a little stronger, particularly at the end of a concert, when a number of us decamp to the White Hart for a beer and an informal review of the evening!
Thank you for your interest in the orchestra and we hope that you will feel encouraged to come along and listen to the wide ranging programmes that we are performing. We look forward to welcoming you.