Music Director

Image of the orchestra on stage at Reading Hexagon

The orchestra has been fortunate in having an unusually stable period of 27 years under the Musical Direction of Ian Brown. Since Ian’s retirement in 2022 we have worked with a variety of conductors, all of whom have all brought different attributes to the orchestra. Today’s fast paced world means that it is unlikely we will engage one new Music Director to cover the next 27 years, but in the meantime we are enjoying and benefitting from the diversity of different conducting techniques. 

David Burton, Orchestra Leader

David Burton has led the Henley Symphony Orchestra since the summer of 1992. He rejoined in January 2006 after a short sabbatical.

He started learning the violin at the age of nine in Britain’s first Suzuki Group, studied at the Royal College of Music, and graduated with distinction from the National Centre for Orchestral Studies.

He spent two years with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and Icelandic Opera. Now he combines a busy teaching career with freelance playing with orchestras such as London City Ballet, as a concerto soloist, and as a member of the Hammig String Quartet.

Works Performed

We have explored much of the standard symphonic repertoire and some contemporary music, including the first performances of several commissioned works.

In recent years, we have performed ambitious works such as Bruckner’s 7th Symphony, Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ and Strauss’s ‘Alpine’ Symphony. We have accompanied a number of distinguished soloists in concertos including György Pauk, Isabelle van Keulen, Steven Isserlis, Freddie Kempf, John Lill, Tasmin Little, Michael Collins, Evelyn Glennie, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, worked with many outstanding young artists at the outset of their professional careers.

See our full list of the works we’ve played from 1970 to the present day.

Performances Home and Abroad

The Orchestra has made six visits to Falaise, Henley’s twin town in Normandy, giving concerts in the great Norman church of St Gervais, the magnificent new Forum Theatre and the Eglise Sainte-Trinité.

In summer 2007 the Henley Symphony Orchestra joined the combined choirs of Falaise for two memorable and packed performances of Puccini’s Messa di Gloria. Three successful and enjoyable trips have also been made to Henley’s other twin town, Leichlingen in Germany (1993, 1999 and 2005). More recently, the orchestra travelled to Henley’s twin town of Bled, Slovenia in July of 2017 to play in the Bled International Music Festival and Bled TV’s video can be seen on YouTube opposite.

  • In July 2008 the Henley Symphony Orchestra participated in the Henley Festival Trust’s outreach project SHOUT! by performing a specially commissioned work together with young musicians from the area. The orchestra also presents a regular Christmas concert for pre-school children.

HSO was delighted to take part in the Cultural Olympiad for London 2012 with its performances of the specially commissioned Making Music Overture by Orlando Gough.

Tickets are available either from the HSO Box Office on 07726 459261 / hsoboxoffice@gmail.com or by request via our contact form.

Registered Charity no. 271849

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