When the members of an orchestra play together, it is the perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts! Whether you blow, scrape, hit or just wag a stick, you contribute to the magic…
Even so, we thought you might like to know a bit more about some of the key individuals at Harrogate Symphony Orchestra. These include our long-standing, inspirational conductor and musical director, Bryan Western and several others.
Bryan Western is the long-standing and charismatic figurehead of the Harrogate Symphony Orchestra. He has now completed over 33 years with the orchestra, starting out in the days when it was the Harrogate Chamber Orchestra, and overseeing its evolution in 1990 into the Harrogate Symphony Orchestra.
Having retired early from his post as Head of Music and Advanced Skills Teacher at King James’ School in Knaresborough, Bryan now enjoys the flexibility that life offers: a wide variety of activities and hobbies. He taught locally since 1976, initially at the High (Granby) School for 14 years and then for 20 years at Knaresborough. His job also enabled him to work with primary and secondary school children and staff throughout North Yorkshire.
Bryan comments, “As Musical Director I have the easy job of rehearsing and bringing the music together, but without the wonderful rapport with players that exists, HSO concerts would not be what they are… and the response of the audience is paramount here. We are privileged to have such a warm and enthusiastic group of supporters that we are able to relax and enjoy our music making. All we need now is for you to encourage friends and family to come and enjoy what the HSO does best – perform quality music that we can all enjoy.”
Bryan has been featured in the Harrogate Advertiser and Yorkshire Post: extensive profiles to celebrate his involvement with the HSO and his invitation to conduct The Amadeus Chamber Orchestra in Buenos Aires. Following this success, he has accepted an open invitation to return to South America in the near future. He was really overwhelmed in October 2010 to be presented with a Fellowship award by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. The ‘Paul Harris Fellow’ was awarded in “appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world,” and in particular for his exceptional services to the community.
He is also founder and Musical Director of the Nidderdale Community Orchestra. Since 2011, a group of committed and enthusiastic players, some of whom had not played their instrument for over 25 years, get together once a week to rehearse and give concerts in the Pateley Bridge area.
A long-standing member of the orchestra and talented musician, Emma’s role is to show the rest of the band how it should be done – this includes tuning the ensemble at the start of a concert. She also has the ‘honour’ of being seated closest to our conductor, Bryan!Close
John is the Chair of our Committee and brings real professionalism to the enthusiastic group of volunteers who run the orchestra behind the scenes. John would probably not claim to be the best violinist in HSO, but he is the only person any of us knows who has achieved a hole in one twice in a single round of golf!Close
Another member of the violin section serving on the committee, as Secretary, Jill has a vital role in managing memberships, organising meetings and, alongside John, ensuring that our orchestra is run in a professional manner.Close