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The Worcestershire-based ESO was founded by conductor William Boughton as the English String Orchestra in 1978. It soon earned an international reputation for performances of English music, made over fifty recordings and began touring regularly in Europe. Over time the orchestra’s repertoire expanded to include the full breadth of orchestral music, and the ESO grew to become the English Symphony Orchestra. Conductor Vernon “Tod” Handley succeeded Boughton in 2007 and led the orchestra until his death in 2008. Over the years the ESO has worked with a distinguished list of instrumentalists, composers and conductors, including Nigel Kennedy, Stephen Isserlis, Daniel Hope, Michael Tippett, Nicholas Maw and Yehudi Menuhin, who was appointed the ESO’s principal guest conductor in 1991 and led the orchestra on a number of international tours. Kenneth Woods was appointed as the ESO’s third principal conductor in 2013. Philip Sawyers succeeded John McCabe as the orchestra’s composer-in-association in 2015.

 English String Orchestra
Photo: Benjamin Ealovega

Role: Orchestra 
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Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group