The Bournemouth Sinfonietta was a chamber orchestra founded in 1968 as an off-shoot of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
The orchestra was initially conducted by George Hurst, who acted as artistic adviser, and Nicholas Braithwaite, to perform the classical repertoire in the smaller venues of the south and west of England. In the first months of its existence players interchanged between the Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonietta, some of them having to consult a chart to find out which orchestra they would play with the following week (leading occasionally to players going for the wrong rehearsal).
The 'pool of players' idea was scrapped and the Sinfonietta became independent of the BSO, with more players moving across from the BSO in 1969.
The Sinfonietta made its London debut on 9 January 1969 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in a concert of Seiber, Milhaud, Webern and Varèse conducted by Edgar Cosma.
Among premieres given by the orchestra were:
- Rutland Boughton Concerto for String Orchestra (composed 1937 fp 1997)
- Gavin Bryars The Green Ray (1991)
- Sadie Harrison So in Darkness (1993)
- Richard Harvey Concerto Antico for guitar and orchestra (1994)
- David Matthews Cantiga, Op 45 (1988)
- John Mayer Shanai-Awaz (1982)
- Dominic Muldowney Percussion Concerto (1991)
- Michael Nyman Where The Bee Dances (1991)
- Colin Riley The song should never be silent, Side by side, The sleep of reason (1997)
- Howard Skempton Concerto for Hurdy Gurdy and Percussion (1994)
- Giles Swayne The Song of the Tortoise, a cautionary tale for narrator, voices and orchestra (1992)
- Mike Westbrook Bean Rows and Blues Shots – Saxophone concerto (1991)
During its existence the Bournemouth Sinfonietta gained a national reputation, appearing at The Proms in 1977, 1988 and 1992 and also undertook short overseas tours, including Germany (1987), Italy and Turkey (1992), Romania (1994), Spain (1995), Brazil (1996) and France (1997). Venues in the south and west of England varied from small church halls, often in places which otherwise would get no live professional orchestral music, to larger concert halls.
From 1974 until 1986 the Sinfonietta was the orchestra for Glyndebourne on Tour.
The educational and outreach work of the Sinfonietta was recognised by a Prudential Award and a Sainsbury's Arts for All award.
The Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir was founded in 1972, and continues to give concerts in Dorset and beyond. The Director in 2008 is David Gostick, organist at Wimborne Minster.
Increased difficulties in obtaining funding from the local councils led to the decision to disband the orchestra in November 1999 and concentrate government funding towards the larger ensemble.
Maurice Gendron, Conductor/Director 1971–73
Kenneth Montgomery, Principal Conductor, 1973–77
Volker Wangenheim, Principal Conductor 1977–1980
Ronald Thomas, Musical Director 1980–85 (Leader from 1976)
Roger Norrington, Principal Conductor 1985–1989
Tamás Vásáry, Principal Conductor and Artistic Director 1989–1997 (Conductor Laureate 1997–99)
Alexander Polianichko, Principal Conductor 1997–99
Recordings by the Bournemouth Sinfonietta
In under 30 years, the orchestra recorded a large range of music from Baroque to contemporary on various record labels including EMI, CRD and Naxos; some of those recordings are listed here.
- Eduardo Angulo: Guitar Concerto No 2 (Rafael Jiménez/ Terence Frazor)
- Thomas Arne: Symphonies 1, 2, 3, 4 (Kenneth Montgomery)
- Malcolm Arnold: Concertos for flute, horn, clarinet, oboe and trumpet (Norman Del Mar)
- J C Bach: Sinfonias Op 6.3, Op 9.2, Op 18.2&4 (Kenneth Montgomery)
- C P E Bach: Cello Concertos (Tim Hugh/ Richard Studt)
- Granville Bantock: Pierrot of the Minute (Norman Del Mar)
- Béla Bartók: Divertimento for Strings (Richard Studt)
- Richard Blackford: Mirror of Perfection (Ying Huang, Bo Skovhus/ Richard Blackford)
- Frank Bridge: Suite for Strings, Summer (Norman del Mar)
- George Butterworth: The Banks of Green Willow (Norman del Mar)
- Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Concerto & Romances 1 & 2 (Ronald Thomas)
- Luigi Boccherini: Cello Concertos (Frederic Lodéon/ Theodor Guschlbauer)
- William Boyce: The Eight Symphonies (Ronald Thomas)
- Benjamin Britten: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Simple Symphony (Ronald Thomas)
- Gavin Bryars: The Green Ray (John Harle/ Ivor Bolton)
- Frederick Delius: On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, A Song before Sunrise, Late Swallows (Norman del Mar)
- Georg Druschetzky: Partita for 6 Timpani and Orchestra, Concerto for Oboe, 8 Timpani & Orchestra (Jonathan Haas, Gordon Hunt/ Harold Farberman)
- Edward Elgar: Chanson de Matin & Chanson de Nuit, Dream Children, Contrasts, Soliloquy, Three Bavarian Dances (Leon Goossens/Norman Del Mar), Serenade in E minor, King Arthur Suite, Starlight Express Suite (George Hurst)
- Johann Christian Fischer: Symphony for 8 timpani & orchestra (Jonathan Haas/ Harold Farberman)
- Percy Grainger: Youthful Suite, Blithe Bells, Green Bushes, Country Gardens, Youthful Rapture, Shepherd's Hey, Molly on the Shore, Handel in the Strand (Moray Welsh, Philip Martin/ Kenneth Montgomery)
- Edvard Grieg: Holberg Suite (Richard Studt)
- George Handel: Opera overtures (Kenneth Montgomery)
- Joseph Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 87, 88, 103 and 104 (Ronald Thomas), Cello Concertos (Frederic Lodéon/ Theodor Guschlbauer)
- Joseph Haydn: Organ concertos 1–3 (Marie-Claire Alain/Theodor Guschlbauer)
- Michael Haydn: Symphonies, Nos 5, 14, 19, 21, 23, 26, 29, 37, 39, 41 (Harold Farberman)
- Gustav Holst: St Paul's Suite (George Hurst)
- Arthur Honegger: Symphony No.4, Pastorale d'été (Tamás Vasary)
- John Ireland: Concertino Pastorale (George Hurst)
- Bohuslav Martinu: Sinfonietta Giocosa, Toccata e Due Canzoni, Sinfonietta La Jolla (Tamás Vasary)
- David Matthews: Cantiga, September Music, Introit (Jill Gomez/ John Carewe)
- E J Moeran: Sinfonietta, Cello Concerto (Raphael Wallfisch/ Norman del Mar)
- WA Mozart: Symphonies Nos 36 & 39 (Terence Fragor), Four Horn Concertos (Michael Thompson), Piano Concerto No 21 (Tamás Vasary), Serenade in C minor K388 (Howard Nelson), Violin Concertos 3 & 4 (Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Theodor Guschlbauer), Sinfonia Concertante (Richard Studt, Nodar Jvania), Clarinet Concerto (Joan Enric Lluna), Oboe Concerto (Andrew Knights / Richard Studt)
- Carl Nielsen: Little Suite for Strings (Montgomery), (Studt)
- Michael Nyman: Where the Bee Dances (John Harle/ Ivor Bolton)
- Arvo Pärt: Tabula rasa, Summa, Festina lente, Cantus in memory of Britten (Tasmin Little/ Richard Studt)
- Henry Purcell: Overtures (Ronald Thomas)
- Respighi: The Birds, Il tramonto, Trittico Botticelliano (Tamás Vasary)
- Joaquin Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjüez (Rafael Jiménez/ Terence Frazor)
- Edmund Rubbra : Improvisations, Symphony No 10 (Hans-Hubert Schönzeler)
- John Rutter: Requiem, Works for Choir and Orchestra (Stephen Layton)
- Camille Saint-Saëns : Cello Concertos 1 & 2, Suite Op 16 (Maria Kliegel, Jean-Francois Monnard)
- Charles Villiers Stanford : Symphony No 3 'Irish' (Norman del Mar)
- Igor Stravinsky: Pulcinella (Ian Bostridge, Henry Herford/ Stefan Sanderling), Concerto in D for string orchestra (Richard Studt)
- Arthur Sullivan : Excerpts from operettas (Valerie Masterson, Robert Tear/ Kenneth Alwyn)
- Johan Svendsen: Icelandic Melodies, Norwegian and Swedish Folksongs (Richard Studt)
- Ralph Vaughan Williams: Overture 'The Poisoned Kiss', Two Hymn-tune Preludes, The Running Set, Sea Songs (George Hurst), Flos campi, Suite for viola and orchestra (Frederick Riddle/ Norman Del Mar)
- Heitor Villa-Lobos: Guitar Concerto (Rafael Jiménez/ Terence Frazor)
- Antonio Vivaldi: 12 Concertos Op 8 (Ronald Thomas)
- Peter Warlock: Capriol Suite (George Hurst)
- Samuel Wesley: Symphony in D (Kenneth Montgomery)
- Mike Westbrook: Bean Rows and Blues Shots (John Harle/ Ivor Bolton)
- Dag Wiren: Serenade for Strings (Kenneth Montgomery), (Richard Studt)
(soloist/director or conductor)
- Holdsworth F. The Birth of the Sinfonietta. In BSO 90 1893–1983 – A special souvenir edition of WOS News. 1983, Spring/Summer, p15.
- Crichton R. Bournemouth Sinfonietta (concert review). Musical Times, March 1969,
- Western Orchestral Society, Concert calendars, 1991–1998.
- Proms database: http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/archive/search/performance_find.shtml?ensemble_id=83&all=1&from=1970&to=2000&all=1&tab=search&sub_tab=ensemble
- Street S, Carpenter R. A tribute to a fine ensemble – The Bournemouth Sinfonietta. Quarter Note, No 34 'Millennium edition'.
- Various editions of 'Quarter Note', newsletter of the Western Orchestral Society, 1987–1999.
- http://www.bschoir.org.uk/history.html accessed 27 August 2008