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Bournemouth Sinfonietta

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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, in order 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. 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.

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