Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.

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Artist Hyperion Records

English String Orchestra

The Worcestershire-based ESO, the International Orchestra of Elgar Country, is an ensemble which in recent years has become synonymous with artistic excellence, innovative and visionary programming, distinctive commissioning, ground-breaking recording, a welcoming and immersive concert experience, transformative youth programmes and service to the community. Since the appointment of Kenneth Woods as the orchestra’s new Artistic Director and Principal Conductor in 2013, the orchestra has re-emerged as a major force in British musical life, presenting and recording the orchestra’s first full-length opera (the world premiere of John Joubert’s Jane Eyre) to overwhelming critical acclaim, presenting the 2015 Classical Music magazine 'Premiere of the Year', and releasing a triumphant series of recordings including Donald Fraser’s orchestration of the Elgar Piano Quintet (Classic FM Disc of the Week) and the Complete Piano Concertos of Ernst Krenek (Sunday Times Essential New Release).

Founded in 1980 by William Boughton, the ESO has a long and distinguished history of collaboration with legendary figures of British music making. Vernon 'Tod' Handley became the orchestra’s second Principal Conductor in 2007, and led the orchestra until his death. 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. British music has always been a central part of the orchestra’s mission. Appropriately for an orchestra based in Elgar’s home town, the ESO has made many acclaimed recordings of that composer’s music, and that of major 20th-century British composers including Vaughan Williams, Britten, Butterworth and Bridge. The ESO discography also highlights a commitment to the music of our time; in addition to the notable recordings which grew out of the orchestra’s affiliation with Michael Tippett, are recordings of music by John Metcalfe, John Joubert, and Michael and Lennox Berkeley. John McCabe served as the orchestra’s Composer-in-Association from 2013 until his death in 2015. Following this, the ESO appointed Philip Sawyers as 'John McCabe Composer-in-Association' in 2015. Works being written as part of Sawyers’ association with the ESO include a violin concerto, a trumpet concerto a song cycle and a third symphony.

In 2016-7, the ESO embarked on their most ambitious commissioning and recording endeavour to date: the 21st C Symphony Project, which will involve commissioning, premiering and recording nine new symphonies by leading composers. The 21st C Project was launched with the premiere of Philip Sawyers’ third symphony in February 2017 and continues with the premiere of David Matthews’ ninth in 2018.

Established in 1980 as the English String Orchestra, the orchestra’s repertoire expanded to include the full breadth of orchestral music, and the ESO grew to also become the English Symphony Orchestra. Ever since then, 'ESO' has served as an acronym with a dual meaning.


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Complete works available for download

Alphabetical listing of all musical works

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