Mar 15

ESO Appoint Violinist Zoë Beyers as Leader


Zoe Beyers in performance with the ESO at London’s Kings Place–
Photo by Ben Ealovega

The English Symphony Orchestra and English String Orchestra are delighted to announce the appointment of violinist Zoë Beyers as Leader of the ESO, effective immediately.  ClassicalSource critic Edward Clark said of Beyers’ leadership of the ESO during the orchestra’s recent Kings Place debut that “ guest-leader Zoë Beyers’ playing was inspirational to all around her.”

In September 2009 Zoë became the Associate Leader of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and has performed regularly with the CBSO as soloist and chamber musician.  Zoë is greatly in demand as a guest leader, working with the Philharmonia, BBC Philharmonic (also as a soloist/director), BBC Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Aurora Orchestra, Musikkollegium Winterthur and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Beyers will lead approximately half of the ESO’s concerts, and will appear with the orchestra regularly as both director and soloist. She will also be active in developing the ESO’s chamber music offer, and will contribute to the development of the orchestra’s commissioning and recording programmes.

“This is a very happy day for the orchestra.,” said ESO General Manager Matthew Peters. “Zoë was the unanimous choice of the musicians and administration. She brings to the ESO a passion for a broad range of repertoire and shares our commitment to bringing worthwhile unknown works of all eras to the attention of our audience.

Beyers says of her appointment that “I’m thrilled to be joining the ESO, and look forward to working with this dynamic ensemble.  The ESO’s commitment to performing and commissioning new music is something that is very close to my own heart.  I am very excited to be joining an ensemble that is such an integral part of the future of classical music in Britain, as well as its past.  I look forward to a wonderful musical journey together.”

“The orchestra has benefited enormously from the inspirational contributions of all the guest leaders we have worked with over the last two seasons. It has been a time of great renewal for the orchestra” said ESO Artistic Director, Kenneth Woods.  “in Zoë we have found a permanent member of the team who will be an important part of the orchestra’s artistic foundations for many years to come.”

The orchestra will be appointing an additional leader in the coming months. Beyers’ first appearance with the ESO in her new role will be at The Bridgewater Hall on the 21st of April in a performance of the ESO’s “Wall of Water” programme featuring works by Kaija Saariaho, Thea Musgrave, Emily Doolittle and Deborah Pritchard.



About Zoë Beyers

Zoë Beyers was born in Stellenbosch, South Africa.  Since her solo debut aged eleven with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under Paavo Järvi, she has performed with many distinguished conductors throughout Europe and Africa.  Recent highlights include Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ A Spell for Green Corn and the Britten concerto with the BSO under Michael Seal.  Forthcoming projects include the Korngold concerto with the Norwich Philharmonic and Prokofiev’s 2nd concerto with the Corinthian Chamber Orchestra.

Zoë is a member of the Hebrides Ensemble and also performs, broadcasts and records with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and the Scottish Ensemble, collaborating with, amongst others, Francois Leleux, Stephen Osborne, Lars Vogt, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Alexander Janiczek, and the composers Helen Grime and Oliver Knussen.  As a soloist/director, Zoë’s 2011 recording of early Mendelssohn concerti with the University of Stellenbosch Camerata was nominated for a SAMA award.  Her 2013 recording of Wassenaer concerti armonici (directing the Innovation Chamber Ensemble for Somm Records) was Classic FM’s CD of the week, and their 2014 disc of rare Elgar works was received with critical acclaim.

About the ESO

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 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 have 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. In 2017 the ESO launched the 21st Century Symphony Project, an ambitious multi-year effort to commission, premiere and record nine new symphonies by nine different composers with the triumphant world premiere of Philip Sawyers Symphony no. 3.

Next ESO Performance with Zoë Beyers

English String Orchestra
Friday, 21 April, 2017 7:30PM

Wall of Water

Kenneth Woods- conductor
Harriet Mackenzie- violin

Thea Musgrave- Green
Deborah Pritchard- Violin Concerto: Wall of Water (after the paintings by Maggi Hambling)
Emily Doolittle- falling still for violin and strings
Kaija Saariaho- Terra memoria

Information and tickets from: https://tickets.bridgewater-hall.co.uk/single/eventDetail.aspx?p=33986


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