Artistic Director and Principal Conductor

A HDW high res copy photo © Clive Barda

Hilary Davan Wetton

Hilary Davan Wetton has been Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the City of London Choir since 1989. One of the country’s most distinguished choral conductors, he was founder/conductor of the Holst Singers, and is Conductor Emeritus of the Guildford Choral Society and Artistic Director of Leicester Philharmonic Choir. He is also Associate Conductor of the London Mozart Players and Conductor Emeritus of the Milton Keynes City Orchestra.

Educated at Brasenose College, Oxford and the Royal College of Music, Hilary studied conducting with Sir Adrian Boult and was awarded the Ricordi conducting prize in 1967. Over a career spanning 50 years, he is particularly admired for his interpretations of 20th century British music, conducting many first performances for British composers as well as neglected works by Gardner, Parry, Holst, Dyson, Bridge, Sterndale Bennett and Samuel Wesley.

His extensive discography includes recordings for Hyperion with both the Holst Singers and Guildford Choral Society, a series of acclaimed recordings for Collins Classics with the LPO, including Holst’s Planets, Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, and discs for Naxos and EM Records with the City of London Choir. He received the Diapason d’Or for Holst’s Choral Symphony (Hyperion, 1994). In Terra Pax: A Christmas Anthology (Naxos, 2009) reached number two in the Gramophone classical chart and enjoyed wide critical success. Beethoven’s Der Glorreiche Augenblick (Naxos, 2012) has also been much admired, receiving a five star review in BBC Music Magazine; and Flowers of the Field (Naxos, 2014) with the City of London Choir, London Mozart Players, Roderick Williams and Jeremy Irons went quickly to number one in the Specialist Classical Chart. In 2016 he was conductor of Home for Christmas, the album released by the Military Wives Choirs, and Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Mass in Time of War with the City of London Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO Records). His most recent release, The Nation’s Favourite Carols, recorded with the CLC and the RPO for Decca, topped the classical charts throughout December 2017.

Hilary has broadcast frequently for the BBC and Classic FM. For six years, he was presenter/conductor for Classic FM’s Masterclass, and he was Jo Brand’s organ teacher for the BBC 1 series, Play it Again. He has been awarded honorary degrees by the Open University and De Montfort University and is an Honorary Fellow of the Birmingham Conservatoire.