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 experienced choral conductors, he was founder/conductor of the Holst Singers, and is Conductor Emeritus of the Guildford Choral Society, Artistic Director of Leicester Philharmonic Choir and Musical Director of the Surrey Festival Choir. He is also Associate Conductor of the London Mozart Players and Conductor Emeritus of the Milton Keynes City Orchestra.

Hilary was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford and the Royal College of Music, where he studied conducting with Sir Adrian Boult and was awarded the Ricordi conducting prize. He was Director of Music at St. Paul’s Girls’ School (1979-1994), where his predecessors included Holst and Howells, and at Tonbridge School (1994-2006). He was founder/conductor of the Scottish Schools’ Orchestra, and has been conductor of both the Birmingham Schools and the Edinburgh Youth Orchestras. He has conducted the National Children’s Orchestra regularly since 1997 and is Principal Conductor of the Classical Roadshow.

Hilary is particularly associated with 19th and 20th century British composers. He has conducted many first performances for British composers as well as neglected works by Parry, Holst, Dyson, Bridge 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 and Elgar’s Enigma Variations, 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 no. 2 in the Gramophone classical charts and enjoyed wide critical acclaim. Beethoven’s Der glorreiche Augenblick (Naxos, 2012) has been much admired, receiving a five star review in BBC Music Magazine.

Hilary has broadcast frequently for the BBC and Classic FM. He has been awarded honorary degrees by the Open University and De Montfort University and an Honorary Fellowship of the Birmingham Conservatoire.