Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

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The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is an English orchestra. Originally based in Bournemouth, the BSO moved its offices to the adjacent town of Poole in 1979.[1]

The orchestra played in the 'old' Winter Gardens from its inception until that building was demolished in 1935 (the last piece to be performed being Haydn's Farewell Symphony). After a time at the Pavilion Theatre, the orchestra moved back to the 'new' Winter Gardens with an inaugural concert on 18 October 1947. The orchestra performed regularly there until the mid 1980s, when the Poole Arts Centre became its main venue. The 'new' Winter Gardens were demolished in May 2006. In Poole, the orchestra gives its main season at the Lighthouse Centre for Performing Arts (formerly Poole Arts Centre), where the concert hall has 1,596 seats. Currently Portsmouth Guildhall and the Great Hall of Exeter University are the other main venues, with shorter series given in Bournemouth (Pavilion Theatre) and Basingstoke.


Origins to 1934: The Godfrey Era

The Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra was founded in 1893 by Dan Godfrey as a group of 30 wind players and a drummer, though several of the instrumentalists - as is the current practice with military musicians - were proficient in both wind and string instruments.[2] This flexible approach meant that the musicians could form a military band for open air concerts (playing on Bournemouth Pier) or a more formal classical ensemble for indoor programmes. The group gave its first concert on Whit Monday 1893 at the Winter Gardens, with its first classical concert in October that year.

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