Conductor to stand down after 25 years

PUBLISHED: 13:53 08 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:41 15 June 2010

After 25 years wielding the baton in front of the EMG Symphony Orchestra, Roger Hendy has announced that he is to step down and hand over to a new conductor.

After 25 years wielding the baton in front of the EMG Symphony Orchestra, Roger Hendy has announced that he is to step down and hand over to a new conductor. He has conducted more than 100 concerts with the orchestra, both here in Devon and abroad, and now he wishes to explore other musical paths. During his time with the orchestra he has inspired it to new heights with performances of professional standard in the most demanding works, such as the symphonies of Gustav Mahler and Shostakovich, and he has brought a galaxy of international soloists to play with the orchestra.Still living in East Devon, he retired as deputy principal of Honiton Community College a couple of years ago and has since taught on a part-time basis at Colyton Grammar School. He is now spending more time playing his instrument, the viola, in the Isca String Quartet. It is hoped that his successor will be appointed in May.Roger's final Exeter Cathedral concert with the orchestra will be on Thursday, April 17, at 7.30pm, when he has chosen another challenging programme. It opens with a rousing arrangement of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Originally for organ, it was arranged by the great conductor Leopold Stokowski for orchestra, for inclusion in Disney's famous film Fantasia. There follows a work by the French composer Francis Poulenc, one in which the organ is still allowed to take its rightful place, his exciting Organ Concerto. The soloist, playing the Cathedral organ, will be the Cathedral organist Andrew Millington.Finally, to go out on a high spot, Mahler's great Symphony No 5 has been chosen. Demanding a huge orchestra in the main, the Adagietto, which has become famous in its own right, since it was used in the film Death in Venice, requires only strings and harp.Tickets for this concert are available from Exeter Tickets, telephone (01392) 211080.This is obviously a concert not to be missed, but there will be two more opportunities to hear the orchestra perform under Roger Hendy. On Saturday, June 21, they play at St David's Church, Exeter, and then on Thursday, June 26, at Seaton Town Hall. At Seaton Sir Neville Marriner also appears as guest conductor. The programme in both concerts will include Mendelssohn's Fingal's Cave Overture (The Hebrides), Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, with Chris Gradwell as soloist, and Beethoven's Second Symphony.John Dalton

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