Orchestra of the Swan
Under the direction of Artistic Director David Curtis, the Orchestra of the Swan has achieved national recognition for outstanding performances combined with innovative programming and a highly accessible style of presentation with pre-concert talks, introductions from the podium and a post concert “conversation club”. Orchestra of the Swan is also a major champion of new music, commissioning more new work than almost any other chamber orchestra in the UK. Over the last 5 years OOTS has commissioned over 50 new works from composers including John Woolrich, Tansy Davies, Joe Duddell, Joseph Phibbs, Errollyn Wallen, Paul Patterson, Alexander Goehr, John Joubert and many others.
The Orchestra’s home is at the Civic Hall, Stratford-upon-Avon, where it has been based since its inception. It has also had residencies in Cheltenham, Redditch and Bedworth and performs at major concert venues and festivals including Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Warwick Arts Centre, St John’s Smith Square London, the Three Choirs Festival, St George’s Brandon Hill Bristol, Lichfield Festival and Deal Festival. Orchestra of the Swan is now an Associate Ensemble for the Town Hall, Birmingham and is the driving force behind the new Spring Sounds Festival which took place in Stratford-upon-Avon with Tasmin Little as Artistic Director in May 2008.
The orchestra’s performances receive widespread critical acclaim in the national and regional media and are frequently chosen as Pick of the Week in The Guardian and Daily Telegraph. Their debut recording on the Somm Classical label has received widespread critical acclaim and in June 2008, Orchestra of the Swan appeared on The South Bank Show with Tasmin Little.
David Curtis, Artistic Director & Principal Conductor
David Curtis is Artistic Director of Orchestra of the Swan, chamber orchestra for the Heart of England. The driving force behind the Swan’s nationally acclaimed Take Note! and Music of Our Time series, his thought-provoking programming and infectious enthusiasm for contemporary music have established him as a conductor of note on the international stage, conducting in the USA, Germany, where he has recorded with Dimitri Ashkenasi and the Hamburg Symphonika, Hungary, Belgium, China, Romania, Sweden, Iceland, Italy, Finland, the Czech Republic and Greece.
He has appeared with the Prague Chamber Orchestra and Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and the North Hungarian Symphony Orchestra and he is a regular guest soloist and conductor in Finland, appearing with the Mikkeli City Orchestra, the Roveniemi Chamber and Yvaskyla Symphony Orchestras in the concert hall and on Finnish Radio. In 2005 he gave the first performance of a new chamber symphony by leading Finnish composer Aki Yli-Salomaki.
In autumn 2006 he conducted in the biennial Nordic Music Days Festival with the Icelandic contemporary music ensemble Caput, the first British composer to be invited to do so, giving the world premiere of works by four leading Nordic composers for Icelandic Radio and in May 2007 conducted the Moravian Symphony Orchestra in the prestigious annual Olomouc Dvorak’s Festival and the Policka Martinu Festival.
David is a champion of new work and has commissioned and given the world premieres of numerous new works by British, Bulgarian, Chinese, Nordic, and American composers including Snorri Sigfús Birgisson, Oscar Colomina i Bosch, Joe Cutler, Tansy Davies, Joseph Duddell, Sampo Haapamäki, Lars-Petter Hagen, Thuridur Jónsdottir, Peter Lieuwen, Joseph Phibbs, Julian Philips, Marie Samuelsson, Dobrinka Tabakova, Errollyn Wallen, Shu Wang and John Woolrich.
David delights in working with musicians of all ages and abilities. He has been guest conductor at the Moores School of Music in Houston USA and given conducting master classes for students, at the Birmingham Conservatoire and the Guildhall School. In spring 2005, he conducted the American School International Orchestra in Geneva and has since conducted the orchestra in London, Beijing and Singapore. He has wide experience as guest conductor with many other student orchestras in the UK; Warwick University, Bedford County Youth Orchestra, Fife Youth Orchestra, Sheffield University, Gloucester Academy of Music and Birmingham Schools Symphony.
Keen to take music into the wider community, David was responsible for the Swan’s residency at Birmingham International Airport and for overseeing their extensive and highly imaginative Education programme. He continues to be in demand as a speaker, giving illuminating descriptions of life on the podium and behind the scenes.