William Boughton, conductor
William Boughton formed the English Symphony Orchestra in 1980, and continues as its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Under his leadership, the orchestra's repertoire now ranges from the Viennese classics to contemporary music. Together he and the English Symphony Orchestra have built a significant discography of internationally acclaimed recordings with Nimbus Records, a number of which have reached the top ten in the US charts. From 1986 to 1993 Maestro Boughton also served as Artistic & Music Director of the Jyvaskyla Sinfonia in Finland.
He has guest conducted many of the world's leading orchestras from San Francisco to Helsinki, and has worked with numerous renowned soloists on the international circuit, including artists such as Emmanuel Ax, Nigel Kennedy, Leonidas Kavakos, Radu Lupu and Viktoria Mullova. His list of commissions from contemporary composers includes works by Peter Sculthorpe, John Joubert, Anthony Powers, Michael Berkeley, John Metcalf, Stephen Roberts and Adrian Williams, among many others.
Boughton's championship of contemporary English music was epitomized in 1985 when, as Artistic Director of the Malvern Festival, he collaborated with Sir Michael Tippett to present a musical celebration of the composer's eightieth birthday -- the subject of a BBC "Omnibus" documentary. In November 1995, he and the ESO presented a weekend of music celebrating the 60th birthday of English composer Nicholas Maw. His close friendship with the late Yehudi Menuhin saw Boughton and the ESO performing at the artist's memorial service in Westminster Abbey on June 3rd 1999, and Boughton directed a number of memorial concerts around the world with the Sinfonia Varsovia. In October 1993, Maestro Boughton was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Coventry University.
In 1996 he commenced his second ten–year term as Artistic Director of the Malvern Festival and in 2000 was invited to become the Artistic Director of The Nimbus Foundation. For the Foundation, he has developed the Wyastone Summer Series based at the concert hall in the grounds of the Wyastone estate. Now entering its fifth season, the festival attracts many of the world's leading musical artists to this beautiful borderland area between England and Wales and has developed into a major summer attraction.
Along with guest conducting appointments in Finland, Spain & the USA, in 2003-2004 Boughton launched a number of new initiatives with the ESO. These included the Inaugural Elgar Festival in June 2004, featuring a number of international artists; a complete cycle of Schumann Symphonies; Martinu's The Greek Passion, performed in Greece; and the release of the ESO's recording of Handel's Messiah.
Boughton is also an active proponent of music education for young people, and champions several outstanding youth orchestras.