Eric Foster - Musical Director
Eric is currently the Assistant Organist at the Church of St Paul's Within the Walls, Rome. As well as playing for church services, Eric is the accompanist for the church's professional choir, and directs the church's concert choir.
Starting his musical life as a pianist and trombonist, Eric developed an early interest in conducting while with the National Children’s Orchestra, of which he was a member in 2007 and 2008. After attending masterclasses with Natalia Luis-Bassa, Eric was made Assistant Director of Music of the Haslemere Town Band.
In 2016, Eric completed a degree in Music at Oxford University, where he was the organ scholar at Corpus Christi College. In his time at Oxford, Eric held the positions of President of the Oxford University Music Society, conductor of Oxford University Sinfonietta, Oxford University Chorus, and musical director of Oxford Student Opera Company. He has particular interests in opera and musical theatre, being the musical director for an Oxford Playhouse production of West Side Story in 2015.
In his spare time, Eric enjoys learning Italian, eating gelato, and composing and arranging music for choirs and ensembles, with works premiered by the BBC and performed across Europe.
Guildford Youth Symphony Orchestra was founded in 2014, with the aim of creating a full symphony orchestra for young people in and around Surrey. Meeting outside of term, our focussed courses are geared towards enthusiastic young musicians aged between 13 and 25, intending to bridge the gap between County and Conservatoire level performance.
Recent repertoire includes Holst's The Planets, Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances and Mahler's Fifth Symphony. All our courses are free to join, and concert admissions are by retiring collection, raising donations for local causes.
Hilary Davan Wetton - Patron
One of Britain's most versatile and distinguished conductors, Hilary Davan Wetton has held conducting positions with numerous leading orchestras and choirs around the country. Currently the Musical Director of the City of London Choir, the Hastings Philharmonic Choir and the Surrey Festival Choir, he also holds the position of Conductor Emeritus of the Milton Keynes City Orchestra, which he founded, and the Guildford Choral Society.
Hilary was the conductor of the Guildford Choral Society from 1968-2008, with whom he made a number of acclaimed recordings with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also made several outstanding recordings for Hyperion and Naxos with Guildford Choral Society and the Holst Singers, of which he was founder-conductor from 1978-1992.
A popular guest conductor with choirs and orchestras in Britain and overseas, Hilary has a long-standing commitment to music-making with young people. From 1983-1987 he was conductor of the Orchestra of the Birmingham Conservatoire and has worked with youth orchestras from Melbourne to Singapore, as well as closer to home with the Scottish Schools Orchestra and Edinburgh Youth Orchestra from 1984-1997. Hilary has appeared regularly with the National Children's Orchestra, including directing the main orchestra in 2008 for their 30th Anniversary Season.
Biography taken from hilarydavanwetton.co.uk