The current concertmaster will now perform regularly with the orchestra as soloist and director


Photo: Bill Leighton

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The English Symphony Orchestra (ESO) has announced Zoë Beyers as its principal artist and leader alongside its new associate conductor Michael Karcher-Young.  

Beyers has been the concertmaster of the ESO since 2017 and is leader of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra alongside Yuri Torchinsky. Beyers has appeared as guest leader of orchestras such as the Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

The South-African born violinist is involved with the Arco project, a regular distance-learning programme between Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Morris Isaacson Centre for Music in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa. Beyers also performs collaboratively with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, London Sinfonietta and the Nash Ensemble. She recently joined the Dante Quartet as its first violinist.   

To mark the new appointments, the ESO is putting on a concert with soprano Nadine Benjamin entitled Spring Song and Strings on 5 May. The ESO strings will perform a programme including Mahler’s Adagietto from his Symphony no.5, Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony and Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances.  

The ESO was founded in 1976 by William Boughton with former members of the Midlands Radio Orchestra as the Vivaldi Chamber Orchestra before becoming the English String Orchestra. Known for its interpretation of English string music, over time it expanded to included larger scale repertoire changing its name to English Symphony Orchestra maintaining its ESO acronym. Over the years the orchestra has worked with international soloists including Nigel Kennedy. Steven Isserlis and Raphael Wallfisch.  

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