Watford Symphony Orchestra

Watford Symphony Orchestra is a highly regarded, award winning orchestra, formed in 2007. Since its formation, the orchestra has established itself as a leading orchestra within Hertfordshire and the neighbouring areas. The orchestra performs 4 concerts each season, featuring music representing classical repertoire drawn from the 18th century right up to modern times. A key part of its success has been its ability to attract soloists of the highest calibre, particularly young instrumentalists on the threshold of their professional career, some of whom have gone on to achieve national and international fame, including that of winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year !

The orchestra’s Principal Conductor, Stuart Dunlop has, since his appointment, been an outstanding director of rehearsals, and an inspirational presence on the podium. His extensive experience as a professional conductor and within musical academia, has been an invaluable resource. Our leader Rebecca Boyle, a professional violinist, has held this position since the orchestra’s foundation.

We have enjoyed substantial audience support from our local Watford community, and have also, through the medium of our concerts, contributed several thousands of pounds to local charities over the years.

Our orchestra members are drawn from the local area and beyond, comprising professional instrumentalists, instrumental teachers and talented amateur players. We are a friendly and supportive group of people, and would welcome new players to join us in this our new season 2021/22. There are a few vacancies available, mainly within the String Sections, particularly Cellos and Double Bass. If you would like to join us ( rehearsals are on Thursday evenings 8.00pm to 10.00pm), please contact our Players’Secretary, Gay De Marco, who will provide you with details of opportunities. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rebecca Boyle

Rebecca Boyle, Leader.

Rebecca grew up in Pinner, and played an active part in the Harrow school for Young Musicians, culminating in a performance of the Bruch violin concerto with them on their tour of Salzburg. She gained an Instrumental Award to study music at Cambridge University and then spent two years doing a postgraduate Diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music, studying under Yossi Zivoni. 

Since graduating in 1992, Rebecca has had a varied career as a freelance violinist, as part of the Caspian String Quartet, which has played at many leading Festivals and Music Societies throughout the Country, and as a teacher.  Rebecca has performed many concertos, both as a student, and with local orchestras. These include Tchaikovsky, Bruch, Prokofiev 2, The Lark Ascending and Mozart Sinfonia Concertante. She has also led many local orchestras.

Rebecca has always been an enthusiastic teacher, teaching privately as well as at Haberdashers' Girls School and St John's Prep School. She established her own pre- school music group based on Colourstrings, and has also been employed as an Infant class music teacher.

Stuart Dunlop

Stuart Dunlop

Stuart Dunlop is currently Director of Music at the University of East Anglia and Consultant with City Music Services.

A busy freelance conducting career involving work with Hanover Band, Ulster Orchestra, Milton Keynes City Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic and choirs including City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Aspen Symphony Orchestra and Contemporary Ensemble, Watford Philharmonic and Milton Keynes Chorale has run alongside a dedication to student music making as Assistant Director at Warwick University and Director of Music at Reading.

He began musical life as a bassoonist. After graduating from York University he divided his time between modern and period instruments, playing with Hanover Band, London Classical Players and Alan Hacker's multi-purpose ensemble The Music Party. He was lucky enough to do a lot of chamber music during this time - a formative influence.

As a contrast to late eighteenth century period instrument playing he founded a contemporary music group, the Parke Ensemble, which he conducted in music by Judith Weir, John Woolrich, Harrison Birtwistle and many others, broadcasting on BBC Radio 3.

He devoted himself to conducting by taking the Royal Academy of Music's postgraduate course, studying with Colin Metters and  Sir Colin Davis before becoming a Conducting Fellow at Aspen Music School in Colorado under Lawrence Foster, Murry Sidlin and Robert Spano.