Ernest Read

The Ernest Read Symphony Orchestra (ERSO) was founded in 1931 by Ernest Read,  a pioneer in the development of music education and youth orchestras during the first half of the 20th century.

On Read’s 85th birthday William Cole wrote in the Musical Times:
“It is hard to over-estimate the influence of Ernest Read on musical education and on professional and amateur musicians”.

He was also described by Yehudi Menuhin as:
“a prime example of what one inspired man can do with single hearted devotion decade after decade in awakening the passion for music in successive generations.”

Find out more about ERSO’s amazing history

Our work with children and the ERSO Talent Programme, which provides developmental opportunities for emerging professional musicians, are at the heart of what we do and follow directly from Ernest Read’s legacy.

dynamic pointing

ERSO has worked with many distinguished professional conductors.  Our Principal Conductor Christopher Stark is best known as co-founder and Principal Conductor of the RPS Award-winning Multi-Story Orchestra with whom he made his critically acclaimed BBC Proms debut in 2016.  Chris has also worked extensively with the English Touring Opera and Glyndebourne.

ERSO is proud to have a highly experienced professional leader, John Crawford, a Professor at Trinity Laban and former member of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Read’s daughter and son-in-law ran ERSO for many years after his death and following their retirement in 1998, the charity Music Illuminated was founded to manage ERSO and continue Ernest Read’s work.

ERSO presents a series of five concerts each year, combining high quality performance with an approachable style of presentation.

Check out our latest news on our ERSO Facebook page.

Information about us:

The Ernest Read Symphony Orchestra is run by Music Illuminated

Registered charity no:1074016, Registered company no: 03685489

Registered address: 20 Wimborne Close, Epsom, Surrey KT17 4DP

email address:

Affiliated to Making Music