Dorset Chamber Orchestra

Music Director: Walter Brewster FTCL GRSM DipNCOS PGCE (Biography)
Music Director Emeritus: Robert Jacoby MA PhD FLCM LRAM ARCM
President: John Lill CBE DMus DSc FRCM FRAM
Vice President: Barry Gaskell
Patron: Martin Clunes OBE
Chairman: Tim Smithers LLB
Treasurer: C.J.F. Watts MA LGSM
Librarian: Catherine McMillan BScContact email:


Dorset Chamber Orchestra celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017.

Based in Dorchester, our players are drawn from all parts of Dorset, and beyond.  We offer high quality performances of a wide range of classical music in a part of the County not regularly visited by full time professional orchestras.

One of the orchestra’s main aims, championed by our founder and Music Director Emeritus Robert Jacoby, has always been to support the careers of young professional soloists.  We have been privileged to provide a concerto platform for more than 80 young musicians over the past 30 years, some of whom are pursuing distinguished professional careers. Rebecca Gilliver, principal cellist of the London Symphony Orchestra, was soloist at our second ever concert in 1987.  We are delighted to welcome Rebecca back to Dorchester as soloist for our 30th Anniversary Gala Concert on 30th September 2017. 

Natalie Clein, cellist and artistic director of the Purbeck International Chamber Music Festival, made her debut with DChO at the age of 15, a year before winning the BBC Young Musician and Eurovision Young Musician of the Year competitions.  More recently we have enjoyed performances by Jennifer Pike (violin, youngest-ever winner of the BBC Young Musician competition in 2002), Cordelia Williams, Piano Winner BBC Young Musician 2006 and Laura van der Heijden (cello, BBC Young Musician 2012).

One of the highlights of our calendar is the “Music for Youth” concert, supported for many years by our Patron, Martin Clunes OBE.  In 2017 our capacity audience (including over 100 young people) was enchanted by Martin’s narration of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”, a debut solo performance by a young local trumpet player, and the first performance of an orchestral piece by a young Dorset composer.

As we look forward to future seasons under the baton of our Music Director Walter Brewster, our priorities remain focussed on supporting the careers of young professional soloists, offering opportunities for talented young players to gain orchestral performance experience, and making classical music accessible to a younger audience.

We remain hugely appreciative of the loyal support of our Friends, our loyal and enthusiastic audience, our hosts at St Mary’s, and the large number of individuals and organisations who enable the orchestra play its part in the cultural life of the County.