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Southend Symphony Orchestra are delighted to announce the appointment of our new conductor, John Chillingworth.

John Chillingworth is a cellist, organist, pianist, instrumental, theory and composition teacher, orchestral and chamber music coach, conductor and arranger.

He studied the cello and organ at the Royal College of Music and later the cello with William Pleeth, teacher of Jacqueline Du Pre.  For seven years he was the cellist of the Guadagnini String Quartet performing and broadcasting all over Europe and Canada.  Following the disbanding of the quartet, he became Assistant Principal Cello of the BBC Philharmonic followed by twenty-five years as Principal Cellist at English National Opera.  He worked as a guest principal cellist with many other orchestras, including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Opera North, Northern Philharmonia, London Concert Orchestra, London Mozart Players, London Sinfonietta, BBC Welsh Orchestra and Camerata Ireland. 

 Having decided to leave ENO, he moved to Suffolk and is now pursuing a varied career.   He teaches at Colchester Royal Grammar School, privately, at St Joseph’s College in Ipswich, Ipswich High School, and is a Diploma Examiner for the Associated Board.

While playing at ENO, he regularly fulfilled conducting engagements with youth orchestras, conducted and coached at the London Conservatories and was a cover conductor at ENO.  More recently, he was the first conductor of the Essex Youth Choir, and was the Music Director of Saffron Walden Town Band.  He is now the conductor of Lexden Choral Society, Music Director of Sudbury Choral Society and is very honoured to have been asked to become the conductor of Southend Symphony Orchestra.  He also has founded a professional big band.

As a composer, he has had a musical commissioned and performed by a group of primary schools in Felixstowe, an organ piece performed in the Sunday evening series of organ recitals at St John’s College, Cambridge, a piece for massed strings played by the strings of Essex Young People’s Orchestra and Lexden Choral Society have performed a work for Remembrance Day; as an arranger, he has had many arrangements performed by a variety of different groups including the Gents of St John’s. 

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