HRS History

HRS owes its origins to Christopher Burgess (HRS’s first Musical Director), a group of children and Havant Arts Centre. Together, they started a series of recorder classes taught by Christopher Burgess and held in the Arts Centre. As the children improved, an advanced class was organised to allow ensemble playing. It performed in local churches and schools as The Old Town Hall Consort. Before long, adults were joining the recorder classes and, as the numbers in the Consort swelled, so did the range of instruments. With the addition of great and contra basses, the full orchestra was formed. It started performing as Hampshire Recorder Sinfonia in 1995.

Shortly after becoming HRS, the orchestra adopted a more formal structure with a constitution and committee and it set out its vision for the orchestra in 'Recorders 2000'. This provided support for its successful bid for Arts Council funding for it to make its first CD in 1997 . Since then, it has received funding from Awards for All and The Elgar Society for further recordings and now has a library of 3 CDs.

HRS has been well supported by Hampshire County Council who grant aided the purchase of a great and a contra bass, thereby reinforcing the deeper elements of the orchestra.

Over the years, HRS has played some 100 concerts in a wide range of venues such as;

A highlight of HRS’s history is its exchange with the Blockfluitensemble Praetorius from The Netherlands. Together, they played concerts in Southampton and Portsmouth in 2002 followed the next year by concerts in The Hague and Leiden. HRS would like to take part in further international exchanges.

HRS has been fortunate in its relationships with a number of composers and arrangers of recorder orchestra music. It has been given a number of new compositions and has also commissioned work from contemporary composers.