In praise of … George Hurst | Editorial

He kept the musical flame alive and nurtured this country's orchestras through some tough times

George Hurst, who died at the weekend aged 86, was not one of Britain's superstar orchestral conductors. The allure of his long career never matched those of younger maestros whom he influenced, like Simon Rattle or Andrew Davies. Yet Hurst was one of a generation of relatively unsung conductors – which included Reginald Goodall, Rudolf Schwarz, Charles Groves and others – who kept the musical flame alive and nurtured this country's orchestras through some tough times. Two British orchestras, the BBC Philharmonic and the now disbanded Bournemouth Sinfonietta, owed much of their eminence to Hurst's high standards when he directed them in the 1960s and 70s, while a generation of conductors passed under his scrutiny each year at the Canford (now Sherborne) summer school. Today's international knights of the baton prosper in large part because of the achievements of past masters of their art like Hurst.


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