Conductor George Hurst dies aged 86

George Hurst, the conductor who was known from his work with the Bournemouth Symphony and the BBC Philharmonic, has passed away at the age of 86. The son of a Russian mother and a Romanian father, Hurst was born in 1926 in Edinburgh. He did not receive any notice however until he was later enrolled in Toronto, Canada at the Royal Conservatory. After gaining distinction for his fine working as a composer he moved on towards a rich career.

For a decade beginning in 1958 Hurst was the principal conductor of the BBC Northern Orchestra and is often credited for being the one responsible for taking it to the global stage. Today the orchestra is more commonly known on the international stage as the BBC Philharmonic.

Hurst was best known for sweeping his baton while on stage and for letting other principal musicians enough room to tackle pieces in their own unique manner. His career was very rich and long and allowed him the chance to work with almost every major Irish and British orchestra including the Orchestre National Paris, the Nord Deutsch Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Israel’s Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Royal Danish Orchestra.

At some points he even conducted more than one orchestra at a time such as in 1950 when he conducted both the York Symphony Orchestra and the Peabody Conservatory Orchestra. 1953 marked the date of his return to London Philharmonic Orchestra where he served as an assistance conductor until he was promoted to the lead principal conductor of the BBC Northern Orchestra.

After leaving the BBC Northern Orchestra in 1968 he created the Bournemouth Sinfionetta and served as an artistic advisor to several symphonies.