In September 1888 three Manchester businessmen sent out an invitation to a meeting to be held in the Crown Hotel, Fountain Street, Manchester, on October 1st. Eleven people attended and a discussion took place as to the desirability of establishing an amateur instrumental society. This was the beginning of The Beethoven Society, known today as Manchester Beethoven Orchestra.
Our name has confused many into thinking that we only perform works by Beethoven but in fact our concert programmes showcase a wide variety of classical repertoire. In 1949 a critic fromThe Manchester Evening News remarked, 'it seems odd that the concert contains no items by the composer after whom the society is named.’ Our founders chose the name because Beethoven stood, in their opinion, for the finest music ever written.
Since our first rehearsal in the 'Paint Room', a spacious apartment close to the roof of the Free Trade Hall, we have been meeting and playing without a break ever since.
Original letter detailing the formation of the orchestra in 1888.
“The new Beethoven Society seems likely in the future to become an important factor in local music”
The Mail 5th
“It has been a great pleasure and honour to be the music director of this friendly and talented group of players since 2004. I endeavour to make each rehearsal as enjoyable as possible and to encourage the orchestra to perform to the best of its ability.”
Having been taught the violin by Rudolf Botta of the then Royal Manchester College of Music, Frank Lennon led the Xaverian College orchestra and, as an undergraduate, played in the Royal Holloway Orchestra. After a time away from classical music, he joined the first violin section of the Manchester Beethoven Orchestra in 1982. When the leader, Wilf Lewtas, retired in 1991, Frank was invited to assume the position, a post he was to hold until 2004. Following the death of John Crosdale, the long-standing conductor of the orchestra, Frank was asked to take over. Among the highlights have been the orchestra’s 125th anniversary concert at the Royal Northern College of Music in 2013, several highly successful concerts at Gorton Monastery, and a performance of the Delius Double Concerto which featured the leader and the principal cellist of the Irish National Orchestra (RTE). Working with a series of excellent young soloists from the RNCM has also been a notable feature of his tenure.
In addition to his extensive work with symphony orchestras, Frank was music director for Urmston Musical Theatre’s production of Viva Mexico! and for the revival of Eric Procter’s oratorio, The Prodigal Son. He has also conducted concerts involving the Burnley Municipal Choir as well as the orchestra. In the midst of all this, the violin has not been neglected as Frank still plays for local orchestras including the Amaretti Chamber Orchestra and the Athenean Orchestra and enjoys playing chamber music with friends.
Heather started playing the violin aged seven and spent many years playing for Lincolnshire Youth Orchestra. Despite loving playing so much Heather decided that
music wasn’t something that she want to pursue as a career and instead followed her first love of art and design and studied Interior Architecture at Cardiff University. However, playing has become a very important part of Heather’s life, giving her great pleasure and valuable respite from her day to day running of PHAUS, her successful design consultancy based in Manchester.