Devon Philharmonic Orchestra
The South West's most exhilarating sound
Devon Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the South West's leading symphony orchestras. The orchestra gives three major concerts each season, often involving professional soloists and local choirs, and in addition contributes to the musical life of Exeter with events such as chamber concerts and collaborations with other organisations.
The orchestra was founded in 1967 as the Exeter Music Group, and since that time has grown to the full-scale symphony orchestra which exists today. In 2019, the orchestra relaunched as the Devon Philharmonic Orchestra, to reflect its more contemporary style and approach.
DPO is proud to support local charities, and to provide opportunities for younger musicians to join us at open rehearsals. In May 2019, under its previous name, EMG was awarded the Lord Mayor of Exeter's Commendation for its services to charity and the wider community over many years.
More information about the orchestra's history will be available soon.
MUSIC DIRECTOR: Benjamin Voce
Benjamin Voce is a British conductor based in Berlin and Manchester. He embodies the long interconnected history that music and mathematics have shared together, having first completed a degree in mathematics in the UK before studying music at the Barenboim-Said Academy in Berlin. He is thrilled have become music director of the Devon Philharmonic Orchestra in spring 2023 and is looking forward to giving concerts together in Exeter and across the southwest.
In the 2022/23 season he was the assistant conductor to Thomas Adès, including with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw and London Philharmonic. He was also Associate Conductor of the Dresden University Orchestra for 2022/23 and has worked as rehearsal conductor for the Junges Philharmonisches Orchester Niedersachsen. He has previously worked with the Steinfeld Chamber Orchestra (Germany), Danubia Orchestra Óbuda (Hungary), Ars Nova Ensemble (France), South Denmark Philharmonic (Denmark), Ensemble Luminar (Germany) and Ensemble900 (Switzerland).
Benjamin is currently a scholarship student at the Royal Northern College of Music studying for a masters in conducting. Previously, in 2017 he moved to Berlin to join Daniel Barenboim’s prestigious “Barenboim-Said Akademie”, where around 15 students per year are admitted to follow a course of study combining music and the humanities. There he studied viola with Krzysztof Chorzelski, conducting with Mihhail Gerts and composition with Constantin Stimmer, as well as philosophy, literature and history. Prior to this, whilst studying for his maths degree at Imperial College London he was a recipient of the “Ash Scholarship” and a student on the viola at the Royal College of Music in London. He has also completed an Advanced Diploma in Contemporary Repertoire Conducting at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana.
LEADER: Clare Smith
Clare Smith started learning piano and violin from the age of six. At the age of 14 she gained a place in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, where her love of orchestral playing flourished, enjoying performing in some of the UK’s major concert halls and the BBC Proms. In addition, Clare was awarded a scholarship to study violin with Emanuel Hurwitz in London for four years.
Following her A levels, Clare went on to study Dentistry at Bristol University. Music continued to be a huge influence in her life, and she led both the University Symphony and Chamber Orchestras throughout her dental degree course.
After Clare had qualified, she moved to Exeter, and joined the EMG Symphony Orchestra (as it was then) in 1990. In 1993 she was appointed Leader and has relished this role since, and the opportunities and challenges it continues to bring. In 2012 she gained her ABRSM Diploma in Violin Performance, and now devotes her time solely to playing and teaching the violin.
Image credit: Paula Fernley