Photo Andrew Pennill LRPS

Former Conductor... Derek Williams

At the end of the 22/23 season, after 40 successful years at the helm, Derek Williams decided to retire. Derek has made a huge contribution to the Orchestra and to the musical life of the area. The Orchestra held a celebration concert in July last year. NSO is now in the process of appointing a new conductor.

Derek grew up in Nottingham surrounded by family music-making, playing string quartets from the age of 7 and subsequently studying in Birmingham with Ernest Element, a pupil of Carl Flesch.

After performances of concertos by Sibelius, Elgar, Bruch, Beethoven and Barber, Derek developed an interest in conducting and while working in Bedford, formed the Bedford Festival Orchestra and Festival Opera.

In 1983 Derek was appointed Music Director of Nottingham Symphony and went on to co-found the Nottingham Youth Orchestra, with whom he commissioned several works including a Jazz Violin Concerto from Sir John Dankworth, and toured Europe and the USA annually with great success until his retirement from NYO in 2013.

Derek is always looking to expand musical horizons and following performances of The Verdi Requiem in 2015 and 2017 in Paris and Chartres, this led to the formation of Nottingham Music Enterprises to perform Opera excerpts in 2019 in Amsterdam and the Brahms Requiem in Normandy in 2022.

Derek's reputation as a fine orchestral accompanist has led to requests from Nicola Benedetti and Guy Johnston to work with him in preparation for performances in the London Concert Halls. Other requests have led to innovative Rush-hour concerts in 2015.

His empathic approach and gentle encouragement of young people has inspired many to become professional musicians and he continues to teach and in particular to enable youngsters to share his life-long passion for chamber music. This has led to the launch of the Rosin Academy running short holiday courses for young people.