A native of Ripon, Xenophon Kelsey,
MBE, studied horn, double bass, piano
and conducting in Manchester and was principal horn and conducting
student on the European Summer Schools for Young Musicians in Vienna,
Salzburg and Montreux from 1967-71. He has played horn with the CBSO,
Manchester Mozart and Ulster Orchestras, as well as various chamber
ensembles and other orchestras.
As a conductor, he has specialised in working
with young musicians, most notably with Stockport Youth Orchestras,
the Northern Youth Orchestras Association and Primavera Youth Chamber
Orchestra, Cheshire. He has brought to his many orchestras a remarkable
reputation for excellence. In 1989, he returned to Ripon to develop
a varied freelance career as conductor, chamber music coach, teacher,
lecturer, composer, arranger and performer.
In addition to his work as conductor of the St Cecilia Orchestra, he
directs the Ripon Community Orchestra and the Mowbray
Orchestra and Ensemble.
He was a moving
spirit behind the establishment of the Ripon Cathedral Concert Society,
the St Cecilia Orchestra, Ripon Youth String Orchestra and the Ripon
Youth Choirs Association and he is the founder and director of the
outstandingly successful Vacation
Chamber Orchestras organisation, promoting residential courses
for advanced music students and performing throughout Europe as
well as in the UK. So far, they have played in Austria, Belgium,
France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Switzerland.
2003 Xenophon appeared as guest conductor with the Oxford University Orchestra
in a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No 5 at the Sheldonian Theatre
and in 2005 he conducted several performances of Puccini's La Boheme with Opus 1 Music Opera Group. He is also a long-standing member of the distinguished
international jury at the European Festival of Music
for Youth in Belgium. In May 2007 he was awarded the accolade of ''Ambassador
of the Festival' in recognition of his services to the Festival and to youth music
in Europe. In 2008 he was the first winner of the 'Jewels of Ripon' award for
his contribution to culture in Ripon and, in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours
he was awarded an MBE for his services to music.
music, his main interest is walking and he has completed many of the
long-distance footpaths in the UK and scaled most of the summits in
the Lake District, the Peak District, Snowdonia and the Yorkshire
Dales. In 2011/12 he walked from John O'Groats to Lands End on a sponsored
walk to raise funds for both the St Cecilia Orchestra and for VaCO.
Although he reached the end of his walk in late October 2012 he is
still accepting donations at the link below and has written a full
report on music and music and music education throughout the UK, as
well as his exploits which is available on the same website.
For more information about this project, called 'Andante', or to
make a donation please visit www.xenmus.net