KENDAL will witness the end of an era as an icon of the Cumbrian classical music scene will bid an emotional farewell in a final concert.

Richard Howarth, conductor and music director of the Westmorland Orchestra since 2010, will wave his baton for the final time as Beethoven's Ode to Joy reaches its thrilling climax on Saturday, March 11, to conclude the concert at Kendal Leisure Centre.

Richard has also been a distinguished violinist, and has held various prestigious musical roles, such as leading the Manchester Camerata.

Richard has been commuting from Whalley Bridge, Derbyshire - but he joked that finally the M6 and its many closures have 'ground him down'.

He said: "I hope to carry on making music for many more years to come but will take the opportunities rather closer to home as I try to reduce my travelling!"

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"It's been a privilege to conduct the Westmorland Orchestra for 12 years and I will take away many happy musical memories.

"I feel confident that the orchestra will continue to thrive and be an important part of Kendal and Cumbrian musical life during the next chapter."

Leader of the orchestra Pam Redman said: "Richard has been with the Orchestra now for 12 years and I have worked with him as leader for eight of these.

"At one and the same time I feel both joyous at having had such a fantastic eight years and sad that this era is coming to a close."

The farewell concert will also feature Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Bruckner's Os Justi and another work by Beethoven, Leonore Overture number 3.

Georgina Perkins, Chair of Westmorland Orchestra, said: "Many local concert-goers are aware of his dedication to orchestral music in Kendal.

"As well as cancellations for Storm Desmond and Covid, he was an enthusiastic regular on our Zoom sessions throughout lockdown.

"It remains for me on behalf of audiences and players past and present to thank Richard Howarth for going the extra mile in so many ways for the Westmorland Orchestra.

"I shall leave the final words to him – 'I've always thought the orchestra plays Beethoven really well, so I can't imagine a better way to end my tenure than with two of his finest pieces'.

Concert tickets are £18 (free for young people and students), and are available from and on the door.