IN 1893, as all BSO aficionados know, the young Dan Godfrey established the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra.

It later became the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and he stayed at the helm for an astonishing 41 years until 1934. He was knighted in 1922.

It is little surprise that Sir Dan remains the longest serving principal conductor.

The current incumbent, Kirill Karabits, is currently celebrating ten years in the post and while he is some way behind the founder, it takes him into second place in terms of length of service.

He spoke to the Echo to mark this significant milestone (which he describes as a great honour) and to talk about the programme for the 2019/2020 season.

Did he expect to be with the BSO this long?

“No, of course not. I did not even know where I was going when I first came here. I took a train to Bournemouth. But I knew in my very first visit when I met the musicians that this would be something very special.

“Of course every relationship has its beginning and its end and that is a natural process. Sometimes it is a mystery how long a relationship will last, but if it brings pleasure to both sides it will. It’s just like life.”

Politics and the arts is often a tricky subject and a dangerous one to stray into but it is very much on the agenda.

The new BCP Council is yet to have a ruling administration confirmed so the council’s attitude towards arts and culture in the conurbation and the willingness of its new political leadership to maintain current levels of funding is unclear. The former Bournemouth and Poole councils invested substantially in the BSO.

Karabits said: “Culture is business. It’s the best investment. Wealthy people buying paintings and instruments. Investing in the culture means investing in your future, in your children, investing in the place where you live. It is absolutely the best and this is something politicians should look at. In this area we have a world class orchestra. It has proved that in many ways over a long time.

“Actually I think the relationship with politicians here is very good but there is always more that can be done.”

The new season effectively starts in July with the Proms.

But the major opening here is a piece by Liszt which Karabits came across in Weimar last year. It’s a melodrama about German reunification.“It is going to be a sensation because nobody knew that Liszt wrote like this,” said the conductor.

Other big pieces will be Elektra by Strauss and Karabits himself will be conducting Handel’s Messiah at Christmas. “It’s my first time so I had to do that one,” he joked. “Each season is a balance between something known, something new, something big and something small.” And while each new season is exciting, it is a different kind of excitement. “When I started out with the BSO, I thought something, but had no idea what would happen. Now it is a much deeper kind of reaction that I am interested in. I know everything much better than I did ten years ago!”