Encouraging people to come back to live performances is one of the challenges for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra says the new chairman of the board of trustees.

Andrew Flockhart has just taken up the role and the former chief executive of Borough of Poole has long been familiar with the orchestra’s work on stage and in the community.

He said: “The role of the board is to help steer and guide the organisation and my role in particular is to to make sure we have the right expertise and that we look ahead.

“I am very conscious that this orchestra has been around for 128 years and we have to keep our eyes on the horizon to ensure it is around for a lot longer.”

“We have always got to ensure our musical excellence stays at the very highest level."

Mr Flockhart, who headed the officer team at BoP from 2014-2019 added: “There is a major challenge right now in bringing our audiences back to our full symphonic concerts and we are all learning about that in our sector.

"But it was certainly very encouraging to see a pretty full Lighthouse auditorium for the opening concert of the season recently.”

He said it was also crucial for the BSO to make its services ‘relevant and helpful’ to those who needed its support, “in schools, hospitals, care homes and community centres right across the region.”

That has been made more difficult by Covid.

The final challenge is making the most of what the orchestra has learned about digital live streaming and the part it will play in reaching even bigger and wider audiences in the future.

“It about how can we reach even more people with the brilliant music that the BSO produces.”

Mr Flockhart asked the public across Dorset to recognise the reputation of the BSO in its world class music and in making a huge difference to communities.

“Many people have no idea of some of incredible, ground-breaking work it does. The community work is not an add on, it’s a fundamental part of what we do and the musicians do a remarkable job in making the music accessible to whoever they are playing to.

“One of the great skills this orchestra has is understanding what kind of music and what kind of delivery will really make a difference to people’s lives.

Mr Flockhart’s first experience of the BSO was the Proms in the Park at Upton Country Park and he has been frequent visitor to the concert hall in the last 20 plus years.