Musical Director: Barrie McKinnon
Barrie was born in Salford in 1950 and attended Salford Grammar School where he studied violin. He joined Salford Youth Orchestra in 1967 as principal percussionist – later serving as Orchestra Chairman, tutor and conductor and in 1969 joined Salford Symphony Orchestra. Serving as principal percussionist under Jack Fryer and Bill Spry, Barrie took over the baton on 1976 – becoming the first “Salfordian” to conduct the Orchestra. At the same time he also played with other local amateur ensembles including, Gorton Phil, Bolton Chamber Orchestra, Windsor Band, Barton Hall Works Band and Bolton Borough Band – playing percussion, trumpet, cornet and flugel-horn. Whilst at college Barrie developed a great love of G & S performing in a number and directing even more. Moving to work in Bolton in 1984 Barrie guest conducted the Bolton Youth Orchestra and joined Harmonie ’84 (then reigning BASBWE National Champions) as principal percussionist.
Having relinquished the post of Musical Director of SSO to pursue more performing, Barrie continued to play with the Orchestra until it ceased to function in 1987.
A chance conversation with Christine Clarkson saw her and Barrie reform SSO along with a “hard core” of about ten players. Since then Barrie has brought the orchestra to the standard it was at when performing at its best. Sell out performances at the Lowry Centre and challenging programmes are an indication of the standard the orchestra has reached under his direction.