A young lion has taken to the stage. His name is Damian Penfold. A charismatic conductor, he took Kidderminster Town Hall by storm on Saturday night with the Wyre Forest Symphony Orchestra in performances of Bizet, Canteloube and Tchaikovsky. .…What was immediately apparent was that this was a changed orchestra. The woodwind were articulate, warm and shaped their phrases thoughtful, the strings had a new depth and assurance and brass and percussion were incisive and bold….The revelation of the evening was Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony… I don't think the orchestra has ever played like this. From the first note it was raw, thrilling, cohesive and despairing. The momentum was relentless throughout the first movement…. This was deeply penetrating playing and this is undoubtedly an orchestra and conductor to watch.


Kiddderminster Gazette xii/01




What the packed Town Hall witnessed on Saturday was an orchestra producing some very remarkable individual and ensemble playing under a conductor capable of drawing every ounce of reserve from the forces at his disposal.

Kidderminster Gazette iii/02



Travel arrangements prevented Lady Walton's presence at Saturday's enterprising concert [including Walton's Cello Concerto] from the splendidly motivated Wyre Forest Symphony Orchestra…. The WFSO rose to the occasion with super-human commitment, with particularly musical shaping from the hard working strings.

Birmingham Post viii.02



That an amateur orchestra should take on this mercurial concerto [Walton's Cello] is a remarkable tribute to Penfold who showed that much of the promise inherent in recent performances is now blossoming into a truly symphonic sound…The concluding "New World Symphony" was highly charged and tightly wrought…the orchestral sound as a whole achieved new levels of breadth and sonority…the finale vindicated all that has been said about the progress of the WFSO. Confident and thoughtful in melodic shape, Penfold stamped this movement with a clarity of design and purpose that was impressively executed by this ascendant orchestra.

Rock and District News viii.02



Of 1st Round in Sibelius Competition:
…he had good ideas and made the orchestra implement them quickly…to make the sound in the Beethoven clear in nuance and line…If [he] could have continued with the rehearsal the result would have been the best Beethoven…

Helsingin Sanomat, ix.05