An excellent orchestra-builder and supporter of British music, Godfrey played over 840 performances of British works and, in 1927, became one of the first major conductors to organize a concert of music entirely by British women composers. Collaborations included Holst and Vaughan Williams, with appearances on the podium by Elgar, Sibelius and Stravinsky.
The outbreak of World War II had a large impact on the Orchestra, reducing it to just 24 musicians. It regained its reputation as a champion of British music under Rudolf Schwartz and Charles Groves in the post-war era and was renamed the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in 1954. Conductors have included Constantine Silvestri, Paavo Berglund and Yakov Kreizberg.
The Orchestra has frequently toured and made numerous recordings on EMI and Naxos. Their recording of Belshazzar's Feast, led by Andrew Litton with soloist Bryn Terfel, won a 1997 Grammy Award. In 2002 the Orchestra appointed Marin Alsop as Principal Conductor, making her the first female Principal Conductor of a British Orchestra. Current Principal Conductor, Kirill Karabits, was appointed in 2009.