Tickets to the world premiere of a symphony have been refunded after it was snubbed by the conductor.

Music lovers came down from as far as Yorkshire to hear A Very British Symphony, by the Queen's choirmaster Andrew Gant, in Brighton last week.

As the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra concert was about to begin conductor Barry Wordsworth announced Gant's work had been dropped and would be replaced by a Mendelssohn piece. He told the audience he "did not believe in it" and later added it was a matter of artistic integrity.

Those who had taken the weekend to come and hear the new piece of music were angry at the late notice for the withdrawal.

After complaining to orchestra manager Ivan Rockey a party of 20, who had made the trip especially for the premiere, received their money back. Mr Rockey said he had also refunded others who said they had come especially to hear Gant's new work.

He said: "We have not refunded everyone because there was a large proportion of the audience who rather liked the change of programme."

Lynn Riley, who came from Chadstone in Monmouthshire and had to stay overnight in a hotel, said: "Refunding the tickets is the least they can do.

"It was professional incompetence on the part of the conductor. He had had the music since November and should have known what the music was going to sound like and he waited until just before the performance to say something which caused a lot of people a lot of expense.

"If he was right that the music was rubbish he should have said so earlier.

"And if he is wrong he has castigated a first-class composer and his music."