BBC Symphony Orchestra
Günter Wand Conducting Chair
Sir Andrew Davis
Artist in Association
The BBC Symphony Orchestra has played a central role at the heart of British musical life since it was founded in 1930. It provides the backbone of the BBC Proms, performing around a dozen concerts in the festival each year. Highlights of the 2016 Proms season include performances of Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, Janáček’s opera The Makropolus Case plus the First and Last Nights, both conducted by BBC SO Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo.
The BBC SO has a strong commitment to 20th-century and contemporary music, with recent performances including commissions and premieres from Richard Ayres, Brett Dean, Unsuk Chin, Andrew Norman, George Benjamin and Anna Clyne.
It performs an annual season of concerts at the Barbican, where it is Associate Orchestra. The 2016-17 season includes six concert conducted by Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo including Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben and Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony, Tchaikovsky Project which turns the spotlight onto Tchaikovsky across four concerts, three of them conducted by Semyon Bychkov, Total Immersion Days celebrating the lives and music of Richard Rodney Bennett, Philip Glass and every surviving note of Edgard Varèse, two performances with celebrated baritone Gerald Finley including John Adams’s opera Doctor Atomic conducted by the composer, and an evening with one of America’s most devastatingly funny men the writer David Sedaris.
The BBC Symphony Orchestra also works regularly with Semyon Bychkov, who holds the Günter Wand Conducting Chair, and Conductors Laureate Sir Andrew Davis and Jiří Bělohlávek. Brett Dean is the orchestra’s Artist in Association.
The BBC Symphony Orchestra regularly performs with the BBC Symphony Chorus and together they won the 2015 Gramophone Best Choral Disc award for their recording of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius.
Central to the orchestra’s life are studio recordings for BBC Radio 3 at its Maida Vale home, some of which are free for the public to attend and the BBC SO also performs throughout the world. The vast majority of concerts are broadcast on BBC Radio 3, streamed online and available for 30 days after broadcast via BBC iPlayer.
The BBC SO is committed to innovative education work and ongoing projects include the BBC’s Ten Pieces, BBC SO Journey through Music scheme, which introduces families to classical music with pre-concert workshops and discounted tickets, and the BBC SO Family Orchestra and Chorus.