BBC Philharmonic radio festival returns

Simon Robertshaw Violinist Simon Robertshaw enjoying last year's Radio 1 concert

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The BBC Philharmonic Presents festival will return this autumn after last year's inaugural line-up drew 11 million views and listens.

It will feature all major BBC stations broadcasting live concerts from the orchestra, recently heard on the BBC's Olympic theme First Steps.

Mercury-winning band The xx, whose single Intro sound-tracked the BBC's general election trail in 2010, will collaborate with the orchestra on a specially-commissioned symphony for Radio 1.

In the 50th anniversary year of the James Bond films, the BBC Philharmonic will also perform 007 specials for Radio 2 and 5 live's film review.

Other collaborations include:

  • Radio 2 concert with as-yet unrevealed pop act
  • Tribute to the late jazz musician Miles Davis on Radio 3
  • Radio 4 special weaving music and conversations from The Listening Project
  • Performance with singer-songwriter Richard Hawley on 6 Music
  • Asian Network concert featuring the music of late Pakistani singer Noor Jehan.
Touring the North
Richard Hawley Richard Hawley rehearses with BBC Philharmonic

Unlike last year, when BBC Philharmonic Presents was held at the orchestra's Salford studio, events will happen across northern England, and not just in the cities.

Blackpool will host the Radio 3 concert - some consolation after Strictly Come Dancing's decision to not broadcast this year's final from the seaside resort.

General manager Richard Wigley told Ariel: "The vision for this Salford site was to not just be anchored here, but to reflect the entire north so we're trying to spread what we're doing.

"I wanted to go to places that might not have big events, like Bridlington and Bradford [for the Asian Network concert], which has a large Pakistani population."

Concert schedule

He says the success of last year's festival, especially with people who don't attend classical concerts, meant there was "good pressure from everyone not to lose the momentum".

"It's just so straightforward, you walk into Radio 2 and Jeff Smith [head of music] has a list of about 10 groups we could potentially work with."

Wigley's ambition is another festival with a guest curator next year but DQF plans mean the orchestra, along with the BBC's five other performing groups, face budget savings of up to 10%.

Partly funded by Salford Council, the orchestra will allocate 30% of the MediaCityUK concert tickets to Salford residents.

Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode BBC Philharmonic will perform James Bond soundtracks for Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode's film review

Free tickets will be available to the public for the eight-concert series:

8 September: Radio 6 Music - Richard Hawley, Sheffield

14 September: Radio 5 live, Kermode & Mayo's Film Review - A James Bond Special, Salford MediaCityUK (MCUK)

14 September: Radio 2 - Friday Night is Music Night: Bond and Beyond, Salford MediaCityUK

19 September: Radio 1 - The xx Symphony, Bridlington

17 October: Radio 3 - Miles Symphonic - The music of Miles Davis, Blackpool

12 November: Asian Network - The music of Noor Jehan, Bradford

6 December: BBC Radio 2 - In Concert, Salford MediaCityUK

14 December: Radio 4 - The Listening Project, Salford MediaCityUK

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