Wednesday 22 May 2013, 11:36
BBC Symphony Orchestra general manager Paul Hughes looks back at the 2012-2013 season and looks ahead over the summer and autumn plans.
Wednesday 22 May 2013, 11:36
It’s hard to believe it’s the end of another season already and the fourteenth I’ve planned - tempus fugit indeed! Next Saturday’s thrilling blend of music by Rihm, Mahler and Shostakovich mirrors that of the season opening when Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Alice Coote set us off on what has been a season of many musical riches.
The cycle of symphonies by Tippett has been a revelation for many; technically demanding but of such distinctive musical directness, they are works that must find their way into the mainstream. They sound like nothing else and Tippett’s musical language feels as contemporary and fresh now as when the first symphony was written almost 70 years ago.
Other new departures for the season included the opportunity to enjoy the brilliance of Stephen Hough’s artistry across three Barbican concerts in our first ever ‘Artist in Focus’; Total Immersions explored the new music of Japan and Finland and Denmark rather than just a single composer, and collaborations with acting students from Guildhall School and opera students from the Royal Academy of Music showcased the staggering accomplishments of the work of these conservatoires – enthusiastic, lively...
Tuesday 21 May 2013, 15:39
BBC Symphony Orchestra learning co-ordinator Lauren Creed explains the background to tomorrow’s Schools Concert at St Paul’s Church, Hammersmith
Our overall learning programme mixes public-facing events such as BBC SO Plus Family, which includes pre-concert workshops and reduced-priced tickets aimed at introducing families to classical music; then there are more participatory events such as ‘Come and Play’, where amateur players can come and perform repertoire pieces with members of the orchestra, and creative projects based around BBC SO Total Immersion days.
Somewhere in between lie projects such as tomorrow’s Schools Concert. At conductor Timothy Redmond’s suggestion the concert is based around the theme of ‘Flight’, and the pupils, teachers and parents who will be attending will have the opportunity to listen to John Williams’s ‘Flying Theme’ from the film ET, Jonathan Dove’s 'Airport Scenes' from his opera Flight, and extracts from Sibelius’ 5th Symphony.
You can watch part of the Schools Concert rehearsal at Maida Vale studios:
But at the heart of the concert is...
Monday 20 May 2013, 15:08
If there is such a thing as nobility in the jazz world, the two surnames that dominate this week's programme are undoubtedly of royal lineage. Our main performance comes from a man whose father is noted as the most revered and revolutionary saxophonist to mark music history – a tough shadow to follow – but as Ravi Coltrane, son of John and Alice, proved with his quintet at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, he's a player who's making giant steps of his own.Ravi Coltrane (c) Tim Dickeson
Coltrane released Spirit Fiction last year – an album that marked his debut as a leader on Blue Note – and it feels in many ways like a 'coming-of-age' for the saxophonist. Displaying a mastery of his instrument and a wonderful sense of understated lyricism, Coltrane has a distinct approach that is truly engrossing without ever getting flashy; and in trumpeter Ralph Alessi he has found a true musical ally – just listen to their instinctive conversational improvisation in the set-opener, Klepto. That said, and having awarded patient listening for the best part of their gig, the quintet let fly at the end in an exhilarating rendition of Thelonious Monk’s Skippy, a raucous swinging affair which...
Friday 17 May 2013, 19:09
Friday 17 May 2013, 18:32
Friday 17 May 2013, 17:42
Tom Service, presenter of Music Matters, travelled to Zurich, where Richard Wagner the revolutionary lived in exile for nine years. Here's his account of the visit:
There’s no more successful myth-maker in music history than Richard Wagner. But travelling to Switzerland - to Zurich and Lucerne - for Music Matters revealed to me – and hopefully to you – the man behind the music and before the myths of his later years: Wagnerian legacies like his pink silk bloomers and velvet-clad composing costume, the Bayreuth theatre consecrated solely for the performance of Wagner’s music in 1876...
Friday 17 May 2013, 11:25
Tonight at London's Barbican Hall, and live on BBC Radio 3, the BBC Symphony Orchestra will perform the world premiere of Jonathan Lloyd's new balls (a Royal Philharmonic Society Elgar Bursary Commission), Brahms's Piano Concerto No.2 - one of the great pinnacles of the classical repertory - and Michael Tippett's Symphony No.1.
We asked tonight's concerto soloist, Stephen Hough, to introduce the Concerto.
And our regular blogger, the Orchestra's sub-principal viola Phil Hall, first encountered the music of...
Monday 13 May 2013, 16:39
BBC Symphony Orchestra chief producer Ann McKay looks forward to tomorrow’s awayday at the Brighton Festival. James Gaffigan conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra, in Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s Symphony No.2, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Brahms’s Symphony No.4
We’re honoured to be invited to take part in the Brighton Festival this year – it’s a brilliant, innovative festival and the Dome is a great venue to perform in. It isn’t the largest space, and so to ensure that everyone is comfortable on stage, we’re reducing our platform presence by one desk of strings - this makes...
Friday 10 May 2013, 16:09
The Cheltenham Jazz Festival is an event for me that always seems to mark the beginning of summer, and this year certainly fell nothing short of radiant, both musically and meteorologically. Fittingly, our featured performance this week comes from the aptly titled Sun Rooms Trio, led by US vibes player Jason Adasiewicz – a band that mesmerised festival goers on the closing night, with mirages of shimmering harmonies and a sheer physicality that at times, bordered on creative destruction.Jason Adasiewicz’s Sun Rooms Trio, (c) Tim Dickeson
As a former drummer, the Chicagoan is known for...
Wednesday 8 May 2013, 17:29
We've just started preparing for Friday's concert at the Barbican, part of the Barbican’s gloriously-titled weekend A Scream and An Outrage curated by that dynamic bundle of creative energy, the American composer Nico Muhly. It's an ideal opportunity for the BBC Singers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra to work together and the musicians of both groups love such projects. Recent collaborations have included John Adams's iconic opera Nixon in China in London and Berlin, and Donizetti’s rarely-performed opera Belisario at the Barbican - now that I manage both ensembles there will be more such collaborations...