Wales

The 2013/2014 season has landed!

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The 2012/2013 season was an incredibly successful one for us here at the BBC National Orchestra of Wales HQ.

Our new principal conductor, Thomas Søndergård, has been introduced to great acclaim to our audiences around Wales, and enjoyed a very well received Proms debut, in particular for his reading of Shostakovich's Symphony No 11.

This was, incidentally, my Proms highlight of 2013 - it was a very moving, powerful performance (which my father has recorded and watched several times already).

And now, after our summer annual leave, we are back in the studio, looking forward to the new season with great expectation.

This is a year of anniversaries for us. Firstly, our remarkable chorus is 30 years old this season (and they don't look a day over 21)!

Under the leadership of chorus director Adrian Partington, assistant director Steven Kings, and vocal coach Miriam Bowen, our chorus is in demand both nationally and internationally. All of this is tirelessly managed by their unflappable chorus manager Osian Rowlands.

This season you can hear them with us in Poulenc's magnificent Gloria, Dvořák's little heard Mass in D, and Fauré's perennial favourite, his beautiful Requiem, to name but a few concerts.

This season also marks the fifth anniversary of our move from the dark confines of Broadcasting House Studio 1 to BBC Hoddinott Hall, our lovely home in Cardiff Bay. We will be marking this event with a celebration on 21 January 2014, with Welsh conductor Grant Llewellyn, Cardiff born soprano Rosemary Joshua, and our chorus.

Over our summer break, lovely pictures of the orchestra, chronicling its history in both studios, have been hung on the walls backstage at Hoddinott. All I can say is that there was a lot of dodgy facial hair in the viola section in the 80s and 90s.

Just in case you were not already aware of it (in which case, where have you been?), this year is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, a show that the orchestra has been heavily involved in since its return to our screens in the early 2000s.

We are currently gearing up for the recording, not just of the 50th anniversary music, but also for the new Doctor's first appearance. I am very excited about this - I really can't wait to see Peter Capaldi in action!

This is also a season of goodbyes, as we (for a short time) say cheerio to the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. The Brangwyn has been our home away from home for many years, and indeed, prior to the opening of BBC Hoddinott Hall five years ago, almost all of the orchestra's commercial recording work was done in the Brangwyn.

However, it is in urgent need of a little TLC, and so for our 2014 season, we are temporarily moving to the Grand Theatre. We are looking forward to bringing a brilliant season to our dedicated, very supportive Swansea audience, the details of which will be released next month. We'll be moving back to the Brangwyn Hall after its refurbishment, just in time for the 2014 Swansea Festival of Music!

There are so many other things to tell you - our Americana season, our other recording work, the new BBC New Generation Artists, our North Wales Tours, but I'm already over my word limit. Over the summer break I have not learnt to be less verbose! So, here's to a new season - we sincerely look forward to experiencing more wonderful music making with you.

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales' season in Cardiff starts with America at the Movies, on Wednesday 18 September, 7.30pm, at St David's Hall. For tickets call 0800 052 1812.

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