Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
The BBC Symphony Orchestra has been central to British musical life for eight decades. It provides the backbone of the BBC Proms, performing around a dozen concerts every year, the First and Last Nights among them, and performs concerts around the world. Innovative programming, distinctive repertoire and the spirit of musical adventure define its annual concert seasons as Associate Orchestra of the Barbican. The orchestra's commitment to contemporary music is reflected in its long record of world and UK premieres.
In recent seasons it has given first performances of BBC commissions by such leading international composers as John Adams, Elliott Carter, Vic Hoyland, Matthias Pintscher, Karlheinz Stockhausen and JudithWeir. Oliver Knussen is Artist in Association. All the orchestra's concerts are broadcast on Radio 3, streamed live online and made available for seven days on BBC iPlayer, while a number are televised to give the BBC Symphony Orchestra the highest broadcast profile of any UK orchestra.
Studio recordings for Radio 3 at its Maida Vale home are central to the orchestra's life – in addition, the BBC SO frequently records for commercial labels. Recent international performances include concerts in China, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, with tours to Germany and Spain planned for 2011. The BBC Symphony Orchestra shares its Maida Vale home and management with the BBC Symphony Chorus, one of the UK's finest and most distinctive amateur choirs, and frequently performs with it.
Jiří Bělohlávek (b. 1946, Czech Republic) became chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2006. Renowned for his championship of Czech music, his strength in core romantic repertoire, contemporary music and opera, recent highlights of his work with the BBC Symphony Orchestra include Martinů's opera Juliette, the complete Martinů symphonies and Mahler's Eighth Symphony for the First Night of Proms 2010. Founder of the Prague Philharmonia, he is president of the Prague Spring Festival and is in regular demand by opera houses and orchestras around the world, including recently Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, NewYork.
Sir Andrew Davis
Sir Andrew Davis (b.1944, UK) became the BBC Symphony Orchestra's first conductor laureate in 2000, following his distinguished tenure as the orchestra's chief conductor (1989-2000). Knighted in 1999 for his services to music, he is known for the depth of his musicianship, the breadth of his repertoire and the passionate enthusiasm with which he engages performers and audiences alike.
Sir Andrew is music director and principal conductor of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He made his debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in November 1970 and remains a central figure among its family of musicians.
Principal Guest Conductor
David Robertson (b. 1958, USA) was appointed principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2005. Recent performances with the Orchestra have ranged from Stockhausen's Inori to Mozart's Requiem and the Last Night of the Proms in 2009. He was music director of Ensemble Intercontemporain, Paris (1990-2000), then music director of the Orchestre National de Lyon.
In addition to his post with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, he is currently music director of Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.
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