Press Office

Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

Press Release

BBC National Orchestra of Wales announces new Principal Conductor

BBC National Orchestra of Wales has announced Thomas Søndergård as their new Principal Conductor today (12 July). The young Danish conductor will take up the role from September 2012.

Søndergård is Principal Conductor Designate for Wales's national orchestra until he starts his four-year term in the 2012/13 concert season. The Dane takes over from Thierry Fischer from Switzerland who leads his last season as Principal Conductor from September.

Thomas Søndergård is one of the finest Scandinavian conductors to have emerged in recent years. He is currently Principal Conductor and Musical Adviser of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra.

Søndergård made his debut with BBC National Orchestra of Wales in the 2009/10 season to critical acclaim and has received excellent reviews for his concerts with the Orchestra.

"Forget Scandinavian cool, Søndergård is hot-blooded ... His dynamic approach was very much to the liking of the BBC NOW players, who willingly turned up the heat in response," commented Rian Evans in The Guardian, 4 December 2009.

Audiences will have the chance of previewing the combination of Principal Conductor Designate with BBC National Orchestra of Wales at BBC Hoddinott Hall when they perform a concert on the evening of 12 July. Søndergård will also open the 2011/12 Cardiff season with the Orchestra this September at St David's Hall. The young maestro will be joined by one of the world's leading cellists Steven Isserlis for a programme of Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Messiaen and Debussy.

Søndergård has received high praise from national and international critics who have described his performances and recordings as: "with a piercing intelligence and intense passion"; "scrupulously attentive"; "has a rare ability"; "a sensation"; and "with a supreme skill."

David Murray BBC National Orchestra of Wales Director said: "It is a great pleasure to welcome Thomas Søndergård on behalf of the Orchestra as our Principal Conductor Designate. Thomas will take up his position in September 2012 and we've already sat down together to plan a series of exciting concerts for Thomas's first season. As a Dane, music from the Nordic countries has a special significance for Thomas, but his repertoire is very wide and this will translate into an enticing musical diet for our audiences. In the short time we have worked together, Thomas has won over the Orchestra with his natural musicianship, dynamic drive and deep commitment. It's a partnership that promises much for the future and I look forward to terrific music-making ahead!"

Keith Jones, Director of BBC Cymru Wales said: "BBC Cymru Wales is very proud that a conductor of Thomas Søndergård's calibre joins the internationally renowned BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Combining the excellence of Wales's only professional symphony orchestra with the brilliance of Thomas Søndergård marks an exciting new creative collaboration for audiences to enjoy."

Thomas Søndergård himself looks forward to joining Wales's national Orchestra and said: "In the course of a season, I quite frequently meet new orchestras and I always wonder how my approach to the music will fit in with their instincts and style. My debut with BBC NOW in December 2009 was an amazing moment for me and I retain a vivid memory of the players' involvement and sheer enthusiasm from the very first note. It is encounters with such musicians, eager to join me in finding a common path to the heart of the music, which remind me why I love to make music. From the outset, I felt a close rapport with this dedicated ensemble and am immensely honoured to have been invited to become its next musical leader. It is therefore with the greatest pleasure that I look forward to taking up my appointment as Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales next year."

Tickets for the concert at BBC Hoddinott Hall on 12 July and 16 September performance at St David's Hall are available from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales Audience Line on 0800 052 1812.


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