About the Orchestra
The BBC Concert Orchestra is one of the UK’s most versatile ensembles. Since 1952 it has been the house orchestra for BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night. It gives frequent broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, including regular performances at the BBC Proms, and has performed on such recent BBC soundtracks as Africa and The Paradise.
Keith Lockhart is the BBC CO’s Principal Conductor, Barry Wordsworth is the orchestra’s Conductor Laureate, and arranger and jazz trumpeter Guy Barker is currently Associate Composer, a position previously held by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and the Art of Noise’s Anne Dudley.
Throughout 2013, as an Artistic Partner Orchestra for the Southbank Centre’s ‘The Rest Is Noise’ series, the BBC CO performed a sequence of eight concerts, encompassing music from the First World War to Britain in the 1980s. Other highlights from 2013 include a USA and China Tour, Frank Zappa’s large-scale 200 Motels at the Southbank Centre and a concert at the Barbican with Wayne Shorter to celebrate the saxophonist’s 80th birthday.
This year sees the orchestra maintain its busy and varied concert, broadcast and recording schedule. It visits Watford Colosseum for a Commonwealth Day celebration and a concert commemorating prisoners of war as part of the BBC’s World War One centenary. It also returns to the Southbank Centre for a series of concerts exploring pre- and post-war America as well as giving the UK premiere of Terry Riley’s organ concerto.
The BBC CO continues to work with schools, colleges and a wide range of community groups, and has teamed up with the Alzheimer’s Society to be part of its ‘Singing for the Brain’ project.
Guy Barker has been nominated twice for the Mercury Prize for albums Into The Blue and Soundtrack, and arranged music for Anthony Minghella’s film The Talented Mister Ripley, in which he also duetted with actor Matt Damon.
He has appeared on records by Sting and performed with an array of acclaimed musicians, including Sammy Davis Jnr, Gil Evans, Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra, Clark Terry and Stan Tracey.
Barker’s first work as Associate Composer was premiered by the orchestra at the Aldeburgh Festival on 12 June 2013, and took its inspiration from Benjamin Britten in his centenary year. Combining the full forces of the BBC Concert Orchestra with a 15-piece jazz ensemble, male vocalist and actress, That Obscure Hurt was a co-commission by BBC Radio 3 and Aldeburgh Music, and its world premiere was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
Get in Touch
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