Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo to remain at helm of BBC Symphony Orchestra until 2020

Date: 25.09.2015     Last updated: 25.09.2015 at 12.50
The BBC Symphony Orchestra is delighted to announce that Sakari Oramo will extend his contract as Chief Conductor for another four years, building on their acclaimed partnership through to 2020.

Since beginning his role at the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the First Night of the Proms in 2013, Oramo has led the orchestra through highlights including a critically-lauded Nielsen symphony cycle (October 2014 – May 2015), a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (September 2015) and the world premiere of Colin Matthews’ BBC commission ‘Traces Remain’ (January 2014).

Following three recent BBC Proms performances, including his second First Night of the Proms and two concerts marking the 150th anniversary of Sibelius, Oramo launched the BBC SO’s 2015-16 Barbican season last night (Thursday 24 September) with a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 in D minor. A champion of British music, further highlights of the season will see Oramo conduct the orchestra in Elgar’s first and second symphonies (13 April 2016 and 15 January 2016) and Strauss’s Alpine Symphony (11 December 2015).

Sakari Oramo, Chief Conductor, BBC Symphony Orchestra, said: ‘I feel a strong and positive response from the Orchestra and Chorus to all my musical ideas and sometimes most exacting demands. I am delighted to be extending my contract.’

Paul Hughes, General Manager, BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers, said: ‘The partnership between the BBC SO and Sakari Oramo has proved to be an extraordinary, vibrant and thrilling one and the music we make together has caught the attention of the music world. It is every orchestra’s dream to enjoy such a relationship and it gives me enormous personal and professional pleasure to continue to work with Sakari through to 2020, and beyond. We look forward to exciting times ahead.’

The BBC Symphony Orchestra has played a central role at the heart of British musical life since it was founded in 1930. It provides the backbone of the BBC Proms, performing around a dozen concerts in the festival each year. The BBC SO has a strong commitment to 20th-century and contemporary music, with recent performances including commissions and premieres from Unsuk Chin, Brett Dean, Wolfgang Rihm, Christopher Rouse, Albert Schnelzer and Ryan Wigglesworth.

It performs an annual season of concerts at the Barbican, where it is Associate Orchestra. Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo leads the orchestra in six concerts in the 2015-16 season, which also features Total Immersion days devoted to the music of Henri Dutillux, Henryk Górecki and Louis Andriessen, and rarely-performed operas by Leoncavallo and Bellini.

The BBC Symphony Orchestra also works regularly with Semyon Bychkov, who holds the Günter Wand Conducting Chair, and Conductors Laureate Sir Andrew Davis and Jiří Bělohlávek. Brett Dean is the orchestra’s Artist in Association.

Central to the orchestra’s life are studio recordings for BBC Radio 3 at its Maida Vale home, some of which are free for the public to attend and the BBC SO also performs throughout the world. The vast majority of concerts are broadcast on BBC Radio 3, streamed online and available to download for 30 days after broadcast via BBC iPlayer.

The BBC SO is committed to innovative education work and ongoing projects include the BBC’s Ten Pieces, BBC SO Plus Family scheme, which introduces families to classical music with pre-concert workshops and discounted tickets, and the BBC SO Family Orchestra and Chorus.