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About the Orchestra

Find out all about BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Fact title Fact data
BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff
Principal Conductor
Ryan Bancroft
Conductor Laureate
Tadaaki Otaka CBE
Gavin Higgins
Composer Affiliate
Sarah Lianne Lewis
Lesley Hatfield
Lisa Tregale
Patron: HRH The Prince of Wales KG KT PC GCB

Founded in 1928, BBC National Orchestra of Wales is the BBC’s longest performing orchestra. Over 90 years, it has established itself on the international stage, in the recording studio, and is an integral part of the cultural landscape in Wales.

The orchestra reaches audiences live in the concert hall, on BBC radio and TV, and more recently through live streamed concerts. Part of BBC Wales and supported by the Arts Council of Wales, the Orchestra is an ambassador of Welsh music, championing contemporary composers and musicians and works closely with Welsh Composer-in-Association Huw Watkins. Recent premiere performances have included music by Sir Karl Jenkins and Paul Mealor. Alongside its busy schedule of concerts around Wales, BBC NOW performs annually at the BBC Proms in London and bi-annually at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. It also works closely with its resident chorus BBC National Chorus of Wales.

BBC NOW has a busy and innovative learning programme. Building on its ground-breaking work with special educational needs schools and Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing adults and children, BBC NOW performed the first ever Relaxed Prom in 2017, which won the 2018 Fantastic for Families Award for Best Family Event. Recent projects have included, Composition: Wales, a scheme to develop composers and workshop new orchestral music, and Listening to Language, a tri-lingual project which explored how music can aid language learning.

In December 2018, BBC NOW toured to four cities in China with conductor Xian Zhang, working with the British Council in China as part of their Inspiring Women in the Arts campaign. In 2015, as part of an extensive tour in South America, the orchestra visited the Welsh colony in Patagonia, where musicians worked in schools and with the community celebrating 150 years of the Welsh settlers in this region.

The Orchestra’s home is BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff, Wales – one of the largest purpose-built recording studios in the world - where BBC NOW continues its award winning soundtrack work for programmes including His Dark Materials (BBC One) and David Attenborough’s Life Story (BBC One). Television performances include Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience: Classical Musician (BBC One), The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra presented by Katie Derham (BBC Four), and Tunes for Tyrants presented by Suzy Klein (BBC Four).

Read the highlights for the 2019-20 season here.

BBC Hoddinott Hall

The Orchestra's relationship with Alun Hoddinott is enshrined within what has been the most important development for the Orchestra during the current decade: the move into BBC Hoddinott Hall in January 2009, situated in Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.

Probably one of the most sophisticated orchestral rehearsal and studio provisions in Britain, the hall is primarily a rehearsal and recording studio, but also provides the opportunity to give concerts to audiences of around 350.

The Hall also includes sophisticated facilities for outreach work. The Grace Williams Studio, which can hold up to 60 people, hosts workshops and rehearsals acting as a centre for the Orchestra and Chorus's acclaimed outreach work.

Joining the Orchestra

Positions within the Orchestra are extremely competitive and are subject to auditions and a trial period. Orchestral vacancies are advertised on Musical Chairs. Successful applicants will be asked to attend an audition. Management vacancies are advertised on the BBC Careers Hub website.

For further information about auditions and trials please email

Get in touch

  • Tel: 0800 052 1812
  • Fax: 0292 055 9721
  • Email: