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BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

BBC Orchestras

Last updated February 2006
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There are five BBC Orchestras and one choir. They are: The BBC Concert Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales (NOW), the BBC Philharmonic, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and the BBC Singers.


Together they deliver more than 400 live performances a year, as well as appearing on BBC radio and television and producing commercial recordings.


They form the backbone of the BBC Proms – launched by Henry Wood in 1895. The BBC Proms 2006 run from 14 July to 9 September.


The orchestras are also involved with community and outreach work. Each has their own Learning Managers who co-ordinate projects with schools and members of the local community.


The BBC Concert Orchestra was formed in 1952 from its predecessor the BBC Opera Orchestra.


In 1972, it moved into its new permanent home, The Hippodrome in Golders Green, North London, from its previous base at the Camden Theatre.


In 2004 the orchestra began a move out to West London in preparation for the BBC's new Music centre which is being built in White City.


The orchestra appears every week on Friday Night is Music Night on BBC Radio 2 and performs regularly on various BBC Radio 3 programmes.


It can also be heard on BBC television and has provided the soundtracks for programmes including The Blue Planet and Walking with Dinosaurs.


Principal Conductor – Barry Wordsworth (since 1989).


The BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales (NOW) received its present name in 1993, though an orchestra, The Cardiff Station Orchestra, had existed since 1928.


The orchestra got its first official home in 1982, when it moved into St David's Hall in Cardiff, and is now set to move to a permanent dedicated home at the new Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay.


NOW performs more than 70 concerts a year, in and out of Wales.


Its 'Resound' educational programme brings music to schools and communities throughout Wales.


Principal Conductor – Richard Hickox.


The BBC Philharmonic celebrated its 70th birthday last year.


Based in Manchester, the orchestra performs around 18 concerts a year at the magnificent Bridgewater Hall, just up the road from its base in Studio 7 at the BBC on Oxford Road.


All of the BBC Philharmonic's concerts are broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and it appears annually at the BBC Proms Festival as well as fulfilling a busy national and international touring schedule.


The orchestra makes around 16 CDs a year under its exclusive recording contract with Chandos Records.


Gianandrea Noseda became Principal Conductor in September 2002.


Earlier this year the orchestra's Beethoven Symphonic Cycle received a South Bank Show Award when the concerts made industry history, after the Radio 3 website received more than a million requests for them during a free download offer.


The orchestra has worked with some of the world's most exciting composers including James MacMillan (currently Composer/Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic), Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, as well as Berio, Copland, Penderecki, Tippett and Walton.


The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1935, is regarded as one of the Britain's finest orchestras.


Under its acclaimed Chief Conductor Ilan Volkov, it has a busy recording schedule for BBC Radio and Television, and performs in towns and cities across Scotland.


It is one of the leading supporters of new music in the UK, and is in great demand internationally.


The orchestra moved into the fully restored Glasgow City Halls in January 2006: a state of the art broadcasting and performing base, with modern facilities providing the focus for an extensive and innovative music learning programme.


The BBC Symphony Orchestra - founded by Adrian Boult in 1930 - is one of the UK's leading orchestras.


As the flagship orchestra of the BBC, it is the backbone of the BBC Proms, making at least a dozen performances a year, including the first and last nights.


It has a strong commitment to contemporary music and since its foundation has given premieres to more than 1,000 works from composers such as Britten, Stravinsky and Holst.


The orchestra is Associate Orchestra of the Barbican in London and performs an annual season of up to 25 concerts.


All concerts are broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and a number are televised – it also performs at a number of national and international festivals.


Chief Conductor Designate – Jirí Belohlávek.


The BBC Symphony Chorus is one of the finest amateur choruses in the country.


Founded in 1928 as the National Chorus, it became the BBC Chorus in 1932, the BBC Choral Society in 1935, and the BBC Symphony Chorus in 1975.


As the resident chorus at the BBC Proms, it appears regularly on the first and last nights, and the Late Night Proms.


The chorus has performed numerous studio recordings for BBC Radio 3, has toured extensively, and celebrated the Queen's Golden Jubilee with a Prom at the Palace in 2002.


The BBC Singers – Britain's only full-time professional chamber choir – was formed not long after the BBC itself, in 1924.


It has grown from a choral octet, broadcasting the daily act of worship on the Home Service, into a virtuoso, 24-voice ensemble which, these days, is a major presence on the choral scene.


The choir takes in concerts and broadcasts across the whole of the UK and has a rapidly expanding education programme which includes regular collaborations across the country with school children, youth choirs and the adult amateur choral community.


The BBC Singers entered their 80th season as a unique presence in the musical life of the UK: a world-class choral ensemble committed to sharing their enthusiasm and creative expertise with audiences and performers, amateurs and professionals, young and old, throughout the nation and across the whole spectrum of the choral community.


Chief Conductor – Stephen Cleobury.

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