Founded back in 1930, the BBC Symphony Orchestra (BBC SO) is now one of the most well-known British orchestras. Since its founding, the orchestra has been recognised as a major international ensemble, performing regularly around the world, and on radio broadcasts.
The orchestra is a central feature of the BBC Proms, performing around a dozen concerts in the festival each year. BBC SO is also Associate Orchestra at the Barbican, where it has given concerts conducted by Sakari Oramo, including symphonies by Mahler and Elgar.
The BBC SO has a particular commitment to 20th-century and contemporary music, having premiered music by composers including Unsuk Chin, Brett Dean, Wolfgang Rihm, Christopher Rouse, Albert Schnelzer and Ryan Wigglesworth. BBC SO also runs a series of ‘Total Immersion’ days, devoted to the music of 20th century and contemporary composers. Recent performances include work by Henri Dutilleux, Henryk Górecki and Louis Andriessen.
Regular recordings are a major part of the orchestra’s activities, most frequently for BBC Radio 3 at its Maida Vale home. The vast majority of concerts are broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and streamed online.
The BBC SO is also committed to innovative education work and ongoing projects include the BBC’s Ten Pieces, BBC SO Plus Family scheme.
The BBC Symphony Orchestra was London’s first permanent salaried orchestra. It is now the principal orchestra of the BBC.
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