Rhinegold Photo credit: Jarmo Katila
Principal guest conductor Dalia Stasevska

Lucy Thraves


BBC Symphony Orchestra celebrates 90 years

1:44, 12th October 2020

This October, the BBC Symphony Orchestra marks its 90th anniversary. 

The orchestra was founded in 1930 by Adrian Boult, and has since been a staple of BBC broadcasting, playing a central role in the BBC Proms and presenting an annual season of concerts at the Barbican Centre.

On the anniversary itself (22 October), the orchestra will celebrate with an afternoon on BBC Radio 3. In a live concert from Maida Vale Studios led by principal guest conductor Dalia Stasevska and featuring baritone Roderick Williams, BBC Symphony Orchestra at 90: Dalia’s Mixtape is a programme of time travel through Finnish and British music inspired by the BBC SO’s first international tour to Sweden, Norway and Finland in 1956.

Sakari Oramo, chief conductor, says: ‘Very often in these strange times my thoughts go back to a miraculous few days in 2012, when all of a sudden I found the most exciting artistic partnership of my life – the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The programme featured ‘Tintagel’ by Arnold Bax, Sibelius’s Third Symphony and vocal works by Sibelius and Kaija Saariaho with my dear Anu Komsi. What a quintessentially BBC SO-like programme that was – and yet probably one that hadn’t been dreamt of before.

‘This is the very strength of the BBC SO programming concept: strong on content, always looking for purposeful combinations of masterpieces old and new, well known and, above all, less familiar. The ability of this miraculous orchestra to transform itself according to the music they play (literally any music) – and their warm-hearted supportiveness, instinctive brilliance and ability to capture the essence of what makes a great musical performance – make them unique. From our Studio Concerts and recordings, through to our Barbican concerts, performances on tour in the UK and abroad and of course at the BBC Proms, including three editions of the Last Night of the Proms, I have relished and enjoyed every single performance together. May there be many more in the future, and may the BBC SO continue to blossom as London’s, the UK’s and the world’s beacon for artistic inventiveness.’

Full details of BBC Symphony Orchestra at 90: Dalia’s Mixtape here.

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