The BBC Symphony Orchestra has played a central role at the heart of British musical life since its inception in 1930. It provides the backbone of the BBC Proms, performing around a dozen concerts each year, including the First and Last Nights. The BBC SO has a strong commitment to 20th-century and contemporary music, with recent performances including commissions and premieres from Tristan Murail,Colin Matthews, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Bright Sheng.
As Associate Orchestra of the Barbican, it performs an annual season of concerts there. Its 2014/15 Barbican season includes a series ofNielsen’s six symphonies with Sakari Oramo, Unsuk Chin’s opera Alice in Wonderland,Smetana ’s Dalibor with Jiří Bělohlávek, live accompaniment to Chaplin films, and Total Immersion days remembering John Tavener and celebrating Pierre Boulez at 90. The BBC SO works regularly with Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo, Semyon Bychkov, who holds the Günter Wand Conducting Chair, and Conductors Laureate Sir Andrew Davis and Jiří Bělohlávek.
This season the orchestra welcomes its new Artist in Association Brett Dean. 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 and streamed online. The BBC SO is committed to innovative education work and ongoing projects include the BBC SO Plus Family scheme and the BBC SO Family Orchestra and Chorus.
World-renowned clarinettist Michael Collins recorded an album of British Clarinet Concertos with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2012.
The BBC Symphony Orchestra is one of the BBC’s six performing groups (which include theBBC National Orchestra of Wales, the BBC Concert Orchestra , the BBC Singers, theBBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra)