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BBC Symphony Orchestra 2018/19 season at the Barbican

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Opening the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s 2018/19 season, conductor Ben Gernon and Professor Brian Cox join the orchestra to present Holst’s The Planets, 100 years to the day since the piece was first performed.

The BBC SO’s Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo leads the orchestra in performances of landmark works, including Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 and Dvorák’s Symphony No.7. A number of key centenaries are marked, including the end of the First World War, the 100th anniversary of Polish Independence and the 100th anniversary of the death of Debussy.

The BBC Symphony Chorus celebrates its 90th birthday with performances including Ethel Smyth’s rarely performed Mass in D, Bach’s Mass in  B minor, Osavlado Golijov’s Oceana, Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ and works by Lili and Nadia Boulanger.

The BBC SO’s acclaimed Total Immersion days return; the first exploring the centenary of WW1 including a performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera The Silver Tassie – based on a play about the First World War written by Seán O’Casey and David Lang’s Memorial Ground – performed in the Barbican foyers with members of the BBC Symphony Chorus and community choirs.

Two further Total Immersion days focus on the music of György Ligeti (2 Mar) and the Boulanger sisters (6 Apr).

The BBC SO’s commitment to new music and rarely-performed works continues with performances of works by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Thomas Larcher and Michael Tippett among others, while Stravinsky’s recently discovered Funeral Song, Op. 5 is performed following its world premiere earlier this year. The orchestra will also give the UK premiere of Alain Altinoglu’s arrangement of a suite from Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, conducted by BBC SO Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis.

BBC SO Günter Wand Conducting Chair Semyon Bychkov returns, and there are debuts from some of the most exciting young conductors and instrumentalists performing today, including conductors Karina Canellakis, Cristian Macelaru, Joana Carneiro, pianist Pavel Kolesnikov and violinist Lisa Batiashvili.

Former Principal Guest Conductor David Robertson conducts Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1, and three Principal members of the orchestra step forward as instrumental soloists, including the world premiere of Gavin Higgins’ Trombone Concerto performed by BBC SO Principal Trombonist Helen Vollam. Shostakovich Symphonies 1, 4, 5, 9 and 11 all feature during the season.

The BBC Singers return to Milton Court for a series of four concerts, two of which will be led by their new Chief Conductor Sofi Jeannin. They also host three early evening concerts complementing the BBC SO’s programme that follows, as well as appearing with the BBC SO in the Barbican Hall and at Total Immersion days.

For more information , visit the Barbican website here

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