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BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

The BBC Philharmonic, based in Manchester, is one of the most important orchestras in the United Kingdom, distinguishing itself through sheer visibility and through a solid commitment to contemporary British music that has included the establishment of a composer/conductor position.

The orchestra's history is rather checkered, for it has had to endure numerous crises. In 1922, prior to the official establishment of the British Broadcasting Corporation, Manchester had a radio station known as 2YZ, housed on the premises of the Metropolitan Vickers Electrical Company. Early on, a small orchestra was established for broadcasts concentrating mainly on light music, but expanding on occasion for performances of symphonic repertoire and opera. The station gained a reputation for broadcasting British music, including first radio performances of music by Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst, and William Walton. When the BBC was established, in 1927, the 2YZ orchestra was renamed the Northern Wireless Orchestra; later it became the BBC Northern Orchestra. Its existence was always precarious, but the group's size and repertoire increased. During World War II, the orchestra gave concerts in various communities around the region, bringing it a wider public. The Northern Orchestra continued to gain a strong reputation for performing and broadcasting British music, particularly works by living composers who were often invited to conduct the orchestra themselves.

In 1961, the BBC Northern Orchestra made its first appearance at the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts under the direction of George Hurst. The regional identity of the ensemble began from that point to evolve into a national and international one. After a difficult strike in 1980, the BBC made the commitment to support a full orchestra in Manchester, and, in 1982, the ensemble was given its current name. Its principal conductor at that time was Edward Downes, who was succeeded in 1991 by Yan Pascal Tortelier. In 2002 Gianandrea Noseda was named principal conductor.

The ensemble's reputation for adventurous programming has expanded to an international scope as well, as composers from various countries have come to Manchester to conduct the orchestra. In 1991, the post of composer/conductor was created, with Peter Maxwell Davies being the first appointment. Davies composed a number of works for the orchestra, including several symphonies culminating with Symphony No. 7, premiered in 2000. Along the way, he has also recorded a number of his orchestral works for CD release. Scottish composer James MacMillan was named his successor in 2001.

The people of Manchester and the north of England are rightly proud of their radio orchestra. With so much British culture and finance administered in London, there is an independent spirit driving the culture of the north. The BBC Philharmonic has not only survived, but has thrived. It has developed a character distinct from that of the larger BBC Symphony Orchestra, based in London, more populist, perhaps, but also more adventurous and, with the orchestra's large recording catalog, generous outreach programs, and international tours, more entrepreneurial.
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: An Introduction To Percy Grainger

Title: Country Gardens, Folk Song For Orchestra (various Arrangements) (BFMS 22)

1. Country Gardens, Folk Song For Orchestra (various Arrangements) (BFMS 22): Country Gardens

Title: Irish Tune From County Derry (Londonderry Air), Folk Song For 10 Strings With 2 Horns Ad Lib. (BFMS 15)

2. Irish Tune From County Derry (Londonderry Air), Folk Song For 10 Strings With 2 Horns Ad Lib. (BFMS 15): Irish Tune From Country Derry

Title: Green Bushes, Passacaglia For 22 Solo Instruments Or Orchestra (BFMS 12)

3. Green Bushes, Passacaglia For 22 Solo Instruments Or Orchestra (BFMS 12): Green Bushes

Title: Early One Morning, Folk Song For String Orchestra (edited By Peter Barry Ould; BFMS Unnumbered)

4. Early One Morning, Folk Song For String Orchestra (edited By Peter Barry Ould; BFMS Unnumbered): Early One Morning

Title: There Was A Pig Went Out To Dig, Folk Song For Female Chorus (or Solo Voices) (BFMS 18)

5. There Was A Pig Went Out To Dig, Folk Song For Female Chorus (or Solo Voices) (BFMS 18): There Was A Pig Went Out To Dig

Title: Shepherd's Hey!, Folk Song For Orchestra (BFMS 16)

6. Shepherd's Hey!, Folk Song For Orchestra (BFMS 16): Sheperd's Hey

Title: Shallow Brown, Chanty For 1 Or 2 Voices (Solo Or Chorus) & Ensemble (Scs 3)

7. Shallow Brown, Chanty For 1 Or 2 Voices (Solo Or Chorus) & Ensemble (Scs 3): Shallow Brown

Title: Lincolnshire Posy, Folk Song Suite For Wind Band (BFMS 34)

8. Lincolnshire Posy, Folk Song Suite For Wind Band (BFMS 34): I. Dublin Bay

9. Lincolnshire Posy, Folk Song Suite For Wind Band (BFMS 34): II. Harkstow Grange

10. Lincolnshire Posy, Folk Song Suite For Wind Band (BFMS 34): III. Rufford Park Poachers

11. Lincolnshire Posy, Folk Song Suite For Wind Band (BFMS 34): IV. The Brisk Young Sailor

12. Lincolnshire Posy, Folk Song Suite For Wind Band (BFMS 34): V. Lord Melourne

13. Lincolnshire Posy, Folk Song Suite For Wind Band (BFMS 34): VI. The Lost Lady Found

Title: The Immovable Do (The Ciphering C), For 9 Solo Strings Or String Orchestra Or Orchestra

14. The Immovable Do (The Ciphering C), For 9 Solo Strings Or String Orchestra Or Orchestra: The Immovable Do (The Cyphering C)

Title: Handel In The Strand, Clog Dance For Orchestra (various Orchestations; RMTB 2)

15. Handel In The Strand, Clog Dance For Orchestra (various Orchestations; RMTB 2): Handel In The Strand

Title: I'm Seventeen Come Sunday, Folk Song For Chorus, Percussion & Strings (Bfms 8)

16. I'm Seventeen Come Sunday, Folk Song For Chorus, Percussion & Strings (Bfms 8): I'm Seventeen Come Sunday

Title: Blithe Bells (Ramble On Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze"), For Theater, Small Or Massed Orchestra (elastic Scoring)

17. Blithe Bells (Ramble On Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze"), For Theater, Small Or Massed Orchestra (elastic Scoring): On A Theme By J. S. Bach

Title: Molly On The Shore, Folk Song For Orchestra (or Theater Orchestra) (BFMS 1)

18. Molly On The Shore, Folk Song For Orchestra (or Theater Orchestra) (BFMS 1): Molly On The Shore

Title: Mock Morris, For Orchestra (elastic Scoring) (RMTB 1)

19. Mock Morris, For Orchestra (elastic Scoring) (RMTB 1): Mock Morris

Title: English Dance, For Theater Orchestra (elastic Scoring)

20. English Dance, For Theater Orchestra (elastic Scoring): English Dance

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Track List: Boulanger: Faust Et Hélène, Etc.

1. Psalm 24 for chorus, orchestra & organ: Psalm 24

2. Faust Et Hélène: Faust Et Helene

3. D'un Soir Triste, For String Trio (or Cello) & Piano (or Orchestra): D'un Soir Triste

4. D'un Matin De Printemps, For Violin (or Flute) & Piano (or Orchestra): D'un Matin De Printemps

5. Psalm 130: Du fond de l'abime, for contralto, tenor, chorus, organ & orchestra: Psalm 130 "Du Fond De L'abime"

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Track List: Bowen: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

Title: Symphony No. 1 In G Major, Op. 4

1. Symphony No. 1 In G Major, Op. 4: I. Allegro Assai

2. Symphony No. 1 In G Major, Op. 4: II. Larghetto

3. Symphony No. 1 In G Major, Op. 4: III. Finale: Allegro Con Brio

Title: Symphony No. 2 In E Minor, Op. 31

4. Symphony No. 2 In E Minor, Op. 31: I. Moderato

5. Symphony No. 2 In E Minor, Op. 31: II. Lento

6. Symphony No. 2 In E Minor, Op. 31: III. Allegro Scherzando, Ma Moderato

7. Symphony No. 2 In E Minor, Op. 31: IV. Finale: Grave

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Track List: Glière: Orchestral Works

1. Gyul'sara, Opera: Overture - Risoluto

2. Concerto Waltz, Op. 90: Allegro

3. Shakh-Senem, Opera: Allegro Moderato

4. Ballad, Op. 4: Andante

5. Overture On Slavonic Themes: Con Moto

6. Heroic March For The Buryiat-Mongolian ASSR, Op. 71: Tempo Di Marcia

7. Overture: Holiday At Ferghana, Op. 75: Overture - Allegro Assai. Festivo

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Track List: Kabalevsky: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3; Colas Breugnon Overture; The Comedians

Title: Colas Breugnon (Kola Bryun'yon), Opera, Op. 24/Op. 90 (2 Versions)

1. Colas Breugnon (Kola Bryun'yon), Opera, Op. 24/Op. 90 (2 Versions): Overture

Title: Piano Concerto No. 2 In G Minor, Op. 23

2. Piano Concerto No. 2 In G Minor, Op. 23: I. Allegro Moderato-l'istesso Temp-piu Mosso-adagio Molto Sostenuto-cadenza (Andante Con Moto-poco Piu Mosso-poco Sostenuto, Ma Con Fuoco-piu Mosso)-tempo I (Ma Poco Piu Animato)

3. Piano Concerto No. 2 In G Minor, Op. 23: II. Andantino Semplice-andantino Con Moto-meno Mosso-tempo I

4. Piano Concerto No. 2 In G Minor, Op. 23: III. Allegro Molto-l'istesso Tempo-poco Meno Mosso-doppio Meno Mosso-tempo I (Doppio Piu Mosso) Poco Piu Mosso

Title: The Comedians, Suite For Small Orchestra, Op. 26

5. The Comedians, Suite For Small Orchestra, Op. 26: I. Prologue. Allegro Vivace

6. The Comedians, Suite For Small Orchestra, Op. 26: II. Galop. Presto

7. The Comedians, Suite For Small Orchestra, Op. 26: III. March. Moderato

8. The Comedians, Suite For Small Orchestra, Op. 26: IV. Waltz. Moderato

9. The Comedians, Suite For Small Orchestra, Op. 26: V. Pantomime. Sostenuto E Pesante

10. The Comedians, Suite For Small Orchestra, Op. 26: VI. Intermezzo. Allegro Scherzando

11. The Comedians, Suite For Small Orchestra, Op. 26: VII. Little Lyrical Scene. Andantino Semplice

12. The Comedians, Suite For Small Orchestra, Op. 26: VIII. Gavotte. Allegretto

13. The Comedians, Suite For Small Orchestra, Op. 26: IX. Scherzo. Presto Assai E Molto Leggiero

14. The Comedians, Suite For Small Orchestra, Op. 26: X. Epilogue. Allegro Molto E Con Brio-senza Ritardando

Title: Piano Concerto No. 3 In D Major ("Youth"), Op. 50

15. Piano Concerto No. 3 In D Major ("Youth"), Op. 50: I. Allegro Molto-poco Piu Mosso-cadenza (Sostenuto-allegro Molto)-tempo I-poco Piu Mosso

16. Piano Concerto No. 3 In D Major ("Youth"), Op. 50: II. Andante Con Moto-pochissimo Piu Mosso-ancora Pochissimo Piu Mosso-tempo I

17. Piano Concerto No. 3 In D Major ("Youth"), Op. 50: III. Presto-tempo (Prestissimo)

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Track List: Kapp Family Orchestral Works

Composer: Artur Kapp
Title: Don Carlos, Dramatic Overture (after Friedrich Schiller)

1. Don Carlos, Dramatic Overture (after Friedrich Schiller): Don Carlos, Dramatic Overture (After Friedrich Schiller)

Composer: Eugen Kapp
Title: Kalevipoeg, Suite From The Ballet

2. Kalevipoeg, Suite From The Ballet: Kalevipoeg's Dance With The Maiden Of The Lake

3. Kalevipoeg, Suite From The Ballet: Karelian-finnish Dance

4. Kalevipoeg, Suite From The Ballet: Forging Of The Swords

5. Kalevipoeg, Suite From The Ballet: Dance Of The Shepherds And Shepherdesses

6. Kalevipoeg, Suite From The Ballet: Dance Of The Wind

7. Kalevipoeg, Suite From The Ballet: Folk Dance

Composer: Villem Kapp
Title: Symphony No. 2 In C Minor

8. Symphony No. 2 In C Minor: I. Grave

9. Symphony No. 2 In C Minor: II. Adagio Espressivo

10. Symphony No. 2 In C Minor: III. Allegro

11. Symphony No. 2 In C Minor: IV. Allegro

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Track List: Paul Hindemith: Symphonic Dances / Ragtime

Title: Symphonic Dances, For Orchestra

1. Symphonic Dances, For Orchestra: I. Langsam

2. Symphonic Dances, For Orchestra: II. Lebhaft

3. Symphonic Dances, For Orchestra: III. Sehr Langsam

4. Symphonic Dances, For Orchestra: IV. Massig Bewegt, Mit Kraft

Title: Rag Time, For Orchestra (or Piano 4 Hands), Op. 20

5. Rag Time, For Orchestra (or Piano 4 Hands), Op. 20: Rag Time, For Orchestra (Or Piano 4 Hands), Op. 20

Title: Pittsburgh Symphony, For Orchestra

6. Pittsburgh Symphony, For Orchestra: Molto Energico

7. Pittsburgh Symphony, For Orchestra: Slow March - Allegro Assai - Moderato

8. Pittsburgh Symphony, For Orchestra: Ostinato. Allegro Moderato

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Track List: Poulenc: Gloria; Stabat Mater

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Track List: Reinhold Gliere: Symphony No. 3 'Ilya Muromets'

Title: Symphony No. 3 In B Minor ("Il'ya Muromets"), Op. 42

1. Symphony No. 3 In B Minor ("Il'ya Muromets"), Op. 42: Andante Sostenuto

2. Symphony No. 3 In B Minor ("Il'ya Muromets"), Op. 42: Allegro Risoluto - Tranquillo Misterioso - Tempo 1

3. Symphony No. 3 In B Minor ("Il'ya Muromets"), Op. 42: Nightingale The Robber

4. Symphony No. 3 In B Minor ("Il'ya Muromets"), Op. 42: At The Court Of Vladimir The Mighty Sun

5. Symphony No. 3 In B Minor ("Il'ya Muromets"), Op. 42: The Heroic Deeds And Petrification Of Ilya Muromets: Allegro Tumultuoso - Tranq

6. Symphony No. 3 In B Minor ("Il'ya Muromets"), Op. 42: The Heroic Deeds And Petrification Of Ilya Muromets: Poco Meno - Maestoso Solen

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Track List: Stokowski's Mussorgsky

Composer: Modest Mussorgsky
Title: Night On Bald Mountain (Noch' Na Lïsoy Gore), Symphonic Poem, Edited By Stokowski
Composer: Leopold Stokowski
Title: Symphonic Synthesis On "Boris Godunov", For Orchestra (after Mussorgsky)
Composer: Modest Mussorgsky
Title: Khovanshchina, Opera In 5 Acts, Edited By Rimsky-korsakov
Title: Pictures At An Exhibition (Kartinki S Vïstavski), For Orchestra, Orchestrations Other Than Ravel's

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