Concert to mark BBC Hoddinott Hall @10 on 25 January BBC NOW releases a 360° video featuring Welsh composer Paul Mealor and actor & writer Tony Robinson celebrating Welsh contemporary music at BBC Hoddinott Hall
Sir Andrew Davis conducts Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ on 15 February
International Women’s Day concert on 8 March with a world premiere of a piece by Augusta Holmes composed in 1876
J.S Bach’s Easter Oratorio on 18 April, conducted by Jonathan Cohen
Brahms Requiem on 28 June, conducted by Nathalie Stutzmann
BBC NOW continues series of live streamed concerts from BBC Hoddinott Hall
In January 2019, BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales (BBC NOW) marks ten years since the opening of its home by its patron HRH The Prince of Wales, BBC Hoddinott Hall. Housed in the Wales Millennium Centre, a hub for the arts in Wales, it is named after celebrated Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott. As well as being a performance venue, seating up to 350 people, with rehearsal spaces for both orchestra and chorus, it is also one of the largest purpose-built recording studios in the world producing soundtracks for programmes such as Doctor Who, David Attenborough’s Life Story, and the BBC’s War and Peace. It provides the perfect platform to promote contemporary music, both from Wales and the broader classical sphere with performances broadcast regularly on BBC Radio 3. In recent years it has been the setting for world premieres by Graham Fitkin, Simon Holt, Paul Mealor and Kate Whitley. It is also the home of Composition: Wales a scheme to help develop composers and workshop new orchestral music.
Michael Garvey, Director of BBC NOW commented: ‘Over ten years, BBC Hoddinott Hall has become a cornerstone of the Welsh cultural landscape and plays an integral role in recording, broadcasting and streaming classical music. The orchestra and chorus enjoy rehearsing and performing here and this hall has served as a launch-pad for ground-breaking concert formats widening access to orchestral music. We will continue to exploit its facilities in innovative ways over the next decade and beyond.’
The anniversary begins on 25 January with the world premiere of Kenneth Hesketh’s Piano Concerto Uncoiling the River performed by Clare Hammond, alongside Hoddinott’s Taliesin, Rhian Samuel’s Brass Express, Sarah Lianne Lewis’ Is there no seeker of dreams that were? And Andrej Panufnik’s Sinfonia Sacra Symphony No.3. A 360° video of Paul Mealor’s Illumination is available pre-concert, which gives an insight into the composer’s new piece, Symphony No. 3 ‘Illumination,’ premiered by the Orchestra on 30 November 2018 at BBC Hoddinott Hall. Actor and writer Tony Robinson (Blackadder & Time Team) features in the video reading an extract from Dante’s Paradiso, which inspired the piece, alongside cinematic images of Wales intercut with footage from the premiere performance and some insights from Mealor himself. It is created for VR headsets with spatial audio (a 3D stereo sound sensation).
On 15 February, Sir Andrew Davis makes his debut at BBC Hoddinott Hall, conducting Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ. Joining the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales is mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly, tenor Andrew Staples, baritone Roderick Williams, and bass-baritone Matthew Brook. Marking the 150th anniversary of his death, this concert will be broadcast as part of a long weekend dedicated to Hector Berlioz on BBC Radio 3 from 15-17 February 2019.
BBC NOW also marks International Women’s Day on 8 March with a concert celebrating female composers conducted by Valentina Peleggi. Including Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto performed by Mariam Batashvili, the world premiere of Roland Furieux by Augusta Holmès (written in 1876) and Symphony No. 3 by Florence Price, who is thought to have been the first woman symphonist of African-American heritage.
Following a successful live stream to over 16,000 Facebook timelines of the first complete performance of Charles Villiers Stanford’s Mass via Victrix on 27 October 2018, both concerts on 15 February and 8 March are going to be live streamed via bbc.co.uk/now. BBC NOW have long thrilled concert goers and radio listeners and now with a newly installed camera system, can reach even wider audiences online.
On 18 April, the Hall welcomes two conductors for a special Easter concert. In the first half, Jonathon Heyward joins BBC NOW for a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Easter Festival Overture, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, and Grainger’s Blithe Bells whilst the second half sees Jonathan Cohen conducting J.S Bach’s Easter Oratorio. The soloists are soprano Anna Dennis, alto William Towers, tenor Nick Pritchard and baritone William Dazeley.
To culminate the celebrations, Nathalie Stutzmann conducts a performance of Brahms’ first major choral composition on 28 June: his A German Requiem. Soprano Elizabeth Watts and baritone Jacques Imbrailo are the soloists in the work which is preceded by Stravinsky’s Funeral Song.