Thursday 3 October 2019 – Saturday 20 June 2020

Continuing the success of author-led events, the BBC SO teams up with David Walliams and Neil Gaiman as their literary works are brought to life in an orchestral setting as never heard before.

Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo leads his first opera with the BBC SO, William Alwyn’s Miss Julie.

There are further operas; David Lang’s prisoner of the state and Joby Talbot’s Everest, continuing the BBC SO’s highly successful series of co-productions with the Barbican Centre.

· Total Immersion days explore the musical life and works of Detlev Glanert, Anders Hillborg and, in a first for the BBC SO, a Family Total Immersion: Lift Off! will offer audiences the chance to meet the orchestra.

· Dalia Stasevska takes up her post as the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor in two concerts including works by Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, Sibelius and the UK premiere of Helen Grime’s Violin Concerto, performed by Leila Josefowicz.

Opening the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s 2019-20 season, Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo conducts his first opera with the orchestra, William Alwyn’s tense and dramatic take on Strindberg’s Miss Julie (3 October). The neglected composer’s lurid depiction of infatuation and class tension will be performed by the BBC SO for the first time. Another rarity being rediscovered under Oramo’s baton is Dora Pejačević’s sumptuous post-WW1 Symphony in F Sharp Minor (7 May). Oramo gives a further five performances across the season including Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the BBC Symphony Chorus and soloists Elizabeth Watts, Alice Coote, Allan Clayton and Johan Reuter in the title role (7 February), and the main evening concert of a Total Immersion day celebrating the life and work of Anders Hillborg (22 February).

Two further operas will provide compelling highlights towards the beginning and end of the season. David Lang’s prisoner of the state, his response to Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio (11 January), will launch the Barbican’s celebration of Beethoven at 250, whilst Nicole Paiement makes her BBCSO debut conducting the UK premiere of Joby Talbot’s Everest. Based on the tragic climbing disaster on Mount Everest in 1996, the opera will conclude the BBC SO’s season (20 June).

Another cornerstone of the Barbican’s Beethoven celebrations will be Richard Farnes conducting one of Beethoven’s most personal works, Missa Solemnis with the combined forces of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (4 March).

Building upon the success of previous author-led events with David Sedaris and Armistead Maupin, the BBC Symphony Orchestra teams up with David Walliams and Neil Gaiman as their literary works are brought to life in an orchestral setting as never heard before. Playing in the Dark: Neil Gaiman and the BBC Symphony Orchestra will see one of the great storytellers of our time weave together his various dystopian visions with music designed to heighten the senses (12 November). In an entirely different event, Walliams brings life to the topsy-turvy world of his best-selling children’s books.

David Walliams said: ‘I am thrilled about this wonderful opportunity to read from my books accompanied by music from the brilliant BBC Symphony Orchestra. It promises to be a great event for all the family.’

Dalia Stasevska takes up her post as the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s newly appointed Principal Guest Conductor with two concerts; the first, a programme including Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, featuring the BBC Singers, and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances (October 2019), and the second with works by Julian Anderson, Sibelius and the UK premiere of Helen Grime’s Violin Concerto performed by Leila Josefowicz (17 April). Widely recognised as one of Europe’s brightest talents, Stasevska’s appointment follows two highly successful performances at Maida Vale, a debut studio concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in May 2018 and a further studio concert in December of that year.

There are 15 world and UK premieres across the season including the UK premiere of Detlev Glanert’s Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch conducted by the BBC SO’s Günter Wand Conducting Chair, Semyon Bychkov (7 December). Four concertos by women composers feature with the UK premieres of Victoria Borisova-Ollas’s Violin Concerto with Baiba Skride (3 April), Helen Grime’s Violin Concerto with Leila Josefowicz (17 April) and Betsy Jolas’s Onze Lieder for trumpet with Håkan Hardenberger (8 November). The London premiere of Judith Weir’s Oboe Concerto will be performed by Nicholas Daniel on 13 December. The BBC SO will also delve into the songs of Alma Mahler with Karen Cargill (24 January).

The first ever Family Total Immersion Day: ‘Lift Off’! celebrates Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon 50 years ago (1 December). The orchestra gets interactive with workshops and events all designed to help families immerse themselves in the world of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

The 2019-20 season has an impressive line-up of conductors and soloists. Conductors include Edward Gardener, Rafael Payare, Alexander Vedernikov and rising stars, Alpesh Chauhan and Nicole Paiement. World class singers include Dame Sarah Connolly, Stuart Skelton, Alice Coote, Allan Clayton, Johan Reuter, Elizabeth Watts and Karen Cargill. A broad array of instrumentalists will feature, from violinists Vilde Frang, Leila Josefowicz and Baiba Skride, to clarinettist Martin Fröst, trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger and pianists Paul Lewis, Garrick Ohlsson, Andrei Kobreinikov and Eric Lu, the most recent winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition.

Paul Hughes, General Manager, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, said: “This feels like a momentous season with so much to celebrate; Sakari’s seventh season and Dalia’s first as our newly appointed Principal Guest Conductor. We are thrilled to welcome this young, brilliant Finnish conductor to the BBC SO family. The BBC SO’s mission is to surprise and excite audiences. There are 15 world and UK premieres in the 19/20 season and three contrasting operas by William Alwyn, David Lang and Joby Talbot. We continue our successful collaborations with authors featuring two of the finest storytellers of our time, Neil Gaiman and David Walliams. If you have an enquiring mind and an adventurous spirit, if you are looking for a season that challenges tradition and makes exciting music, and where you come to experience music you haven’t heard before, look no further!”


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