Kirill Karabits launches the season – his eleventh as Chief Conductor of the BSO – with a Weimar-themed programme featuring the UK premiere of Liszt’s melodrama Vor hundert Jahren

Gabriela Montero, Venezuelan pianist/composer, is the 2019/20 Artist-in-Residence

Concert staging of Richard Strauss’s opera Elektra at Symphony Hall, Birmingham and Lighthouse, Poole under the baton of Karabits, with a star-studded cast including Catherine Foster, Allison Oakes and Susan Bullock

The Orchestra celebrates the second year of Marta Gardolińska’s tenure as BSO Leverhulme Young Conductor in Association

Pianist Sunwook Kim makes his professional conducting debut in an all-Beethoven programme

The Orchestra continues its Voices from the East series with a rare performance of Chary Nurymov’s Symphony No. 2 and the release of its celebrated Terterian performance on Chandos

Welcome returns for Leonard Elschenbroich, Ning Feng, Alexander Gavrylyuk, Steven Isserlis, Simone Lamsma, John Lill, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Robert Trevino and more

Main season debuts for Jake Arditti, Stephen Barlow, Andreas Bauer Kanabas, Jeremy Denk, Tobias Feldmann, Andrei Korobeinikov and Valentina Peleggi

The Orchestra marks Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, with performances by conductors Kirill Karabits, Sunwook Kim and Reinhard Goebel

Performances at the Barbican Centre, Sage Gateshead, Cadogan Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall in addition to the Orchestra’s regular venues across a 10,000 square mile region in the South West

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra announces its 2019/20 season with over 140 performances across the South West and beyond.

Kirill Karabits pays homage to Weimar – a city with a unique cultural output - in the opening programme [2 Oct – Poole, 4 Oct – Cadogan Hall, London], which includes the UK premiere of Liszt’s Vor hundert Jahren alongside works by Strauss and Hummel. Both Richard Strauss and Franz Liszt held positions at the Deutsches Nationaltheatre Weimar, where Karabits is currently Generalmusikdirektor.

Internationally renowned composer and writer Gerard McBurney is working with the BSO to realise the performance of this unpublished work. He described it, “Vor hundert Jahren was composed as part of the pan-Germanic celebrations in 1859 marking the centenary of the birth of Friedrich Schiller. Familiar to music lovers as the author of ‘Ode to Joy’, Schiller was not only a great poet and playwright, but a political philosopher who had a deep influence on the new dream of German Unification. For this melodrama for actors and symphony orchestra, Liszt’s friend and colleague, Friedrich Halm, created a high-flown libretto, in which the tragic character of ‘Germania’, left alone in the mountains, bewails the pitiful state into which the German people and their culture have fallen, before the figure of Poetry appears, to take her on a tour of Schiller’s works, showing how they offer comfort and inspiration for the nation’s future.”

Kirill Karabits, Chief Conductor of the BSO said, “I’ve been looking forward to bringing this unpublished work by Liszt to the BSO after finding the score in Weimar last year, and I can’t think of a better way to open the season. Written for actors, orchestra and effects, no one knew that Liszt wrote music like this - it’s going to be really exciting.

We’re exploring such a range of repertoire this season, from Schubert and Beethoven to John Adams’ City Noir, and we continue to explore works from Eastern Europe. I am extremely proud of the relationship I have developed with the BSO and its audiences, our collaboration and mutual respect is one of my greatest achievements.

I’m particularly excited about conducting Strauss’ Elektra – in order to perform this complex and visceral score you need an orchestra at the top of its game, and I have no doubt that the BSO will be able to deliver. After our huge success with Salome four years ago, Elektra will surely be a highlight of the season!”


Following the Orchestra’s critically-acclaimed 2015 performances of Richard Strauss’ Salome, Karabits will lead the BSO in a concert staging of Strauss’ opera Elektra at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and Lighthouse, Poole [18 Mar – Poole, 21 Mar – Birmingham]. The Orchestra is joined by Catherine Foster as Elektra in her first UK operatic performance for 20 years. Joining Catherine, the cast also includes Allison Oakes in her UK operatic debut as Chrysothemis, a role in which she made her Metropolitan Opera debut last season, and Susan Bullock, who makes her UK debut as Klytemnestra. Renowned German bass Andreas Bauer Kanabas performs as Oreste.

Catherine Foster said “I’m absolutely thrilled to have been invited by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to sing, not only a favourite role of mine, on returning to the UK, but combining that with the city and stunning Symphony Hall where it all began for me as a BMus student at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire makes this something very special.”

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive of the BSO said “We’re extremely proud that the BSO’s performances of Elektra will be the first ever given at Lighthouse, Poole in its 40 years and Symphony Hall, Birmingham in the 29 years since it opened. Furthermore, the casting of Catherine Foster, Allison Oakes and Susan Bullock, three outstanding and experienced dramatic sopranos who will each be singing their particular roles in the UK for the first time, demonstrates the high ambition of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to perform Elektra at the very highest level.”

Gabriela Montero – Artist-in-Residence

The Orchestra is thrilled to welcome Venezuelan pianist and composer Gabriela Montero, who presents three programmes throughout the season. Montero was recently awarded the fourth International Beethoven Award to mark her advocacy and dedication to human rights, freedom and more. Together with conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, Montero presents her own Latin Concerto in Poole [16 Oct] and Portsmouth [17 Oct]. She returns in December with Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor [4 Dec - Poole, 5 Dec - Exeter]. Joining the BSO Soloists for a Chamber Recital, Montero performs her own works alongside Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and a set of energised improvisations [26 Feb – Poole].

Montero said, “I’m really looking forward to returning to play with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and to audiences across the South West. To perform alongside my dear friend Carlos Miguel Prieto is always a treat, and I can’t wait to perform alongside Kirill Karabits and in recital with the BSO Soloists.”

Beethoven’s 250th anniversary

The BSO presents Beethoven’s first four symphonies, amongst other works, during this anniversary year. Reinhard Goebel conducts Beethoven’s Romance in F, Violin Concerto fragment in C, and Symphony No. 2 alongside Anton Eberl’s Sinfonie no. 3 in E flat, which was performed in the same concert as the world premiere of the Eroica [27 Nov- Poole, 29 Nov – Bristol].

Karabits continues the series with Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3 at the Barbican Centre, Lighthouse, Poole and The Sage Gateshead [29 Jan – Poole, 1 Feb – London, 22 Feb – Newcastle]. Sunwook Kim, internationally-acclaimed pianist, makes his professional conducting debut with Beethoven Symphony No. 4, Egmont Overture and Piano Concerto No.5 ‘Emperor’, which he directs from the keyboard [1 Apr – Poole, 2 Apr – Exeter]. Other works by Beethoven in the season include his Piano Concerto No. 3, performed by John Lill and conducted by Stephen Barlow [9 Oct – Poole, 10 Oct – Exeter].

Debut performances

Several leading soloists make their debuts with the Orchestra this season, including Jeremy Denk who performs Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 conducted by Kirill Karabits [19 Feb – Poole, 20 Feb – Basingstoke]. Sunwook Kim’s professional conducting debut deepens his relationship with the Orchestra following his Residency in the 2014/15 season [1 Apr – Poole, 2 Apr – Exeter].

Making main-season debuts are Stephen Barlow conducting a programme of Strauss, Beethoven and Prokofiev [9 Oct – Poole, 10 Oct – Exeter], violinist Tobias Feldmann [27 Nov – Poole, 29 Nov – Bristol], counter-tenor Jake Arditti [18 Dec – Poole] and conductor Valentina Peleggi [29 Apr – Poole, 30 Apr – Basingstoke, 1 May – Bristol].

Pianist Andrei Korobeinikov makes his concerto debut with the Orchestra, having previously given a recital with 2018/19 Artist-in-Residence, Johannes Moser. Korobeinikov performs Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini [15 Jan – Poole, 16 Jan – Portsmouth].

Returning performers

The BSO welcomes back a number of world-class artists for its 2019/20 season.

Mexican conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto performs twice with the Orchestra. In October, he conducts Gabriela Montero in works by Marquez, De Falla and Montero [16 Oct – Poole, 17 Oct – Portsmouth]. In January 2020 Prieto conducts Ning Feng in Elgar’s Violin Concerto, a work they recently recorded together, alongside works by R Strauss and Shostakovich [22 Jan – Poole, 23 Jan – Exeter, 24 Jan – Portsmouth].

Ion Marin also returns twice, conducting Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with pianist Vadym Kholodenko and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 ‘Titan’ [11 Dec – Poole, 12 Dec – Guildhall]. Kholodenko made his debut with the Orchestra in March 2019, stepping in last-minute to perform Rachmaninov’s Concerto No. 1 in Poole with Ion Marin. In April, Marin will conduct Debussy’s Images and Enescu’s Symphony No. 1 in a concert which is dedicated to Constantin Silvestri, the BSO’s Principal Conductor from 1961-69, to mark 50 years since his death [22 Apr – Poole]. Romanian-born Silvestri previously worked with the Chicago and Philadelphia orchestras before he found sanctuary in the UK; his tenure brought the BSO to international acclaim.

Conductor Robert Trevino and violinist Simone Lamsma return following their performance together with the Orchestra in 2018. Trevino conducts Stravinsky’s Symphony in 3 Movements, Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1 and his first Rachmaninov Symphony No. 3 [12 Feb – Poole, 13 Feb – Exeter].

Laurence Cummings conducts Handel’s Gloria in Excelsis Deo HWV deest, a work which was missing until 2001 when it was discovered in the library of the Royal Academy of Music. This is paired with Handel’s Coronation Anthem No. 1 ‘Zadok the Priest’, Dixit Dominus, and Vivaldi’s Spring and Summer from the Four Seasons. [4 Mar – Poole].

Tasmin Little, who is stepping down from the concert stage following her impressive 30-year career, joins Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as part of her farewell tour to perform Brahms’s Violin Concerto [29 Apr – Poole, 30 Apr – Basingstoke, 1 May – Bristol].

Other notable soloists include John Lill [9 Oct - Poole, 10 Oct - Exeter], Philippe Quint [23 Oct – Poole, 24 Oct – Exeter], Valeriy Sokolov [30 Oct – Poole, 31 Oct – Basingstoke], Leonard Elschenbroich [7 Nov – Exeter, 8 Nov – Bristol, 9 Nov – Salisbury], Stefan Jackiw [29 Jan – Poole, 1 Feb – London] and Alexander Gavrylyuk [25 Mar – Poole, 26 Mar – Portsmouth] and Steven Isserlis, who returns to perform Elgar’s Cello Concerto in the final concert of the season [13 May – Poole].

Voices from the East

Following the release of its recording of Boris Lyatoshinsky’s Symphony No. 3, the Orchestra continues its Voices from the East series with a rare performance of Chary Nurymov’s Symphony No. 2 paired with Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 [6 May – Poole]. The Orchestra and Karabits then record Nurymov’s Symphony to be released as part of their Voices from the East series on Chandos.

In 2019, the Orchestra releases its anticipated recording of Terterian’s Symphonies Nos.3 and 4, the first of which was performed by the BSO delighting audiences and critics last season.

“[The Terterian] felt like a masterpiece, as stark and economical as an abstract painting by Mondrian, and as overwhelming emotionally as one of Shostakovich’s tragic utterances […] it’s the stark grandeur of the Armenian symphony which is lingering in my mind" The Daily Telegraph

David Hill MBE, Associate Guest Conductor

The 2019/20 season marks ten years since David Hill MBE became the BSO’s Associate Guest Conductor. David has worked regularly with the Orchestra over the past ten years both live in concert and on critically acclaimed recordings. To mark the occasion, Hill is conducting a special tenth-anniversary concert in Poole with mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson and soprano Jennifer Davis alongside the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus [20 Nov - Poole].

Marta Gardolińska, BSO Leverhulme Young Conductor in Association

Award-winning Polish conductor Marta Gardolińska continues her tenure as BSO Leverhulme Young Conductor in Association having been appointed in September 2018. During the 2018/19 season Gardolińska performed nearly 30 concerts with the BSO, including stepping in last-minute for two main-season concerts. Throughout the 2019/20 season Gardolińska conducts BSO performances across the region, working with soloists including Leonard Elschenbroich [7, 8, 9 Nov] and Soraya Mafi [1-11 Jan].

Alongside these concerts, Gardolińska continues her work with BSO Participate to deliver outreach work across the BSO’s region of 10,000 square miles. This includes leading the BSO’s Schools’ Concerts, enjoyed by over 23,000 schoolchildren in the concert hall and via livestream.

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive of the BSO, said “We’re thrilled to continue working with Marta Gardolińska as she enters her second year as the BSO’s Leverhulme Young Conductor in Association. During her first outstanding year with the Orchestra, in which she garnered international interest, Marta impressed our audiences across the South West with her emotive and collaborative style of music-making, as well as engaging with communities through her work with BSO Participate.”

BSO Participate

The BSO is committed to making music inclusive and accessible for everyone – from taking music to rural locations, to the creation of the world’s first disabled-led ensemble embedded in a professional symphony orchestra, BSO Resound.

BSO Participate will continue to deliver its outstanding programme of outreach work to communities across the South West. These events range from workshops in schools and coaching amateur musicians, to performances in care homes and events specifically designed for people living with dementia.

The Orchestra reached over 70,000 people outside of the concert hall during the last concert season.


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