Millions of listeners enjoy BBC Philharmonic concerts on Radio 3, recorded or broadcast live from the outstanding acoustic of The Bridgewater Hall, making this orchestra one of the most widely heard in the country. But there is still no substitute for experiencing performances live in the concert hall, where the musical and physical power is intense and vital. For live audiences here in Manchester, this season is dotted with emotionally charged music – thrilling, tender, raw, shocking. Music which simply refuses to be forgotten.
Here are our picks
Completed at the end of 2016 and premiered by tonight’s soloist, Jonathan Biss, in the US in January, Sally Beamish’s potent and political new piece was written in response to Beethoven’s immaculate First Piano Concerto.
Arlene Sierra’s Nature Symphony, a BBC Philharmonic commission, receives its world premiere and two longtime favourites from France cross the Channel to join the orchestra: conductor Ludovic Morlot and piano dynamo Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.
Leading British conductor Edward Gardner is your guide for a joyous European tour to lift the January gloom featuring Smetana’s effervescent overture The Bartered Bride and Janácek’s heart-on-sleeve love letter to his hometown of Brno.
Pianist Kathryn Stott – a resident of Manchester and a longstanding friend of the BBC Philharmonic – performs Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 1 under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis.
In 1996 George Walker became the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music – and tonight Joshua Ellicott joins the orchestra for the long-overdue UK premiere of the work that won the award: Lilacs.
Inspired by his Bolton childhood but evoking other worlds entirely, Simon Holt’s kinetic percussion concerto positively fizzes with energy. Colin Currie joins the orchestra to perform this exciting work with chief guest conductor, John Storgårds.
Ben Gernon’s first Bridgewater Hall concert as the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor is marked by a pair of firsts – the UK premiere of Anna Clyne’s intensely atmospheric nocturnal miniature, and Mahler’s debut symphony.
John Wilson is our translator for two journeys into the great wide open: Copland’s Appalachian Spring paints a vivid portrait of rural Pennsylvania, while Vaughan Williams’s wartime Fifth Symphony sings of a troubled England
Tasmin Little performs Karol Szymanowski’s First Violin Concerto. Piercing, passionate, fiery and free, it’s arguably the first modern violin concerto, and makes tremendous demands on any soloist who chooses to take it on.
Three years after the BBC Philharmonic’s world premiere of The Immortal drew rapturous acclaim from critics and audiences, Mark Simpson, the orchestra’s Composer in Association, presents his Cello Concerto performed by Leonard Elschenbroich.
Famed for working double duty as an acclaimed soloist and principal horn of the Berlin Philharmonic, the peerless Stefan Dohr performs the UK premiere of a work written especially for him: Wolfgang Rihm’s Horn Concerto.
The poignant but little-heard symphonic ballad The Voyevoda from the pen of Tchaikovsky opens the programme and guest Alban Gerhardt performs Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto.
For his final Bridgewater Hall concert as the BBC Philharmonic’s Chief Conductor, Juanjo Mena spirits us away to his Spanish homeland with a programme that includes a concert performance of Manuel de Falla’s vibrant,one-hour opera, La vida breve.