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Guide to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

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« ...the players of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra are a versatile troupe and when Karabits goes out on a limb, they follow with obvious commitment and deliver fantastic results.  »
David Truslove, Bachtrack

One of the UK’s best-loved orchestras, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is a professional ensemble known for igniting change both on and off the stage. With residencies in Bournemouth, Bristol, Exeter, Poole and Portsmouth it is also the largest cultural provider in the South West of England serving one of the biggest and most diverse regions in the UK.

Maintaining the highest artistic ideals the Orchestra remains committed to new and lesser-known repertoire while remaining relevant to its broad audience’s tastes. Under Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits the Orchestra’s Voices from the East series of former Soviet music continues to receive critical acclaim, and its recent recordings of Prokofiev and Walton are considered definitive modern performances. The Orchestra is also loved for its performances of film and light music, and its discography charts a number of landmark moments in 20th century music.

A commissioner of new music, the Orchestra will give premiere performances of works by Azerbaijani composer Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, Shirley J. Thompson and Magnus Lindberg in its 2020/21 season. In recent years it has worked Mark-Anthony Turnage, Sally Beamish and James MacMillan.

A bold champion of new talent the BSO boasts an enviable list of principal conductors, including Marin Alsop — the first female principal conductor of a major UK orchestra — Constantin Silvestri, Paavo Berglund and Andrew Litton. It has given memorable performances at Carnegie Hall, the Musikverein and Rudolfinum, and gives regular live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM.

Awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Impact Award in 2019, for its work in improving opportunities for disabled talent, the BSO continues to push boundaries with BSO Resound — the world’s first professional disabled-led ensemble at the core of a major orchestra. BSO Participate works with all ages off the stage and is internationally recognised as an act to follow: over 650 community workshops and events take place each year across the Orchestra’s vast region, empowering thousands of lives each year.

Following the longest break in its 127-year history, the Orchestra was one of the first ensembles in the UK to launch a series of full symphonic performances in 2020.