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Guide to the Ulster Orchestra

© Benjamin Ealovega
© Benjamin Ealovega
May 2020
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Evening performance
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BelfastRustioni Conducts Mahler's Resurrection

Rustioni Conducts Mahler's Resurrection
Mahler: Symphony no. 2 in C minor 'Resurrection'
Ulster Orchestra; Daniele Rustioni; Ruby Hughes; Kai Rüütel; Belfast Philharmonic Choir
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Anu Tali brings swan songs to Belfast

Anu Tali © Kabir Cardenas
In an unusual programme, with Finnish music from Rautavaara and Sibelius, separated by Walton, the Ulster Orchestra and Anu Tali find all the subtleties in the music.  
****1
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A night of Russian passion with the Ulster Orchestra

Francesca Dego © Davide Cerati
Taking a very different approach to programming for Valentine’s Day, Daniele Rustioni attracts a full-house to the Ulster Hall with Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky. Francesca Dego is outstanding in Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto.
*****
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Howard Shelley’s 70th birthday celebration with the Ulster Orchestra

Howard Shelley © Eric Richmond
Howard Shelley returns to Belfast, bringing vitality to a programme in which he convinced with infectious interpretations. 
****1
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Bavouzet shines in Bartók with the Ulster Orchestra

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet © Benjamin Ealovega
In an evening of Hungarian and Bohemian inspired music, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet sparkles in a performance of Bartók’s Third Piano Concerto.
***11
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Biography

Founded in 1966, the Ulster Orchestra has been at the forefront of musical life in Northern Ireland and the Orchestra’s sixty three full-time musicians form the region’s only professional symphony orchestra.

In 2014 the Ulster Orchestra appointed Rafael Payare as its Chief Conductor and the relationship between Rafael Payare and the Orchestra was further cemented in 2016 when the conductor was made Music Director of the Ulster Orchestra. 2014 also marked the year when Jac van Steen’s long relationship with the Orchestra was recognised, when he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor.

With a mission to enrich the lives of people living in Northern Ireland, those visiting, and those who encounter it through international touring and regular radio and TV broadcasts with both BBC Northern Ireland and BBC Radio 3, the Orchestra strives for excellence in all it undertakes, be it regular concert performances, learning and community engagement programmes, or creative collaborations across the arts.

An important aspect of the Ulster Orchestra’s work across Northern Ireland is its annual touring programme of concerts, which brings live orchestral music to the heart of communities across the region. A new initiative for the Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra On Your Doorstep, was founded in the2016/17 Season (the Orchestra’s 50 th Anniversary Season) and it sees the orchestra play in as diverse a range of venues as possible across Northern Ireland, sending everything from small ensembles and chamber music concerts, right up to the full symphony orchestra, far and wide across the region.

The Ulster Orchestra records regularly, and its most recent recording commitments have been for the Naxos label under the baton of former Chief Conductor Jo Ann Faletta and for the Hyperion label with Howard Shelley.

Learning and community engagement is at the core of all that the Ulster Orchestra does.

The Orchestra is building on 30 years of education and outreach work with an exciting and diverse range of partnership projects. From Adopt A Player and Crescendo! in schools to Wellbeing Workshops in hospices and supported housing, from concerts for schools and free concert tickets for children to residencies at SEN schools and from projects with Women’s Aid to the award-winning Move to the Music scheme which facilitates isolated elderly people in rural areas access live orchestra music; the Ulster Orchestra is bringing music to new and existing groups and audiences from all backgrounds, right across Northern Ireland.