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Guide to the Ulster Orchestra

© Benjamin Ealovega
© Benjamin Ealovega
April 2018
Evening performance
Matinee performance
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BelfastThe Great Concertos: Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.17

Ulster Orchestra; Rafael Payare; Jonathan Biss

BelfastThe Great Concertos: Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G

Stravinsky, Ravel, Rachmaninov
Ulster Orchestra; Antony Hermus; Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

BelfastJTI Lunchtime Concert: Two Course Lunch

Haydn, Wagner
Ulster Orchestra; Rafael Payare

BelfastSeason Grand Finale: Shostakovich Symphony No.5

Britten, Mahler, Shostakovich
Ulster Orchestra; Rafael Payare; Katarina Karnéus
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Translucent sounds: Vaughan Williams, Sibelius and Dvořák in Belfast

Rosanne Philippens © Marco Borggreve
The Ulster Orchestra and Rosanne Philippens dazzle in Vaughan Williams and Sibelius under the baton of Jac van Steen.
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Brooding darkness and brilliance in Belfast

Rafael Payare © Askonas Holt
Stephen Hough stuns with an emotive reading of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, while the Ulster Orchestra under Rafael Payare were on fine form for the season’s finale.
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Alina Ibragimova's Brahms thrills Symphony Hall

Alina Ibragimova © Eva Vermandel
Alina Ibragimove reigns supreme in Symphony Hall with Brahms' Violin Concerto as Ulster Orchestra srtuggle to find the depth of emotion Sibelius deserves in Symphony No 1
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A sweepingly romantic evening with the Ulster Orchestra

Giselle Allen © Hazard Chase
Giselle Allen and David Kempster are on good form in a performance of highlights from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, conducted by Jac van Steen.
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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 the 2016/17 Season (the Orchestra’s 50th 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 JoAnn 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.