Wednesday, 5 August 2015

From Wales to Patagonia - the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in 2015/16

BBC National Orchestra of Wales - photo credit BBC
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
photo credit BBC
The BBC National Orchestra of Wales will be embarking on one of its most ambitious tours to date, going to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay this Autumn wit conductor Grant Llewellyn and harpist Catrin Finch as part of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Y Wladfa, the Welsh settlement in Patagonia. Under principal conductor Thomas Søndergård, their concerts in Wales include a focus on Huw Watkins as Composer-in-Association, as well as a programme which includes Roy Harris, Szymanowski, Dutilleux, and the UK premiere of a new completion of Debussy's Nocturne for violin and orchestra.

A group of musicians from BBC National Orchestra of Wales will be spending a week in the Chubut Province of Argentina, joining the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Y Wladfa, the Welsh settlement in Patagonia, with music workshops in schools, musicians performing in unusual locations, working with choirs, ensembles and nurturing talented musicians in youth orchestras in the Province. These activities will culminate in two gala concerts on 30 October involving the full orchestra and National Youth Choir of Wales, alongside local musicians. With conductor Grant Llewellyn and harpist Catrin Finch the orchestra will then tour to Buenos Aires (2 & 4 November), Rosario (5 November), Cordoba (6 November), Santiago (8 November) & Montevideo (11 November).

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales's new Composer-in-Association is Huw Watkins. Watkins was born in Wales in 1976 and studied at Cambridge and the Royal College of Music. There will be a 'Composer Portrait concert at conducted by Garry Walker at BBC Hoddinott Hall on 24 February 2016 including Watkins' Anthem, Speak Seven Seas, Partita, (written for solo violin in 2006), Remember with soprano Ruby Hughes (for whom it was written) and Double Concerto with violist Philip Dukes and cellist Josephine Knight who premiered it in 2005 at the BBC Proms. Other performances of Watkins’ work include the St David’s Hall season opening concert on 3 October 2015 which features his London Concerto and on 18 March 2016 flautist Adam Walker performs the staggeringly virtuosic Flute Concerto, written especially for Walker and first performed in 2014 with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Principal conductor Thomas Søndergård will be conducting eight concerts including music by Dutilleux, Rachmaninov's The Bells, Mozart's Requiem, music from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, as well as the UK premiere of a completion of Debussy's Nocturne for Violin and Orchestra and violinist Nicola Benedetti in Szymanowki's Second Violin Concerto. Søndergård and the orchestra will be touring Wales with a concert which includes Huw Watkins' Flute Concerto.

In Swansea the orchestra is presenting a series of concerts exploring the violin with Trio Apaches (Matthew Trussler, Thomas Carroll, Ashley Wass) in Beethoven's Triple Concerto, Rachel Podger directing the orchestra in music by Bach, Handel, Biber and Vivaldi, and Alina Ibragimova in Bartok (along with Kodaly's Hary Janos). Chloe Hanlsip will be playing John Adams' The Dharma at Big Sur in a programme which also includes Roy Harris's Symphony No. 3.

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