Thursday 2 November 2023

All change at the BBC orchestras

Adam Szabo (Photo: Phil Sharp)
Adam Szabo (Photo: Phil Sharp)
It is all change at the top of the BBC orchestras, as Bill Chandler has been appointed director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and Adam Szabo has been appointed director of the BBC Philharmonic.

Originally from the USA, Bill was a violinist in the Houston Symphony and then joined the Royal Scottish National Orchestra as associate leader. Since September 2021 he has been director of the BBC Concert Orchestra, where he increased the orchestra's presence for Nottingham and Great Yarmouth, plus regular appearances at Alexandra Palace and plus appearances on Radio 2’s Piano Room series and Radio 3’s Unclassified Live, a tour with CBeebies and concerts with Streetwise Opera, London Jazz Festival and Grange Park Opera. He appointed the orchestra’s Chief Conductor Anna-Maria Helsing earlier this year.

Adam Szabo comes to the BBC Philharmonic from being co-founder and artistic director of Manchester Collective [see my 2020 interview with Adam]. Adam and Rakhi Singh founded the Manchester Collective in 2016, and is renowned for their experimental programming, daring collaborations and engaging performances, as well as their espousal of non-traditional venues. Prior to working with the Collective, Adam was a freelance cellist working with orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic.

Adam Szabo said: "Nothing compares to the experience of hearing a symphony orchestra at full throttle, and at their best, the BBC Philharmonic is unmatched by any group in the country. Their skill and versatility are legend. Equally at home with fiendish contemporary work as they are with our beloved orchestral canon, they embody the best of British music making. My work at Manchester Collective has been about creating radical experiences for audiences through live music. I can’t wait to bring that spirit to the BBC Philharmonic – working with these world class players to tell unique and powerful musical stories."

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