BBC Symphony Orchestra

symphony orchestra based in London, England, United Kingdom

The BBC Symphony Orchestra is the main orchestra of the British Broadcasting Corporation. It is one of the best orchestras in Britain.



The orchestra started in 1930. Sir Adrian Boult was the main conductor until 1950, when Sir Malcolm Sargent took over until 1957. Since then there have been several conductors. Now the orchestra is conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek.

As well as these principal conductors there have been others, including the famous Arturo Toscanini, who made a series of recordings with the orchestra in the Queen's Hall from 1937 to 1939.

The BBC often ask composers of today to write music for the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Composers whose new works they have performed include Sally Beamish, Harrison Birtwistle Elliott Carter, James MacMillan, John Tavener and Mark-Anthony Turnage.

The orchestra plays a big part in the BBC Proms, the season of concerts played every summer at the Royal Albert Hall. It plays on both the first and last nights of the prom season. It also plays several concerts in the Barbican during the year. They often make recordings in the BBC studios. They can often be seen on BBC Television. Sometimes they go on tour to other countries. They also play concerts for young people as part of an education programme.

There are other professional BBC orchestras and groups: the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the BBC Big Band and the BBC Singers. There are also two amateur choruses: the BBC Symphony Chorus and the BBC National Chorus of Wales.

Chief conductors of the BBC Symphony Orchestra


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