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BBC Philharmonic

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Biography

The BBC Philharmonic is a professional broadcasting symphony orchestra based in Manchester, England. It is one of five orchestras maintained by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

The 2ZY Orchestra was formed in 1922 for a Manchester radio station of the same name. It gave the first broadcast performances of many famous English works, including Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius and Enigma Variations and Holst’s The Planets. The orchestra was part-funded by the British Broadcasting Company (precursor of the BBC), and re-named the Northern Wireless Orchestra in 1926.

When the BBC Symphony Orchestra was established in London in 1930, the new Corporation cut its regional orchestras’ funding. The Northern Wireless Orchestra was downsized to just 9 players, and renamed the Northern Studio Orchestra. Three years later, however, the BBC reversed its decision and maintained a full orchestra again - this time called the BBC Northern Orchestra. This was the beginning of the orchestra in its present form.

The many distinguished conductors the Orchestra has worked with include Sir Charles Groves, Raymond Leppard, George Hurst, Bryden Thomson, Jiri Belohlavek, Sir Georg Solti, Neeme Jarvi, Paavo Jarvi and Sir Charles Mackerras. Gianandrea Noseda is currently Principal Conductor and Yan Pascal Tortelier is Conductor Laureate. The Orchestra’s policy of introducing new and adventurous repertoire to its programmes has meant that a large number of composers have also worked with the Orchestra as conductors, among them Berio, Copland, Penderecki, Tippett and Walton.

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