Bickley, Susan


Susan Bickley is firmly established as one of the most accomplished mezzo-sopranos of her generation, with a wide repertory encompassing the Baroque, the great 19th and 20th century dramatic roles as well as contemporary repertoire. In 2011 she received the Singer Award at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK.

Bickley has sung on many of the world’s great stages with conductors including Mark Elder, Ingo Metzmacher, Trevor Pinnock, Andrew Davis, Christian Curnyn, and Mark Wigglesworth. Recent opera highlights include appearances at Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Opéra National du Rhin, Opera Vlaanderen, Opéra de Paris, Glyndebourne, Staatsoper Berlin, Salzburg Festival, and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

Concert highlights include appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, with Antonio Pappano and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, at Carnegie Hall, at the Salzburg Festival, multiple appearances with the Hallé Orchestra, the BBC Proms, and the Edinburgh Festival, as well as many other major orchestras.

Image Credit: 
Julie Kim

Walker, Kim


Kim Walker is a bassoonist of Scottish/American origins. She has performed throughout Europe and the US, and in China, and been prominent at leading Music Festivals such as Ravinia, Wolf Trap, Marlboro, Mostly Mozart in the US, Prades, Luzern, Korsholm, Schleswig-Holstein and London Proms in Europe. As a soloist she has performed with the London Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the London Mozart Players, Berlin RIAS orchestra, Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and many other orchestras under the batons of Oliver Knussen, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Richard Hickox, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jane Glover, Arvo Volmer and others.

BBC Symphony Orchestra

BBC Symphony Orchestra

The BBC Symphony Orchestra has played a central role at the heart of British musical life since its inception in 1930, and as the flagship orchestra of the BBC provides the backbone of the BBC Proms with at least a dozen concerts each year, including the First and Last Nights. Strongly committed to twentieth-century and contemporary music, it has given the premiere of more than 1,000 works by composers such as Bartók, Britten, Hindemith, Holst, Stravinsky and Shostakovich, and more recently has premiered BBC commissions by Simon Bainbridge, Jonathan Dove, Michael Nyman and Sir John Tavener among others. Its annual season of concerts as Associate Orchestra of the Barbican includes a weekend each January focusing upon a single composer from the twentieth or twenty-first century, most recently James MacMillan, Elliott Carter and Sofia Gubaidulina.

Jiří Bĕlohlávek took up the post of Chief Conductor in July 2006 and David Robertson was appointed Principal Guest Conductor in 2005. The BBC SO works frequently with Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis and Artist-in-Association John Adams. All concerts are broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and a number are televised, giving the BBC Symphony Orchestra the highest broadcast profile of any orchestra in the UK. The BBC SO is committed to innovative education work, with ongoing projects including the BBC SO Family Orchestra and Music Intro, introducing families to concert-going.

The BBC SO has appeared on 34 of NMC’s CDs, including the best-selling recording of Elgar’s Third Symphony.

The Nash Ensemble

The Nash Ensemble

Artistic Director: Amelia Freedman CBE FRAM

The Nash Ensemble has built up a remarkable reputation as one of Britain's finest chamber groups and, through the dedication of its founder and artistic director Amelia Freedman and the virtuosity of its players, has gained a similar reputation all over the world. The repertoire is vast and the imaginative, innovative and unusual programmes are as finely architectured as the beautiful Nash terraces in London from which the group takes its name. Not that the Nash Ensemble is classically restricted; it performs with equal sensitivity and musicality works from Mozart to the avant-garde, having given first performances of over 255 new works to date. These include 150 commissions especially written for the Group, providing a legacy for generations to come. An impressive collection of recordings illustrates the same varied and colourful combination of classical masterpieces, little-known neglected gems and important contemporary works.

The Nash makes many foreign tours: concerts have been given throughout Europe and the USA, and in South America, Australia and Japan. The group is a regular visitor to many British music festivals and can be heard on radio, television, at their renowned annual series at Wigmore Hall as well as at the Southbank Centre and the BBC Proms, and at music clubs throughout the country. The ensemble has won the Edinburgh Festival Critics' music award 'for general artistic excellence', and two Royal Philharmonic Society awards in the small ensemble category 'for the breadth of its taste and its immaculate performance of a wide range of music'.

Image Credit: 
Hanya Chlala/ PAL

Brabbins, Martyn

Artistic Director of the Cheltenham International Festival of Music 2005-2007, he was Associate Principal Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra 1994-2005. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, a position which started in September 2009. After studying composition in London and then conducting with Ilya Musin in Leningrad, his career was launched when he won first prize at the 1988 Leeds Conductors' Competition. Since then Brabbins has regularly conducted all the major UK orchestras and is much sought-after in Europe, notably in Germany, Holland, Belgium and Scandinavia.   
Brabbins’ symphonic engagements have included appearances at London's  South Bank in subscription with the London Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestras, his Tokyo debut, with the Tokyo Metropolitan (where he returns in 2011); and visits to the Netherlands Radio Chamber in the prestigious Matinee series, the Residentie Orkest, Salzburg Mozarteumorchester and Lahti Symphony.  He is a regular guest with the City of Birmingham Symphony, Halle and BBC Philharmonic orchestras, and appears several times each season with the BBC Symphony and BBC Scottish Symphony orchestras in subscription and at the BBC Proms.
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Bainbridge's Grawemeyer Award-winning Ad ora incerta ('At an uncertain hour'), is a deeply-felt symphonic setting of four poems by Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi. It is coupled with Four Primo Levi Settings.


'The BBC Symphony Orchestra plays beautifully, fully cognisant of the weight of the message being conveyed... Required listening if ever there was.'  BBC Music Magazine


Produced in association with BBC Radio 3


Recording date: 15-16 December 1997 (Ad ora), 20 April 1998 (Settings)

Recording venue: BBC Studio 1, Maida Vale, London (Ad ora), Rosslyn Hill Chapel, London (Settings)

Engineer: Mike Clements
Producers: Colin Matthews (Ad ora), Anthony Burton (Settings)
Editing & mastering: Stephen Johns

Cover image: Photo: Michael Teller/ AKG London

(P) 1999 NMC Recordings Ltd

Chester Novello
Catalogue number:
NMC D059
Release Date:
6 January 1999