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.

Wigglesworth, Mark


Born in Sussex, Mark Wigglesworth studied music at Manchester University and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Whilst still a student, he formed The Premiere Ensemble, an orchestra committed to performing a new piece in every programme. A few weeks after leaving the Academy, he won the Kondrashin International Conducting Competition in The Netherlands, and since then has worked with many of the leading orchestras and opera companies of the world.

In 1992 he became Associate Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra; further appointments have included Principal Guest Conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. In addition to concerts with most of the UK's orchestras, Mark Wigglesworth has regularly guest conducted Europe's leading ensembles, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. He has been equally busy in North America, having been invited to conduct the Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal and the Boston Symphony.

Alongside his symphonic conducting, Mark Wigglesworth has always been equally at home in the opera house, beginning with a period as Music Director of Opera Factory, London, and since involving Glyndebourne, Welsh National Opera and English National Opera, as well as engagements with the Netherlands Opera, La Monnaie in Brussels, the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Carter, Roy

Roy Carter began playing the oboe at the age of ten. At the age of twelve he was awarded a Junior Exhibition to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Margaret Eliot. When he was sixteen, Roy won an open scholarship to study full time under Terence McDonough at the Royal College of Music, where he won the Joy Boughton Memorial Prize for oboe whilst in his second year of study.
After leaving the Royal College, Roy joined the Philharmonia as second oboe. After a short period there, he was appointed Principal, Oboe with the English National Opera Orchestra.
During his freelance career Roy has played Principal, Oboe in most of Britain’s leading orchestras inlcuding the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, the Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, City of London Sinfonia and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and was Professor of Oboe at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Roy joined Northern Sinfonia as Principal, Oboe in October 2005.

London Symphony Orchestra

London Symphony Orchestra

The London Symphony Orchestra is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading orchestras. Its many activities include an energetic and ground-breaking education and community programme LSO Discovery, a record company LSO Live, a music education centre LSO St Luke's and pioneering work in the field of digital music.

Since its formation in 1904 it has always attracted excellent players from all over the world, many of whom have flourishing solo, chamber music and teaching careers alongside their orchestral work. The LSO draws on an enviable roster of soloists and conductors, including Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev, LSO President Sir Colin Davis, and Principal Guest Conductors Daniel Harding and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Continuing the Orchestra’s long association with film music, the LSO has recently recorded soundtracks for Twilight: New Moon, Tamara Drewe and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Parts 1 & 2). The orchestra also features on radio, TV, computer games and in-flight music programmes, and has launched the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, the world’s first-ever online orchestra.

Tilson Thomas, Michael

Tilson Thomas

Michael Tilson Thomas is Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Born in Los Angeles, he began his formal studies at the University of Southern California, thereafter working with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen and Copland on premieres of their compositions at Los Angeles' Monday Evening Concerts. During this same period he was the pianist and conductor for Gregor Piatigorsky and Jascha Heifetz.

In 1969, after winning the Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood, he was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He was Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic from 1971-79 and a Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1981 to 1985. His guest conducting includes appearances with the major orchestras of Europe and the United States.

His recorded repertoire of more than 120 discs includes works by composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Mahler, Prokofiev and Stravinsky as well as his pioneering work with the music of Charles Ives, Carl Ruggles, Steve Reich, John Cage, Ingolf Dahl, Morton Feldman, George Gershwin, John McLaughlin and Elvis Costello. He recently finished recording the complete orchestral works of Gustav Mahler with the San Francisco Symphony.

As Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1988 to 1995, Mr. Tilson Thomas led the orchestra on regular tours in Europe, the United States and Japan as well as at the Salzburg Festival. In London he and the orchestra have mounted major festivals focusing on the music of Steve Reich, George Gershwin, Johannes Brahms, Toru Takemitsu, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov and the School of St. Petersburg, Claude Debussy and Gustav Mahler. As Principal Guest Conductor of the LSO, he continues to lead the orchestra in concerts in London and on tour.

His fifteen-year tenure as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony has been broadly covered by the international press with feature stories in Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Times of London and The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung among many others. With the San Francisco Symphony he has presented eight summer festivals including ones devoted to the music of Mahler, Stravinsky, Wagner and American Mavericks. With the San Francisco Symphony he has made numerous tours of Europe, United States and the Far East.


City of London Sinfonia

City of London Sinfonia

Firmly established as one of the UK's leading chamber orchestras, City of London Sinfonia (CLS) was founded in 1971 by the late Richard Hickox and celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Led by Stephen Layton (Artistic Director & Principal Conductor) and Michael Collins (Principal Conductor), the Orchestra has earned a reputation for strong, distinctive programming, outstanding performances and recordings, and a passion for music featuring the voice.

Performing throughout the UK and abroad, CLS makes regular appearances at all the major London concert halls and venues, as well as St Paul's Cathedral and other venues in the City of London. It has been resident orchestra at the capital's popular Opera Holland Park since 2004 and holds a long-standing residency in High Wycombe, as well as being a regular guest at major UK festivals. In addition the Orchestra performs lively Crash, Bang, Wallop! family concerts offering young listeners an exciting and interactive introduction to classical music.

CLS has made over one hundred recordings including a series of operas by Benjamin Britten on the Chandos label and won a Grammy Award for Best Opera for its recording of Peter Grimes.

Extending their innovative reach and approach, CLS musicians deliver professional skills training for corporate businesses, offering a creative approach to supporting achievement and performance. Founded in 2000, Development through Music is a pioneering programme and one of the first of its kind in the country.

Hickox, Richard


Richard Hickox was one of the most active and well-known conductors in Britain, with a strong international reputation, especially for performing music of his native country. He began conducting at the age of 16 and, after studies at the Royal College of Music and Queen's College, where he was an organ scholar, he founded the City of London Sinfonia in 1971, of which he remained musical director until his death.

In 1972 he became organist and master of music at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, remaining in that position until 1982. In 1977 he was appointed conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and in 1982 became the music director of the Northern Sinfonia in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He is credited with re-establishing that orchestra as an ensemble of stature, confirmed by a highly successful tour of the United States and a complete Beethoven symphony recording cycle for the ASV label. He was associate conductor of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra from 1982 to 1985, and took the same title at the London Symphony Orchestra in 1985. He shared leadership duties with Simon Standage for Collegium Musicum 90, a period-instrument group the two founded.

All this activity made Hickox a very familiar face on the British music scene. With his various choral and orchestral ensembles he frequently appeared at the major British music festivals and at the BBC Proms Concerts. He participated in several notable special projects, including a BBC video production of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and an appearance in the Istanbul Festival leading a production of Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio inside the actual sultans' seraglio in the Topkapi Museum. He also provided music for a Ken Russell film for the BBC on the wives of great composers.

He guest conducted around the world, including frequent appearances with the Los Angeles Opera and the New Japan Philharmonic in Tokyo. He made over 300 recordings and won numerous awards, including a Gramophone Award in 1992 for his account of Britten's War Requiem, and three Gramophone Awards, a Diapason d'Or, the Deutsche Schalplattenpreis, and a Grammy for his recording of Britten's Peter Grimes in 1995 on the Chandos label, probably the most honored classical recording of the last quarter of the twentieth century. His recordings appeared on the ASV, Argo, EMI, and Virgin labels, and in the early '90s he had been an exclusive Chandos artist. More recording awards were received in 2001 and 2006 for the music of Vaughan Williams and Stanford, respectively. In 2005, he was appointed director of the Opera Australia. Hickox died of a heart attack following a recording session in Wales in November 2008.

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An encore for three cult works previously issued as singles on NMC and now available on one disc: Howard Skempton's Lento; Dominic Muldowney's Oboe Concerto; and Barry Guy's After the Rain.


"After the Rain wears its heart on its sleeve which, given the urgency of its images and the freshness of its inspiration, is precisely where it should be."

Gramophone 1994


Skempton: Lento

Recording date: 9 August 1991
Recording venue: Royal Albert Hall, London
Engineer: Helen Robson /  Producer: Martin Cotton

Muldowney: Oboe Concerto
Recording date: 1 October 1992
Recording venue: Henry Wood Hall, London
Engineer: Tryggvi Tryggvason, Geoff Miles /  Producer: Colin Matthews

Guy: After the Rain
Recording date: 10 May 1992
Recording venue: All Saints Petersham
Engineer: Tryggvi Tryggvason, Andrew Hallifax /  Producer: Colin Matthews

Cover image: Michael Trevillion

(P) 1996 NMC Recordings Ltd

Chester Novello
Oxford University Press
Catalogue number:
NMC D032
Release Date:
1 February 1997