The Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra was formed by Herbert Menges in May 1925 as the Symphonic String Players ‘to become a large and powerful String Orchestra, and to give periodical concerts of a high standard in Brighton and Hove’.
By 1928 they had already moved into the Brighton Dome and become the fully orchestral ‘Symphonic Players’. Menges remained as Principal Conductor and in 1932 Sir Thomas Beecham was appointed as the orchestra’s first President (a position later held by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten).
In 1972, after 47 years as Principal Conductor and having conducted more than 300 concerts, Herbert Menges died at the age of 69. His successor was John Carewe, whose first concert as Principal Conductor marked the start of the orchestra’s 50th Anniversary season. In 1989 Barry Wordsworth was appointed as only the third Principal Conductor in the BPO’s history. Barry’s distinguished tenure at the helm has been marked by a series of notable performances of both well-known and more unfamiliar works together with a roster of accomplished and distinguished soloists. The past three seasons have seen premieres of new works by Will Todd, Richard Rodney Bennett, Martin Butler and Howard Goodall together with a series of all the Beethoven Symphonies and regular collaborations with the Brighton Festival Chorus and Brighton Festival Youth Choir.
Ten years later the Brighton Dome closed for refurbishment and the BPO returned temporarily to Hove Town Hall, and gave a series of Mozart Piano Concerto concerts in the Theatre Royal Brighton with its current President, John Lill. In 2002 the Dome re-opened, since which time more than 93,000 tickets have been sold for the BPO’s concerts in its home venue.
The orchestra itself is best described as an ‘all star’ line up. That is all the musicians on stage play regularly for other premiere orchestras in London and across the UK and we are fortunate to capture their skills interest and love of the repertoire for our series of Sunday concerts. We share players with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia, London Mozart Players, Britten Sinfonia, English String Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony and Concert Orchestras and the the orchestras of the Royal Opera House and English National Opera.
Further details of the individual glories of our principal players are contained on website.
We look forward to welcoming you once again to our 86th season of concerts. Friends membership scheme can be found on our Brighton Philharmonic Friends Page