Looking back at our 2016/17 season

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Our first concert of the season took place on Sun 9 October with Barry Wordsworth at the helm joined by guest soloist Andriy Vytovych (viola) for a rousing programme that included music by Liszt, Walton & Tchaikovsky.


ITV Meridian News came to the morning rehearsal at Brighton Dome to film the orchestra rehearsing and interview Barry Wordsworth (Conductor Laureate) and Ian Brignall (Concert Manager) – click on the link below to watch the result:

BFC from above 2015

This was followed on Sun 6 November by a collaboration with the Brighton Festival Chorus with whom we performed Brahms’ Schicksalsleid (a gem of a piece previously unfamiliar to many) and his magnificent German Requiem under the baton of James Morgan (BFC’s Music Director) with soloists Sarah Tynan (soprano) & Leigh Melrose (baritone). Read the rave reviews this concert engendered at:


On Sun 4 December we celebrated some of the most wonderful orchestral music written for film in a “Best of British Film Scores” concert. You can read what Richard Balcombe our guest conductor had to say about the concert and film music at:

film poster montage

RebeccaBottone (2)A near capacity audience enjoyed our popular New Year’s Eve Viennese Gala on Sat 31 December, joined by regular guest conductor Stephen Bell and soprano Rebecca Bottone. You can find read what Stephen Bell had to say about the concert, and Rebecca, at: and read reviews of the concert at:


Sun 15 January brought two exciting young musical talents to Brighton – guest conductor Ben Gernon and pianist Joseph Moog with a programme of Rossini, Grieg and Dvořák. Enjoyed by another large and appreciative audience who turned out despite the dismal weather, the concert attracted glowing reviews – see: (For those who have asked, Joseph Moog’s encore on Sun 15 January was Rachmaninov‘s Etude-Tableau Op.33, No.8 in G Minor.)

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Our concert on Sun 5 February featured the return of Thomas Carroll in the dual role of conductor and soloist, with symphonies by Mozart and Mendelssohn performed with Haydn’s Cello Concerto No.1.




Sun 5 March was the date of our annual Open Rehearsal for Children when we were delighted to welcome some 500 children and their parents to hear the orchestra rehearse at Brighton Dome – the culmination of our education project this season.  This was followed by an exciting concert conducted by distinguished Romanian conductor Cristian Mandeal and featuring violin virtuoso Chloë Hanslip in a programme of Enescu, Korngold and Elgar.  Reviews of the concert can be found at:




Sun 26 March was our season finale when Conductor Laureate Barry Wordsworth returned with an exciting programme of Kodaly, Schumann & Scriabin. We also welcomed back Martin Roscoe (piano) for a performance of the Schumann Piano Concerto in A Minor – a work brimming over with melody and joy from start to finish. You can read reviews of the concert at:

We also revealed details of next season’s programme at the concert and said a fond farewell to Peter Back, our programme note writer and Pre Concert Interviewer for the last 19 seasons, at a Sponsors Reception after the concert.


Mar 27, 2017

In memoriam

The Brighton Phil is sad to have learned of the recent deaths of three long-standing Friends of the Philharmonic:  Gerald Hinckley, Anna Hunter and Hugh Winter. Our thoughts are with their families and friends at this difficult time.

Mar 27, 2017

Reviews of BPO’s season finale – Sun 26 March

Andrew Connal of The Latest enjoyed the programme on Sunday describing pianist Martin Roscoe‘s performance of the Schumann Piano Concerto “a refined, beautifully judged performance that was enjoyed by audience and orchestra alike.”

He particularly enjoyed the “surging pressure that built steadily and relentlessly into thrilling, brass-blaring climaxes” in Scriabin’s 2nd Symphony, and the “full-blooded Maestoso finale” that “concluded the 2016-17 concert season in great style.”

Read his review in full at:


Dr Brian Hick for Lark Reviews praised Martin Roscoe’s “exceptional music-making which allows the score to unfold and speak for itself. It was a masterly display of understatement which enabled Schumann’s many delights to emerge along the way.” Describing Scriabin’s Second Symphony as “marmite” (you either love it or hate it) he felt it came to “a fine climax with a march motif for the brass which rings with real panache.”

Read his review in full at:


Tom Sayer, writing for The Argus, described the opening piece, Dances of Galánta, as “a very enticing starter, fiery and full of flavor”, and relished the pounding timpani section in the final movement Scriabin’s Second Symphony. He also noted the BPO’s 2017/2018 season programme, which was revealed at the concert, included “plenty of pieces to interest younger listeners including compositions by Ravel, Mussorgsky, Saint-Saëns and Sibelius, as well as some of the classics from Brahms, Mozart, Haydn & Beethoven.”

His review will be published in The Argus shortly.

Mar 27, 2017

The Brighton Phil’s 2017/18 concert season revealed

We are delighted to be able to reveal the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert programme for our next season at Brighton Dome from October 2017 – March 2018.


You can download a pdf version at:

Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Mon 4 September although Friends of the Philharmonic benefit from priority booking during the month of June (details of which will be included in the Society’s next newsletter).

Mar 26, 2017

Peter Back previews Sunday’s concert (26 March)

MartinRoscoe3Martin Roscoe is quite simply one of the most admired and respected pianists of his generation. Equally at home in concerto, recital and chamber performances he describes himself as a musical all-rounder, or more specifically as “a musician who plays the piano, rather than a pianist”. It is an interesting, typically self-effacing definition suggesting that his performances aim to serve the music and the composer’s intentions rather than imposing his own personality on either.


On Sunday, as the guest of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra, he will turn his flawless technique and musicianship to Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, a work held together by a pervading sense of joy that surges through the work from beginning to end, belying the alarming deterioration in the composer’s physical and mental health during the period of its composition. It was a work that was to influence both Grieg and Rachmaninov in the creation of their concerti for piano and orchestra.

Conductor Laureate Barry Wordsworth makes a welcome appearance on Sunday to bring the Philharmonic’s current season to a close with a performance of Alexander Scriabin’s Second Symphony. The heart of this glorious work is a sumptuously-coloured slow movement, while the finale achieves the universal appeal the composer aimed for with a triumphant march. The concert begins with Kodály’s Dances of Galánta, an orchestral evocation of the small Hungarian market town’s long established gypsy band, full of exciting rhythm and brilliantly colourful orchestration.

There is much to look forward to then in this, the final concert of the Brighton Philharmonic’s 92nd season. The Orchestra has maintained its high performance standards throughout with a wonderfully diverse programme of music. I look forward with eager anticipation to its 93rd season.

Peter Back

Mar 21, 2017

Philharmonia – a poem by Leonard Goldman dedicated to Barry Wordsworth and the Brighton Phil



Barry Wordsworth was deeply touched to receive the following poem from centenarian Leonard Goldman who says:

“As an almost lifelong supporter of the Brighton Phil, I penned this little ode, which I thought might be of interest.”




The music swells and saturates the senses,

Invading all one’s spiritual defences.

Our wandering souls are active, can’t keep still,

As we’re all the captives of the wondrous Brighton Phil.


Yes, music is the heavenly food of love.

The Bard has told us so and we can surely prove

That there’s wisdom in that memorable quotation;

Because harmonious sounds arouse such deep sensation.


Play on, musicians, help us keep our sanity,

Your skills the very essence of humanity.

When suffering souls are deep in mournful gloom,

You can sow the seeds that make the flowers bloom.


In addition to a book of poetry Leonard has published his autobiography in three volumes: Oh What a Lovely Shore: Brighton in the Twenties Through the Eyes of a Schoolboy, Brighton Beach to Bengal Bay: The Adventures of a Young Man in Thirties London and Wartime India, and Back to Brighton: Return to That Lovely Shore.

Barry is looking forward to meeting Leonard (who celebrated his 100th birthday last August) and his wife Rita after the concert on Sunday 26 March.

Mar 20, 2017

Martin Roscoe (piano)



“…I haven’t heard playing from any recent pianist that surpasses Roscoe’s…”

BBC Music Magazine (October 2012)

The Brighton Phil is delighted to welcome back Martin Roscoe as our guest soloist for our season finale on Sun 26 March when he will perform Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor – a work brimming over with melody and joy from start to finish.

With an extraordinary career spanning over 4 decades, Martin Roscoe is unarguably one of the UK’s best loved pianists. Renowned for his versatility at the keyboard, Martin is equally at home in concerto, recital and chamber performances. In an ever more distinguished career, his enduring popularity and the respect in which he is universally held are built on a deeply thoughtful musicianship allied to an easy rapport with audiences and fellow musicians alike.

With a repertoire of over 100 concertos performed or recorded Martin works regularly with many of the UK’s leading orchestras, having especially close links with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Hallé, Manchester Camerata, Northern Chamber Orchestra and with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, where he has given over ninety performances. Martin has also performed with orchestras and festivals across Europe, Canada, Australia and the Far East, and shared the concert platform with eminent conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder and Christoph von Dohnányi.

A prolific recitalist and chamber musician, Martin tours the UK extensively every season, including regular appearances at Wigmore Hall and Kings Place. He has long-standing associations with Peter Donohoe, Kathryn Stott, Tasmin Little and the Endellion and Maggini Quartets as well as more recent collaborations with Jennifer Pike, Ashley Wass, Matthew Trusler, Liza Ferschtman and the Brodsky, Escher and Vertavo Quartets. One of his most important ensembles, the Cropper Welsh Roscoe Trio, performed many times across the UK, most notably at Wigmore Hall.

Recent highlights include BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, whilst future plans include engagements with the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Northern Chamber Orchestra.

Martin is Artistic Director of Ribble Valley International Piano Week, Beverley Chamber Music Festival and the Manchester Chamber Concerts Society.

Having made over 500 broadcasts, including seven BBC Prom appearances, Martin is one of the most regularly played pianists on BBC Radio 3. Martin has also made many commercial recordings for labels such as Hyperion, Chandos and Naxos. He has recorded the complete piano music of Nielsen and Szymanowski, as well as four discs in the Hyperion Romantic Piano Concerto series. For the Deux-Elles label, Martin has recorded the complete Beethoven piano sonatas, the first four discs of which have been released to unanimous critical acclaim. Martin’s most recent disc is Volume 3 of the complete piano music of Dohnányi, released on Hyperion in 2015; the disc has been yet another success with reviews such as “commanding and warm-hearted… a delectable disc” (Gramophone) and “exuberant and expressive…brilliant technical precision” (BBC Music Magazine, 5 stars).

Teaching has always been an important part of Martin’s life and the development of young talent helps him to constantly re-examine and re-evaluate his own playing. He is currently a Professor of Piano at the Guildhall School of Music in London and has been awarded his Fellowship there.

Martin lives in the beautiful English Lake District which provides inspiration and relaxation, and also enables him to indulge his passions for the countryside and hill-walking.

Read more about Martin on his website at:


Mar 20, 2017

Farewell to Peter Back

PeterBackNov14 Peter Back has been writing the programme notes for the Brighton Phil for nearly 20 years and many of you will also know him from his entertaining pre-concert interviews with our guest artists, and the previews he writes for the local press before each of our concerts.

Sadly after much soul-searching Peter has decided that it is now time for him to “hang up his pen”, so to speak, at the end of this current season. In doing so he says:

“Researching and writing about so much music has enhanced my own appreciation and enjoyment and. hopefully, that of our audiences. It has also been a privilege to have played a part in the work of the Brighton & Hove Philharmonic Society.

Above all it is the involvement with both musicians and audience members alike that has given me the most pleasure, with many wonderful memories and some lasting friendships. I have enjoyed feeling part of a team and am grateful to everyone, Barry Wordsworth and John Bradbury in particular, for their interest and encouragement.”

Many of you will recall that Peter’s association with the orchestra dates back to extended illustrated talks given first at the Connaught Adult Education Centre, and then at All Saints Church Parish Room, where the end of each term was often celebrated with a much anticipated tea-party. The Unitarian Church in New Road became the next venue, followed by the Founders Room at Brighton Dome, where noise percolating from the café bar was a distraction, so in recent years Peter has appeared on stage in the Concert Hall, with occasional excursions into Brighton Museum’s Education Room (to avoid clashing with piano and harp tuning). His research has taken him inside libraries in Brighton, London and Cambridge University, and he fondly recalls de-camping to Hove Town Hall for the 75th Birthday Weekend concerts, as well as special pre-season previews at the Sallis Benney Theatre and the Dome’s Studio Theatre.

In Peter’s own words: “It has been, as they often say on television reality shows, quite a journey – but a most pleasurable one. I certainly hope to continue attending the concerts and helping in any way I can to promote the work of this uniquely wonderful orchestra.”

There will be a presentation to Peter at the Sponsors’ Reception immediately following the final concert of the season on Sunday 26 March, which will be attended by the Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Conductor Laureate Barry Wordsworth and musicians from the orchestra. If you would like to contribute to a collection please contact Catherine Stead in the BPO Office.


Mar 19, 2017

Kodály’s Dances of Galánta – Sun 26 March



From an early age Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) expressed delight in the Magyar folk music that surrounded him, while simultaneously developing an interest in mainstream European chamber music.

After polishing his compositional skills in Paris, where he studied with Widor and made the acquaintance of Debussy, he returned to Budapest, aligning his awareness of the latest compositional trends with a continuing interest in folk music. He edited and published collections of folk-songs, many of which had been gathered during his trips around the countryside with his compatriot Béla Bartók.

The Dances of Galánta, written in 1933, is an orchestral evocation of the town’s long established gypsy band. Kodály grew up there and loved the music of the “verbunkos” dance with its melodic syncopation, ornamentation and wide leaps. (The dance had been used in 18th and 19th century Hungary by the recruiting sergeant and his hussars for potential enlistees – the message being that the life of a soldier is endless fun.)

In the course of the five movements the listener is treated to various manifestations of the “verbunkos” style, in which slow figures alternate with fast ones and swagger gives way to foot stomping. The clarinet is given a prominent part reflecting the role of the single-reed tárogató in Hungarian folk music. Everything is filtered through the composer’s colourful brand of brilliantly orchestrated modernism.

Hear this infectious Hungarian music performed by the Brighton Phil on Sun 26 March at Brighton Dome, under the baton of Conductor Laureate Barry Wordsworth. Tickets from £12-£37 from Brighton Dome Ticket Office (012723) 709709 or

Mar 18, 2017
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