The Brighton Philharmonic’s 90th concert season has just begun, and just in terms of our survival this is a remarkable set of programmes. The repertoire is purposefully as varied as it could be, and reflects the influence of our guest conductors and soloists whom I welcome to the rostrum with the greatest enthusiasm. I am delighted that Natasha Paremski was able to perform with us for the first time, and the pairing of the Rachmaninov with the Shostakovich created a challenging and exciting start to the season.
Our second concert is in complete contrast, opening with Schubert’s Marche Militaire, a reminder and reflection of the orchestra’s first concert in 1925. The Strauss concerto is a particular favourite of mine, and in Nicholas Daniel’s masterly hands this performance will give us all the greatest musical pleasure. We are fortunate to be joined once again by the Brighton Festival Chorus for two magnificent Parry choral works.
The third concert is a celebration of the wealth and variety of British orchestral music and, perhaps surprisingly, many of these works have not been heard in Brighton for a long time. I know you will enjoy Richard Balcombe’s interpretation of these brilliantly evocative and atmospheric works, especially The Lark Ascending with our leader John Bradbury as soloist.
The rest of the season is no less varied, commencing on New Year’s Eve with our annual Viennese Gala concert to transport us to 19th century Vienna through the delightful waltz music of the Strauss family.
I hope you will find the music we have chosen this season has the right mix of the familiar alongside great works which don’t get played as often as they should. I wish you all enjoyable and rewarding concert experiences.
Many of you will no doubt know by now that Barry Wordsworth has recently stepped down after a total of 12 years as Music Director of the Royal Ballet to become its Principal Guest Conductor.
In tandem with this, Barry will be moving to a new role with the Brighton & Hove Philharmonic Society to become Conductor Laureate after 26 years as Music Director. We are delighted to announce that we shall continue to enjoy Barry’s charismatic leadership of the orchestra throughout next season and beyond. The programme for our 2015/16 season is almost complete and we know that Barry is planning to conduct as many as six of the concerts.
In the meantime we are fortunate that Ian Brignall, our highly efficient Concert Manager, has been working closely with Barry in planning our programmes. He will continue to do so while we consider whom to appoint as Music Director of the Society in the longer term. We are therefore confident that you will see and hear no difference in the concerts next season.
Barry has been only the third Music Director in the 90 year history of the Society and we shall be marking his huge part in our story after the final concert of the season. We will be making a presentation to Barry to mark the occasion, to which I am sure you will wish to contribute. If you wish to do so, please send your donation to Catherine Stead at the BHPS office, marking any cheque on the back as “Barry Wordsworth donation”.