BBC National Orchestra of Wales celebrates its 90th birthday

To mark its birthday week, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales will be celebrating on air, online and in concert

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BBC National Orchestra of Wales celebrates its 90th birthday
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The BBC National Orchestra of Wales has helped shape the cultural and classical landscape of Wales over its 90-year history.

In a live-streamed concert, the orchestra will be performing works from some of its earliest and most notable concerts, which will take place exactly 90 years after the orchestra’s debut in 1928. Michael Garvey, director of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, describes the concert as a ‘first in a series of digital events that we are excited to be planning… [specifically combining iconic orchestral pieces] with archive footage and anecdotes’. It will be available to watch on bbc.co.uk/bbcnow at 7.30pm on Thursday 12 April, and will then be on iPlayer.

Afternoon concerts will be featured on BBC Radio 3 every day next week, with programmes exploring the role the orchestra plays in showcasing the work of Welsh composers, as well as its key artistic relationships from across the years.

On Friday, Nicola Heywood Thomas will present a live Afternoon Concert from BBC Hoddinott Hall, which looks back at artists and composers that have played significant roles in the orchestra’s development. This programme includes works by Bruch and Mozart, who featured in the orchestra’s very first concert, and Welsh composers Huw Watkins and William Mathias.

BBC Radio Cymru’s show Bore Cothi will explore the orchestra’s history, from the early studios it worked in, to its long-standing relationships with famous Welsh composers including Alun Hoddinott and Grace Williams. The programme will also explore the orchestra’s connections to emerging contemporary Welsh composers, and will feature interviews with current members about their work as part of the National Orchestra of Wales.

Radio 4’s Sunday Worship (on 15 April) will be held in BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff, to mark the orchestra’s 90th birthday, and will feature pieces such as Let all the world in every corner sing by Vaughan Williams, Holy Holy Holy by Hoddinott and For the Beauty of the Earth by Rutter.

In conjunction with its own birthday, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales is delivering ‘Musical Telegrams’ to people celebrating their 90th birthdays across the country. Musicians from the orchestra will perform especially for people in three care homes during its birthday week. Principal tuba player Dan Trodden describes the opportunity as ‘a privilege to share our craft with people who perhaps aren’t able to travel to see the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in the concert hall, and what an honour to share our 90th birthday with them too!’

See this month’s issue of BBC Music Magazine for more TV and radio listings this month. 

  • Article Type: | News |
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