The BBC Concert Orchestra has announced that Keith Lockhart is to be its new principal conductor and that Johannes Wildner is to become principal guest conductor.
Originally from Poughkeepsie, New York, Lockhart, 50, has won considerable acclaim as conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, a position he has held since 1995. He was also music director of Utah Symphony from 1998 to 2009.
No stranger to the biggest of occasions – in 2002 he conducted at both the Superbowl and the opening ceremony of the Utah Winter Olympic Games – the US conductor makes his Proms debut this year when he leads the BBC Concert Orchestra in an evening of American and English light music on 30 August.
Wildner, meanwhile, comes to the BBC Concert Orchestra with a CV that includes major conducting posts at Prague State Opera, Leipzig Opera and the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Westphalia. He started his musical life, however, as a violinist in the Vienna Philharmonic.
Formed in 1952, the BBC Concert Orchestra has made its name particularly in the lighter side of the repertoire, though is by no means afraid to sink its teeth into the core classics, and can count the late Sir Charles Mackerras among its notable former principal conductors. In 2008, however, it found itself at the mercy of slightly less adept baton-wielders – such as TV’s ‘King of the Swingometer’ Peter Snow and actress Jane Asher – when it took part in BBC’s Maestro series.