The Hallé has announced its first new orchestra leader in 25 years. The role goes to violinist Roberto Ruisi, who studied at the Royal College of Music and was awarded the prestigious Tagore Gold Medal. Ruisi has already appeared as a guest leader for many orchestras, including L’Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

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As leader of the Hallé, he will have use of a 1695 Stradivarius violin, known as the ‘Lincoln Strad’. This extraordinary instrument was given to the City of Lincoln in 1970 by the Hon. Mrs Dudley Pelham, and is on loan to the leader of the Hallé.

Ruisi will make his debut as leader of the Hallé at The Bridgewater Hall on Thursday 6 October, in a performance conducted by the orchestra's music director, Sir Mark Elder. The performance includes Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3 and Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben.

'I remember watching the Hallé rehearse when I was only a teenager, with Sir Mark Elder conducting,' Ruisi reveals. 'Their previous leader, Lyn Fletcher, was a mentor of mine and invited me to come and watch. I was utterly blown away. To now be in a position to join this cherished orchestra as its new leader is an honour.'

Picture of new Hallé orchestra leader Roberto Ruisi
Roberto Ruisi, the Hallé's new orchestra leader. Pic: Tom Stephens

In other Hallé news, composer Dobrinka Tabakova has been appointed artist in residence for the orchestra's 2022-23 season. Tabakova is a composer of ‘exciting, deeply moving’ music (Washington Times), with ‘glowing tonal harmonies and grand, sweeping gestures [which] convey a huge emotional depth’ (The Strad). She has been commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society, BBC Radio 3 and the European Broadcasting Union.

Her debut profile album String Paths, on ECM Records, was praised internationally and nominated for a Grammy in 2014. It also earned a five-star review from us here at BBC Music magazine.

In 2017 Tabakova was appointed Composer in Residence with the BBC Concert Orchestra, which gave the premiere of her Timber & Steel at the 2019 Proms, in a special concert celebrating Sir Henry Wood’s 150th anniversary. The Patience of Trees, her concerto for violin, strings and percussion, was premiered at the Manchester Festival in 2021, and a new album is scheduled to be released on ECM Records in the coming year.

'These are two thrilling appointments, both of which will enrich our great orchestra,' said Sir Mark Elder. '[In] Roberto Ruisi we have a hugely talented violinist and leader whose youth and dynamism will lead this great orchestra’s pioneering spirit in the years to come. We are all looking forward to his debut in Manchester in Ein Heldenleben, with its formidable violin solo.

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'Dobrinka Tabakova’s music has already been recognised around the world, and her ability to connect audiences and musicians with her compositions is remarkable. These are exciting times for the Hallé and I look forward to working with both of these new members of the Hallé family.'

Authors

Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.