Thomas Søndergård is to remain principal conductor with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for at least two more years. The Danish conductor joined the orchestra in 2012 for an initial four years and has now extended his contract until at least 2018. During that time he plans to complete the Mahler symphony cycle he’s already begun with the Welsh orchestra.
‘From the moment I played Brahms’s Fourth Symphony with this orchestra I knew there was something special about their sound,’ Søndergård told BBC Music Magazine last August. ‘[The strings] really did blow me away. It’s a great band in general. But the strings? Really extraordinary.’
And he added today: ‘We’re on an exciting musical journey together, with some amazing performances so far. To complete a Mahler symphony cycle with my orchestra is such a special and important project for me.’
The BBC NOW has recently made headlines for its adventurous trip to Patagonia and for the appointment of Xian Zhang as principal guest conductor from September 2016. She will be the first woman to hold a permanent conducting position with a BBC orchestra. It’s also been involved in the BBC’s successful Ten Pieces educational project.