The Mancunian Way: BBC Philharmonic showcase Manchester’s musical heritage in 2013/4 season

By Eve Commander

When the BBC Philharmonic launches its 2013-14 season on September 28, its title will only confirm something many Mancunians already staunchly testify – Manchester’s illustrious musical pedigree.

However, while many people associate Manchester’s musical dominance with the ‘80’s ‘Madchester scene’ or with bands like Oasis in the ‘90s Britpop invasion, the BBC Philharmonic will be looking back further to celebrate its rich musical heritage.

From Manchester’s renowned classical music venue The Bridgewater Hall, the BBC Philharmonic will be performing a series of 18 concerts.

They will feature some of Manchester’s prestigious composers including William Walton and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies along with pieces that have close ties to the city such as Elgar’s First Symphony, which was first premiered by the Hallé in 1908.

The BBC Philharmonic’s general manager Richard Wigley hopes the 2013-14 season will show how Manchester is a ‘key player’ in the history of orchestral music.

“I wonder if people know the extent of the impact of Manchester on the symphonic world?” he told MM.

“This is a chance to for current day audiences to re-discover the richness and vibrancy of music in Manchester.”

The BBC Philharmonic will be collaborating with a glittering array of internationally acclaimed artists including Manchester-trained musician and piano superstar, Stephen Hough, who is their Artist-in Residence for the Season.

With such a wealth of contemporary and historical musical talent to draw upon in Manchester, Mr Wigley explained how the BBC Philharmonic came to decide on the final program.

“We started with a very long list of composers and artists and then moved to a short list based on their impact on symphonic music,” he said.

“We couldn’t cover everything in these concerts but we can give a sense of the breadth of achievement.”

Given the BBC Philharmonic is widely considered the most ‘edgey’ of the BBC’s four permanent orchestras it is unsurprising that some of the Philharmonic’s concerts will bring some lesser-known Manchester musicians to audiences’ attention.

The first concert will include a performance of a composition by the Manchester author Anthony Burgess, who is more famous for international bestsellers such as Clockwork Orange than his critically-acclaimed musical works.

Asked if the BBC Philharmonic has any other excitements in store for audiences, Mr Wigley told MM: “Yes, we have a surprise piece for the concert of November 16 with an unexpected but iconic piece by a Manchester trained composer….”

If that tantilising teaser wasn’t enough, the New Year will also see the BBC Philharmonic combine with the Hallé and the Manchester Camerata, come together in a communal spirit unique to Manchester ensembles.

They will host Strauss’ Voice, an ambitious series of nine concerts, which will feature all 41 of the composer’s symphonic works in the composer 150th Anniversary Year.

Tickets for the BBC Philharmonic’s concerts cost from £10 to £35. For more information Contact the Bridgewater Hall box Office for further ticket inquires.

Picture courtesy of Alan Stanton, with thanks.

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