Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra embarks on new season

Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra returns to live concerts after a year of pandemic postponements.

Joanna MacGregor
Joanna MacGregor

Before lockdown the orchestra appointed Joanna MacGregor as their new music director. Covid delayed her first season: but one year on, her programme is being reinstated at Brighton Dome Concert Hall and other venues across the city. Joanna has come up with a programme for the BPO featuring Mozart, Brahms, Elgar and Ravel and also including film, folk music and Argentinian tango.

BPO’s opening concert on September 26 at the Dome is boldly celebratory, with MacGregor directing two of Mozart’s most popular piano concertos, alongside Benjamin Britten and Piazzolla tangos. The season continues with guest soloists sopranos Gillian Keith and Rebecca Bottone, award-winning folk musician Kathryn Tickell, film aficionado Neil Brand, pianist Junyan Chen and conductor Sian Edwards.

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“The past months have made us realise how important live performance is, and we’re thrilled to be back,” Joanna said.

The 2021-22 season is Joanna MacGregor’s first with the BPO, and alongside their regular Brighton Dome Concert Hall events Joanna has programmed a number of chamber music concerts, featuring the orchestra’s star players, at Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts and St Luke’s Church (Queens Park). Tickets from Brighton Dome box office.

Coming up (all dates at Brighton Dome Concert Hall starting at 2.45pm unless stated):

Sunday, September 26: Young Apollo: Britten, Mozart and Piazzolla. In a vivacious opening to the 2021 season, Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra’s music director Joanna MacGregor directs two of Mozart’s most cherished piano concertos from the keyboard, mixed with the excitement of Britten’s Young Apollo and the tango of Piazzolla.

Sunday, November 7: Playing with Fire: Handel, Bach, Rebel and Vivaldi. This feast of Baroque music celebrating the elements – earth, fire, air and water – is directed from the harpsichord by Robert Howarth, joined by soprano Gillian Keith.

Sunday, November 14: Coffee Concert: Folk Inspired: ACCA, University of Sussex. Presented by Brighton Dome in association with Strings Attached, this chamber concert will draw together Irish folk music by Frank Martin with Dvorák and Shostakovich. It will feature the BPO’s star string players with music director Joanna MacGregor.

Sunday, December 5: A Celtic Christmas: Kathryn Tickell and Friends: A first collaboration between Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra and Kathryn Tickell. Kathryn is the foremost exponent of Northumbrian pipes, a composer, a performer and raconteur.

Sunday, December 18: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: 3pm and 7pm, St Luke’s Church. Christmas arrives early with two festive performances of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, narrated by Michael Maloney and accompanied by the BPO Brass Quintet.

Friday, December 31: New Year’s Eve: Viennese Classics: Conductor Stephen Bell returns for an afternoon of musical fizz and fun.

Sunday, February 10: Coffee Concert: New Worlds: ACCA, University of Sussex Presented by Brighton Dome in association with Strings Attached. George Gershwin’s Summertime is partnered by his bluesy Lullaby for string quartet, alongside romantic music by Amy Beach and Robert Schumann.

Sunday, February 13: The European Connection: Ravel, Fauré and Mendelssohn. Conducted by BPO’s conductor laureate Barry Wordsworth.

Sunday, March 6: Silent Classics: A fun-packed programme featuring the 1920 films Oliver Twist and One Week starring Buster Keaton. Brighton Philharmonic joins forces with Neil Brand (improvising pianist, film historian and composer) in an exciting performance of silent film and live music.

Sunday, March 27: Season Finale: Brahms, Elgar and Mozart: BPO’s 2021-22 season closes with a powerful programme conducted by Sian Edwards, known for her work at Glyndebourne and English National Opera, as well as with Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra de Paris and St Pe-tersburg Philharmonic.