Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra goes online with at-home events

Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra is offering a series of at-home online events this autumn – after having to postpone its annual season at Brighton Dome.

Joanna MacGregor
Joanna MacGregor

Andrea Cifelli, chairman of the Brighton & Hove Philharmonic Society, said: “I really must thank all of our Friends, patrons and music lovers, as well as our players, for the support and encouragement received during this unprecedented time, including the cancellation of this year’s season finale, where we had planned to introduce our new music director, Joanna MacGregor.

“Unfortunately, given the uncertainty around arts events in the near future and our absolute determination not to put our audience or our players at risk, we’ve had to take the decision not to put on a season this coming year.

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“However, Joanna has already put together a fantastic programme for the 2021-2022 season, including music by Mozart and Piazzolla, Bach and Handel, Brahms and Elgar, Shostakovich and Mussorgsky, folk, film and jazz – and much, much more.

“We’re also going to take advantage of our enforced break as an opportunity to take stock, and we’ll be working hard behind the scenes to design a brand-new website, among so many other things. We are so looking forward to kicking-off our new, revitalised programme as we approach our centenary in 2025, and we will be back performing for you just as soon as we can.”

In the meantime, BPO+ offers an ‘at home’ programme of online events from September-November 2020

Sept 13 – Interview with Barry Wordsworth. Music director Joanna MacGregor talks to BPO’s Conductor Laureate Barry Wordsworth about the orchestra’s history and its plans for the future.

Sept 20 – Bach’s French Suite in G Major. Joanna explores one of Bach’s most radiant keyboard works.

Sept 27 – Beethoven’s Variations. Celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday, talking about variations in his sonatas: Op.26, Op.109 and Op.111.

Oct 18 – Satie’s Gnossiennes. The mysterious world of Erik Satie, through his Gnossiennes and other works.

Nov 1 – Nina Simone’s Classicism. Taking her transcriptions of Nina Simone’s Little Girl Blue and Good Bait, Joanna demonstrates Simone’s deep love of classical music.

Nov 22 – Chopin’s Op 30 Mazurkas. Looking closely at four mazurkas, Chopin’s poetic recreation of his roots in Polish folk music.

Joanna MacGregor as music director of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra becomes only the fourth person to hold the principal post in its history.

As a concert pianist, Joanna has performed in more than 80 countries with the world’s leading orchestras and with eminent conductors including Pierre Boulez, Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev and Simon Rattle. Joanna has premiered many landmark works and is a regular broadcaster on TV and radio, making numerous appearances at the BBC Proms. Joanna has been the artistic director of Dartington International Summer School and Festival, Bath International Festival, and of Deloitte Ignite at the Royal Opera House. She has released more than 40 solo recordings – many of them on her own award-winning record label SoundCircus – ranging from Chopin and Piazzolla to Bach and John Cage. Her collaborative projects encompass jazz, film, visual art, contemporary dance and electronica. Since 2015 she has chaired the Paul Hamlyn Composers Awards and was a 2019 Booker Prize Judge. She was appointed CBE in 2019 for services to music.

Joanna said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining this wonderful orchestra, who have been giving concerts for over 95 years. I’m extremely excited to be part of their long, illustrious history, and to build audiences during this challenging time.”

Andrea added: “We’re so excited to have Joanna join us, as we plan for our centenary celebrations. We may have had to postpone the 2020 programme, but it will be worth the wait. The enforced break has given us an opportunity to work with Joanna to develop creative new approaches to programming. We already have incredibly loyal supporters, but turning to online platforms should also give us a chance to reach potential new audiences.”