The BBC Philharmonic celebrates Manchester’s remarkable musical heritage and vibrant cultural life in its new season, The Mancunian Way, at Bridgewater Hall.

  • The season includes two world premieres by composers with strong links to Manchester: Emily Howard and visiting Professor at the RNCM Gary Carpenter
  • Building on Manchester’s tradition of ambitious artistic festivals, Strauss’s Voice is a complete cycle of Richard Strauss’s orchestral songs jointly presented by The Bridgewater Hall’s residents the BBC Philharmonic, The Hallé and Manchester Camerata
  • The Strauss celebrations culminate in a joint performance between the BBC Philharmonic and The Hallé of An Alpine Symphony and the rarely performed Festival Prelude led by BBC Philharmonic Chief Conductor Juanjo Mena

The BBC Philharmonic’s 2013-14 season, The Mancunian Way, celebrates Manchester’s remarkable musical heritage and vibrant culture.

On 28 September BBC Philharmonic Chief Conductor Juanjo Mena will launch the tributes to the composers and musicians who have contributed to the city’s reputation as a centre of musical excellence. All concerts will be recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio 3.

Performances of pieces such as Elgar’s First Symphony, which was premiered in Manchester in 1908, contrast with new works commissioned by Radio 3 as part of the BBC Philharmonic and The Hallé’s award winning Mahler in Manchester festival in 2010. Composers with close links to the city like William Walton and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies are set alongside rising stars of today such as Emily Howard and Gary Carpenter. The season opens with Anthony Burgess’s A Manchester Overture.

Pianist Stephen Hough is Artist-in-Residence for the season. An alumnus of both the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and Chetham’s School of Music, he comments: “It is wonderful to be [here]… in a city where I learned my most valuable music lessons. It always feels like coming home.”

He will play concerti by Brahms, Liszt and Schumann.

Strauss’s Voice

Over the past decade Manchester’s musical giants have combined forces to present memorable celebratory surveys of Mahler and Shostakovich. In a spirit of partnership which is unique in the UK, the city’s great institutions are once again coming together to explore the music of Strauss in his 150th anniversary year.

The BBC Philharmonic and the Hallé divide the spoils with Manchester Camerata and The Bridgewater Hall performing all 41 of Strauss’s orchestral songs in a special festival entitled Strauss’s Voice. Nine concerts over seven weeks from 18 January to 8 March will feature his songs, performed by some of the world’s leading Straussian interpreters including Soile Isokoski, Roderick Williams, Inger Dam-Jensen, Susan Gritton and Hilevi Martinpelto.

The centrepiece of the celebrations takes place on 23 January 2014 when Juanjo Mena will lead the combined forces of the BBC Philharmonic and The Hallé in Strauss’s mighty An Alpine Symphony alongside the rarely performed Festival Prelude.

Juanjo Mena conducts his orchestra in eight concerts this season (his third as Chief Conductor). On 1 November he will introduce Emily Howard’s world premiere Axon (commissioned by Radio 3) and he will conduct pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii for the first time. Tsujii, who will play Grieg’s Piano Concerto, has forged a close relationship with the BBC Philharmonic after touring Japan with the orchestra twice, in 2011 and 2013.

New Music

ManchesterOn 6 December, Mena presents a modern programme featuring works by Adès, Adams and Gruber along with Ritmos by his compatriot Joaquin Turina and Estancia by the Argentinian Ginastera. Mena’s admired recordings for Chandos with the BBC Philharmonic include Turina’s Danzas Fantasticas and Falla’s Nights in the Garden of Spain.

The orchestra’s resident Composer/Conductor HK Gruber returns to the orchestra he terms his ‘Rolls Royce’ with two concerts. On 18 October he revisits four of the new pieces written to accompany Mahler’s symphonies for the 2010 Mahler in Manchester Festival. Gruber will showcase the companion pieces of Schwertsik, Payne, Glanert and David Matthews. He will also conduct a world premiere of a new concerto by Gary Carpenter on 21 February.

Principal Guest with the BBC Philharmonic John Storgårds returns in the Strauss’s Voice festival on 8 March, when the celebrated lyric Soprano Hilevi Martinpelto will perform a sequence of Strauss’s songs. Storgårds will then bring the programme to a rousing conclusion with the orchestral showpiece for colossal orchestra, Ein Heldenleben.

Conductor Laureate, Gianandrea Noseda, returns to his former home on 8 November to conduct Beethoven’s Third Symphony, Eroica, recalling the outstanding success of his Beethoven Symphony cycle of 2005, another magical and memorable Mancunian musical moment.

Tickets cost from £10 to £35 and can be purchased online: or by calling the Box Office on 0844 907 9000.

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