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About Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is one of Britain's oldest orchestras, and among the country's regional orchestras (its mission is to serve South and South West England), it has attracted an unusually strong roster of international conductors and collaborators. The orchestra has premiered an impressive number of significant 20th century British works. The Bournemouth Symphony was founded by the city of Bournemouth in 1893 and was called the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra until 1954. Its musical organizer and first director was Dan Godfrey, a bandmaster's son who also helped the BBC Philharmonic and BBC Symphony Orchestras. It began as a wind band but added strings and began performing symphonic repertory two years later. Godfrey remained the orchestra's music director until 1933, performing numerous concerts of British music including one, in 1927, consisting entirely of music by women composers. The orchestra's fame was spread by radio broadcasts in the 1930s, but it was reduced to a Sunday-only concert schedule during World War II. After the war, the orchestra rebuilt its schedule and grew in size under conductors Rudolf Schwarz and Charles Groves, taking its present name in 1954. Romanian conductor Constantin Silvestri expanded the orchestra's international reputation, and all its conductors since then have come from outside Britain. Silvestri also helped organize a chamber music offshoot, the Bournemouth Sinfonietta. Finland's Paavo Berglund (1972-1979) was succeeded by the Israeli Uri Segal and, from 1982 to 1988, by the Soviet Russian Rudolf Barshai. Andrew Litton (1988-1994) was the orchestra's first American conductor; he was succeed by the Russian-American Yakov Kreizberg and by the orchestra's first female conductor, Marin Alsop. The Ukrainian Kirill Karabits has been principal conductor since 2009. Under the last several conductors, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has amassed a catalog of more than 85 recordings, issuing as many as seven in a single year. A 1997 album featuring the oratorio Belshazzar's Feast won a Grammy award in the U.S. Many Bournemouth recordings have appeared on the Naxos label, but the orchestra has also recorded periodically for Warner Classics and Chandos; on the latter label, under Karabits, the group released an album of music by Ukrainian composer Boris Lyatoshynsky in 2019. ~ James Manheim

ORIGIN
Bournemouth, Dorset, England
FORMED
1893

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