Partly funded by the BBC, this orchestra was originally the orchestra, established in 1922, for the 2ZY radio station in Manchester, England.
It became well known for its acclaimed performances of works by English composers, and in 1926 its name was changed to the Northern Wireless Orchestra. In 1930 the BBC decided it was going to cut the funding for it’s regional orchestras and suddenly what had been a successful orchestra became the 9-member Northern Studio Orchestra. Thankfully the BBC had a change of heart and three years later it was re-installed as a full orchestra taking yet another new title of BBC Northern Orchestra.
During the war they made an effort to continue performing and aside from travelling across dangerous moorland in the pitch black to get to their venues, they also entertained the troops as much as they could.
They began to be taken notice of on a larger scale and were invited to perform at the Proms in 1961 and shared its home with the Halle Orchestra at the Free Trade Hall. After a long fight to be recognised the BBC finally renamed them the BBC Philharmonic in 1982 and allowed them more members.
Now they are regular contributors to BBC Radio 3, perform at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, and make regular international and national tours. Their conductors have included artists such as Charles Groves, George Hurst, James MacMillan, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Yan Pascal Tortelier and they have made over 150 recordings to date.
William Alwyn recordings
Desert Victory – Suite recordings
Chandos CHAN 9959 (CD: The Film Music of William Alwyn, Vol. 2)
Conductor – Rumon Gamba