Britain loves its orchestras and it is not just the capital city that has dominance over the rest of the country. Liverpool and Manchester and other great regional cultural cities have great orchestras of their own. Having your own classical orchestra sort of identifies your city as somewhere that embraces the arts and likes the finer things in life. We have put together a list of the best orchestras currently in Britain starting in Manchester and the most respected Halle.
Based in the impressive Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, the Halle Orchestra is now in its 161st season and remains among the elite of Britain’s best. Its reputation is based on achieving artistic excellence and their performances relay this. The orchestra was formed by Sir Charles Halle and the first performance was in 1858. The Halle is a hard-working orchestra and performs a minimum of seventy concerts a year. On top of this, they tour extensively and are featured both on the TV and Radio regularly. The orchestra’s current players come from fourteen different countries and many of them teach at the Royal Northern College of Music.
The London Symphony Orchestra is famed throughout the world, it has a glitzy reputation and is very much the glamour boy of British Orchestras. Financed by the Corporation of London this orchestra can attract the top performers from around the world. Based at the Barbican Center the orchestra certainly has a prestigious address. But London is not the only beneficiary of this wonderful orchestra, it also spends time in New York, Paris, and Tokyo. It also regularly tours the Far East and North America.
Britain’s population has been entertained by the BBC Symphony Orchestra since it started in 1930. Before TV’s had invaded our homes, families gathered around the radio to listen to news and also of course music. In a way the BBC Symphony Orchestra has provided the soundtrack to British life through some of the most momentous times the country has faced. Including WWII, when the radio broadcasted much needed entertainment to keep spirits up. Of course, the orchestra plays a main part in the BBC Proms which is revered all over the globe.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra has built a reputation on being very forward thinking and taking classical music into the 21st Century. The orchestra regularly performs concerts but is also often used for film soundtracks, it even has its own record label which confirms its embrace of modern culture. The Philharmonic also works tirelessly to bring classical music to the younger generation and through special activities in schools and colleges it makes classical music fun for youngsters. Based at the Royal Festival Hall since 1951, the orchestra can often be seen on the south coast as well as the featured orchestra for the auspicious Glyndebourne Festival. Touring the world is also a major part of the orchestra’s itinerary which included an extensive Asian tour in 2018.