Leader: Lesley Hatfield
BBC National Orchestra of Wales occupies a special role as both a broadcast orchestra and the national symphony orchestra of Wales, and is supported by the Arts Council of Wales.
Led by Principal Conductor Thomas Søndergård, alongside Conductor Laureate Tadaaki Otaka the Orchestra has won considerable critical and audience acclaim over the years. With an outstanding ability to refresh core repertoire, the Orchestra is proud of its adventurous programming and continuously demonstrates artistic excellence in new or rarely performed works. As part of this commitment to contemporary music, the Orchestra appointed Mark Bowden as Resident Composer in June 2011, alongside the continuing relationship with Composer-in-Association Simon Holt.
BBC National Orchestra of Wales is Orchestra-in-Residence at St David's Hall, Cardiff, and also performs a season of concerts in Swansea. In addition, the Orchestra tours to towns and cities across Wales throughout the year, including Aberystwyth, Bangor, Wrexham and Llandudno. The Orchestra performs annually at the BBC Proms in London, and also appears biennially at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. Recent international tours include Italy, the Netherlands and most recently a tour to China, supported by the British Council.
Running parallel to the main season, the work of the BBC NOW Education and Community Outreach team is integral to the Orchestra's musical life. In recent years this work has included a DVD resource pack distributed to every primary and special school in Wales; and the development of a new innovative concert format designed for audiences of adults and children who are Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing.
The Orchestra’s home is BBC Hoddinott Hall, a specially designed dual-purpose concert hall and recording studio based in the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay. As well as recording studio sessions and concerts for BBC Radio 3, it enjoys close working relationships with television programme-makers, including Doctor Who for BBC Cymru Wales and the BBC’s Natural History Unit, most notably with composer Nitin Sawhney for the Human Planet series.
The Orchestra also records highly regarded, often award-winning CDs, including the 2011 Grammy nominated Ivanhoe by Arthur Sullivan; the critically acclaimed cycle of Stravinsky’s three scores for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, conducted by Thierry Fischer; a live recording of Havergal Brian’s Gothic Symphony, performed at the BBC Proms 2011 with the BBC Concert Orchestra; and David Matthews’ Symphonies 2 and 6, which won Premiere Recording BBC Music Magazine Award 2011.