BBC Orchestras and Singers
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All of the BBC’s Orchestras and Singers record performances primarily for BBC Radio 3, with the exception of the BBC Concert Orchestra which also has a dual role shared with BBC Radio 2. Recordings are either taken from one of around 400 live concerts each year with an audience, or from studio sessions.
Unusually for BBC departments, all of the ensembles also take part in a number of non-broadcast activities, including festival appearances and international touring, and in education work within their regional communities.
The ensembles managed in England report to the Controller of Radio 3 with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra reporting to BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Scotland respectively.
In 2012, John Myerscough was commissioned to report on potential financial savings of the BBC’s Orchestras and Singers. He recommended no more than 10% budget cuts, highlighting the ensembles' successful range of work.
The two choruses, BBC Symphony Chorus and BBC National Chorus of Wales, are volunteer choristers and are not paid a salary. The BBC Singers are the UK’s only full-time professional chamber choir, and along with the five orchestras, they are full-time salaried musicians whose pay is negotiated with the Musicians' Union (United Kingdom).
In March 2021, it was announced that the BBC Concert Orchestra would relocate to a new city "outside of the M25", as part of wider BBC announcements redistributing hundreds of jobs outside of London.
Current list of ensembles
- BBC Big Band
- BBC Concert Orchestra
- BBC National Chorus of Wales
- BBC National Orchestra of Wales
- BBC Philharmonic
- BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
- BBC Singers
- BBC Symphony Chorus
- BBC Symphony Orchestra
Disbanded BBC ensembles
- BBC Northern Singers (became The Britten Singers in 1991)
- BBC Midland Light Orchestra
- BBC Northern Dance Orchestra
- BBC Northern Ireland Orchestra (absorbed by the Ulster Orchestra)
- BBC Opera Orchestra (formed 1949, disbanded and reformed as the BBC Concert Orchestra, 1952)
- BBC Radio Orchestra (1964-1991)
- BBC Revue Orchestra
- BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra
- BBC Television Orchestra (1936–39, disbanded but reformed as the BBC Revue Orchestra, amalgamated with The BBC Variety Orchestra into the BBC Radio Orchestra, 1964)
- BBC Theatre Orchestra (formed 1931, became the BBC Opera Orchestra in 1949)
- BBC Variety Orchestra (1935-1964)
- BBC West of England Light orchestra (1950-1960)
- BBC West of England Players (1960-1965)
- The New BBC Orchestra (founded 1966, renamed the BBC Training Orchestra in 1968, and then the Academy of the BBC in 1974 - disbanded 1977)
- BBC Chorus
- "BBC National Orchestra of Wales to Tour China with Principal Guest Conductor Xian Zhang | British Council". www.britishcouncil.cn. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
- "Alan Davey". bbc.com. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
- "Orchestra Director, National Orchestra of Wales | Jobs and careers with BBC". careerssearch.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
- "Review of the BBC's Performing Groups". BBC. 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
- "BBC Concert Orchestra relocating to a new location outside the M25". Classical Music. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
- "BBC to move key jobs and programmes out of London". BBC News. 2021-03-18. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
- "BBC to move 400 jobs out of London". The Independent. 2021-03-18. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
- Howard Leader: The BBC Midland Light Orchestra (radio documentary
- The BBC Northern Ireland Orchestra at Masters of Melody
- Radio Times, 10 February 1966, p 3