Vancouver Symphony Orchestra maestro Bramwell Tovey will become the new principal conductor at the BBC Concert Orchestra in January 2018.
Tovey will take the reins from Keith Lockhart, who has held the position for seven years and who will continue in the new role of chief guest conductor.
Tovey has been music director at the VSO since 2000, but will leave the position in 2018 to become the orchestra’s music director emeritus. Tovey will be the longest serving conductor in the history of the organization.
In a statement today about his new post, the British-born and -raised Tovey said: “It is a great pleasure to accept the BBC’s invitation to join the BBC Concert Orchestra as Principal Conductor. My most recent appearance with the BBC Concert Orchestra was to lead them in the UK premiere of one of my own works, Urban Runway and a rare performance of John McEwen’s Solway Symphony for a live Radio 3 relay from Maida Vale - I was hugely impressed by their virtuosity and dedication in both the rehearsal process and performance. The BBC Concert Orchestra is a wonderful ensemble of exceptional musicians whose focus is devoted to sharing the art and spirit of music with its diverse audience. The orchestra’s activities in the field of music education, its commitment to contemporary music and the work of composer-in-residence Dobrinka Tabakova are all of particular interest to me. I am very excited about leading the BBC Concert Orchestra in the years ahead.”
Tovey will conduct the BBC Concert Orchestra publicly for the first time since the announcement on Wednesday (November 22) in a special edition of BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, broadcast live from the orchestra’s base in Watford. The program will include Leonard Bernstein’s Candide Overture and Tovey’s own composition, Lincoln Tunnel Cabaret with trombonist Peter Moore.
The following evening, Tovey will conduct the orchestra in a recording to be broadcast on December 1, BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night, the world’s longest-running live orchestral music program on radio.
Tovey’s new role will see him work with the orchestra for five years, including a Radio 3 concert at Watford Colosseum in February 2018, before leading performances in the BBC orchestra’s 2018-19 season at Southbank Centre. As well as artistic programming, Tovey will take a leading role in the BBC Concert Orchestra’s learning and education activities, including mentoring emerging conductors and orchestral players.
“I am thrilled that Bramwell has accepted our invitation to become the BBC Concert Orchestra’s eighth Principal Conductor," Andrew Connolly, general manager of the BBC Concert Orchestra, said in a statement today."This is great news for the orchestra and also our audiences, as I know they will be enthralled by his superb musicianship and warm to the wit and charisma he brings to the stage. Bramwell’s musical explorations find their outlet beyond the role of conductor - he is also an award winning composer, piano soloist, educator and consummate communicator, projecting these talents into the wide variety of music he embraces. We are hugely excited to be beginning this new journey under his direction in the New Year.
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra announced earlier this year that Dutch conductor Otto Tausk will take over from music director Bramwell Tovey when he steps down in July 2018.
In September, the Straight also reported Tovey has been named director of orchestral activities for Boston University School of Music.
Tovey returns to Vancouver on Friday (November 24) to cohost and perform as pianist in a celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Orpheum Theatre.