The BBC’s Orchestras and Choirs are set to launch a new series, BBC Instrumental Sessions, on BBC Radio 3, which will be accompanied by filmed performances on the Orchestra and Choir’s online channels. Perfect for anyone who has ever wondered what 14 flutes or 39 cellos would sound like performing together, the sessions feature “single instrument ensembles” made up of musicians from across the BBC’s Orchestras and Choirs spanning the length and breadth of the UK from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Cardiff to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow.

The first Instrumental Session will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune this Wednesday 22 July at 5pm, as 15 members of the BBC’s Orchestras percussion sections perform Saint-Saens’s Danse Macabre, arranged by the BBC Concert Orchestra’s principal percussionist, Alasdair Malloy. The series will be broadcast weekly until November.

Lenny Sayers, Principal Bass Clarinet at the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, said:
One of the positives to come out of our current situation has been the possibility of collaborating with amazing colleagues from the other BBC Orchestras. The orchestral world is a small one, and most of us know each other anyway, and we have a great deal of mutual admiration and respect.

Two of these single-instrument projects, for the oboes and the clarinets, are actually arranged by me, so I am very keen to hear the final result! I’ve done a new version of a very lively piece of traditional klezmer music called the ‘Odessa Bulgar’ which has been a lot of fun to create, and I hope will be a hit with audiences too. That project came about through precisely the kind of cross-orchestra collaboration this initiative is all about.

Listeners are encouraged to get involved through the Twitter hashtag #BBCInstrumentalSessions. Videos of performances can be found on the websites and social channels of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the BBC Singers, the BBC Philharmonic, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Select Instrumental Sessions will also be available to download online via the Orchestras and Choir’s websites.