Following a very competitive recruitment process, Bill Chandler [pictured] has been appointed Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and Adam Szabo has been appointed Director of the BBC Philharmonic.
Bill Chandler brings a wealth of experience to the role of Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. Originally from the USA, Bill was a violinist in the Houston Symphony and then joined the Royal Scottish National Orchestra as Associate Leader. Since September 2021 he has been Director of the BBC Concert Orchestra, and in that time has built new partnerships across the UK, with an increased presence for the orchestra in Nottingham and Great Yarmouth, regular appearances at Alexandra Palace and numerous soundtracks for BBC films, TV and podcasts. His creativity and innovation has inspired exciting collaborations, from Radio 2’s Piano Room series and Radio 3’s Unclassified Live, to a tour with CBeebies and concerts with Streetwise Opera, London Jazz Festival and Grange Park Opera. He appointed the orchestra’s Chief Conductor Anna-Maria Helsing earlier this year.
Adam Szabo joins the BBC Philharmonic as Director from the RPS Award-winning Manchester Collective, where he is Artistic Director & Chief Executive. The Collective, founded by Adam and violinist Rakhi Singh in 2016, is renowned for their experimental programming, daring collaborations and engaging performances. They play in concert halls, warehouses and at festivals around the world, performing a combination of cutting-edge contemporary music, classical masterpieces, and staged work to a hungry, new audience. Prior to his work with the Collective, Adam enjoyed a busy and varied career as an orchestral cellist. In this capacity, he worked with many of the finest orchestras in the UK – amongst them, the BBC Philharmonic.
Simon Webb, BBC’s Head of Orchestras and Choirs, said: “The BBC is committed to bringing world-class classical music to the widest possible audiences. With these two appointments I am thrilled that the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and the BBC Philharmonic will be led by Directors who are passionate about the role music and musicians play in society, both have served their previous ensembles so brilliantly, with creativity and innovation at the fore. I look forward to working with them as they take on these key roles in the BBC Music team.”
Bill Chandler said: “It’s been a delight to work with the BBC Concert Orchestra over the past two years. Their enthusiasm, dynamism and ability to turn their hand to music of any genre – from Radio 2 Piano Rooms with Stormzy and Ed Sheeran through to full symphonic repertoire, shows the range of what they deliver – always at the top of their game – across the country, from London to Great Yarmouth and our newest partnership in Nottingham. Having accepted this post as Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, it’s a delight to be working with yet more exceptional BBC musicians, working to bring this ensemble’s work to the widest possible audience, and continuing to champion the best of orchestral music.”
Adam Szabo said: “Nothing compares to the experience of hearing a symphony orchestra at full throttle, and at their best, the BBC Philharmonic is unmatched by any group in the country. Their skill and versatility are legend. Equally at home with fiendish contemporary work as they are with our beloved orchestral canon, they embody the best of British music making. My work at Manchester Collective has been about creating radical experiences for audiences through live music. I can’t wait to bring that spirit to the BBC Philharmonic – working with these world class players to tell unique and powerful musical stories.”
Bill Chandler begins as Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in December 2023 and Adam Szabo begins as Director of the BBC Philharmonic in February 2024.
Recruitment will soon begin to find a new Director for the BBC Concert Orchestra. In the meantime Carolyn Hendry – current Concerts and Planning Manager and a member of the Orchestra’s Senior Management Team – will step up as interim Director.