A person in a black suit

Description automatically generatedKirill Karabits © Mark Allan

Kirill Karabits and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra have been performing and recording symphonic works by Eastern European composers since 2009 through their Voices from the Eastseries. In May 2024, Karabits will perform three concerts with the BSO in Poole – two of which will be livestreamed for audiences worldwide – before they travel to London to undertake a day of Voices from the East events at the Southbank Centre on 19 May.

Karabits has uncovered many unpublished works and given them their UK – and sometimes world – premieres with the BSO over the last 15 years, performing music from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Turkmenistan and Ukraine. Through performances around the South-West of England, livestreams from the Lighthouse in Poole, and a recording series with Chandos, the Orchestra and Karabits have performed more of this music than any other Western orchestra.

On Sunday 19 May, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Karabits will present a full day of Voices from the East at the Southbank Centre, with three concerts at the Royal Festival Hall interspersed with talks and free performances across public spaces in the venue. The first concert of the day focuses on music from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, with works by Franghiz Ali-ZadehChary Nurymov and Kara Karayev. The second takes the audience to a soundworld from Georgia and Armenia, with Giya Kancheli’s Styx and Avet Terterian’s Symphony No. 3. The final concert of the day celebrates music from Ukraine, with works by Thomas de Hartmann and Boris Lyatoshynsky alongside BSO Composer-in-Residence Anna Korsun’s Terricone, which received its world premiere by Karabits and the Orchestra in January 2023.

Karabits’ tenure as Chief Conductor concludes at the end of this season, after 15 years at the helm. He will take on a new role of ‘Conductor Laureate, Artistic Director, Voices from the East’ from autumn 2024, continuing the legacy of the important work that he and the Orchestra have accomplished to date. Karabits’ final three concerts in Poole with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra take place in May 2024 (1, 8, 15), two of which will be livestreamed for worldwide audiences. On 1 May he will conduct a Voices from the East concert with BSO Artist-in-Residence Alexander Malofeev and viola player Valeriy Sokolov, with a programme that includes Kancheli’s Styx (also performed at the Southbank Centre) and Ivan Karabits’ Concerto for Orchestra No. 3. 8 May will see a concert performance of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta with soprano Olga Kulchynska, and Karabits will conduct his final concert in Poole as Chief Conductor on 15 May with works by Bartók, Prokofiev and Shostakovich.

Kirill Karabits, Chief Conductor, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestrasaid“I’m looking forward to sharing Voices from the East with audiences at the Southbank Centre next year. Discovering, performing and recording this music over the past 15 years has been incredibly rewarding and the openness of the BSO musicians and audiences in Poole has been crucial for the success of the series. I’m so proud of the unique symphonic pieces that we have already presented and I’m excited to continue enriching the future legacy of the series in my new role as Conductor Laureate, Artistic Director, Voices from the East.”

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, said: “The Voices from the East series has been a highlight of the Orchestra’s work both on stage and through our recordings, and we look forward to sharing it with the Southbank Centre audiences alongside contextual talks and free events. The music that Kirill has uncovered during his tenure as our Chief Conductor has paved the way for Western orchestras and audiences to perform and experience this fantastic music that would otherwise have been lost. Although Kirill’s tenure as Chief Conductor comes to an end in summer 2024, we are delighted that he will be continuing to explore lesser-known and lost music from Eastern Europe with us for years to come.”