• Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits enters his 15th year at the helm with a season that celebrates the breadth of his repertoire ahead of taking on the mantle of Conductor Laureate, Artistic Director, Voices from the East from autumn 2024.
  • Karabits opens the season with a new discovery: a ballet suite by Ukraine-born composer Thomas de Hartmann. The season concludes in a 3-week focus on music close to Karabits’ heart — from a concert performance of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta to a celebration of ‘Voices from the East’ and Shostakovich’s mighty Fifth Symphony. 
  • Celebrated pianist Alexander Malofeev becomes the Orchestra’s Artist-in-Residence; the former winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians returns to Poole in recital and concerto performances.
  • Much-anticipated BSO debuts include: conductors Emilia Hoving and Tianyi Lu; pianists Alim BeisembayevPavel KolesnikovEthan Loch, Eric Lu and Awadagin Pratt; soprano Olga Kulchynska; violinists Alena Baeva and Clara-Jumi Kang; and harpist Emmanuel Ceysson.
  • Returns include: conductors Thierry Fischer, Kerem Hasan, Robert Howarth, Sunwook Kim, Jac van Steen and Karl-Heinz Steffens; pianists Alexander GavrylyukBoris GiltburgSteven Osborne and Simon Trpčeski; violinists Veronika EberleTobias FeldmannNing FengVadim GluzmanAlina Ibragimova and making his viola debut Valeriy Sokolov.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra today [10 May] announces its 2023/24 season, which is supported by Season Sponsor Investec and filled with symphonic performances across the South West and beyond. Highlights include performances under the baton of Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits in his final season, which concludes in a 3-week celebration of music that both reflects on his tenure to date and the BSO’s ongoing commitment to repertoire from Karabits’ native Ukraine and its surrounding regions.

An exciting mix of guestartists will visit the region,including pianist Alexander Malofeevwho becomes the BSO’s Artist-in-Residence. The former winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians made his BSO debut alongside Karabits last year.

The Orchestra deepens its commitment to communities across the South West, with live performances in venues across the region, including, Southampton, Truro, Yeovil and the newly transformed Bristol Beacon, alongside the BSO’s residencies in Exeter, Portsmouth, and Poole. Further community-led projects are also announced as part of a Cornwall Residency — and in Dorset and Hampshire in partnership with Seeta Patel Dance.

The BSO’s livestreams continue with 18 main season concerts available during performance and online for a month afterwards. Last season, the Orchestra’s broadcasts were viewed by almost 18,000 viewers and reached people across six continents.

Kirill Karabits, Chief Conductor of the BSO, said: “We have prepared a celebratory season, which both revisits some of our favourite moments from the past 15 years — including the symphonies of Brahms, Bruckner and Borodin, alongside a return to Shostakovich’s Fifth and Fifteenth — plus a few hidden gems along the way! I’m also excited to open the season with the music of Thomas de Hartmann, a forgotten composer whose music deserves greater recognition.

“I’m looking forward to reuniting with our friends from Seeta Patel Dance in performances of The Rite of Spring in Basingstoke and Poole, when we’ll also share Chary Nurymov’s ballet music — and to welcoming our brilliant guest soloists across the season, including Artist-in-Residence Alexander Malofeev who has made such an impact with BSO audiences. I’m also excited to mark the start of the new year with our wonderful audiences here on the South Coast, when I conduct several New Year’s Viennese concerts. It’s a full season — and we can’t wait to share it with you.”

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive of the BSO, said “We look forward to sharing this jam-packed season, which is supported by Season Sponsor Investec — it both looks back to commemorate Kirill’s remarkable 15-year tenure, and celebrates new partnerships and musical discoveries.

“Our mission is to bring music into people’s lives in a meaningful way. This season, in addition to our main season performances, we’ll continue to reach further and deeper into communities across the South West with the continuation of our ‘BSO On Your Doorstep’ chamber-scale touring, and a company residency in Cornwall, which will celebrate all aspects of community music-making. We also remain deeply committed to ensuring digital access, particularly for those who cannot come to see us in person, and we’ll share 18 livestreamed concerts across the season produced by our in-house team. As we take to the roads, the airwaves, and the stage, we look forward to celebrating a great season of music together.”

Kirill Karabits celebrates his 15-year tenure as Chief Conductor

Following a sensational relationship lasting a decade and a half, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s final season with Kirill Karabits as Chief Conductor will begin this autumn. The 2023/24 season will see the BSO celebrate a broad range of repertoire with Karabits, from the symphonies of Brahms, Bruckner and Borodin to rarities including a concert performance of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta (8 May) and Chary Nurymov’s ballet music The Fate of Sukhovey.

The Voices from the East series, which champions music from eastern Europe and Karabits’ native Ukraine, continues this season with highlights such as the opening season concert with Thomas de Hartmann’s Scarlet Flower Suite (4 Oct), Glière’s Harp Concerto (11 Oct) and Vasks’s Violin Concerto Distant Light (31 Jan). In November, Karabits will conduct Chary Nurymov’s ballet, The Fate of Sukhovey (15 Nov) alongside The Rite of Spring. May sees performances of Ivan Karabits’s Concerto for Orchestra No. 3 and Giya Kancheli’s Styx (1 May).

Karabits welcomes musical friends across the season, including returns from: pianist Alexander Malofeev (4 Oct, 1 May); violinist Vadim Gluzman (31 Jan – 1 Feb); Valeriy Sokolov (1 May) performing on viola; and pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk (15 May). Plus, BSO debuts from pianist Awadagin Pratt (13-14 Mar) and harpist Emmanuel Ceysson (11-13 Oct).

Further performances across the season include New Year’s Viennese gala concerts — in Poole (1 Jan) and Southampton (6 Jan). Karabits will also conduct the Orchestra at The Grange Festival this summer (8-24 June) and lead two performances, alongside 2021-2023 Artist-in-Residence Felix Klieser at the BBC Proms (2-3 Aug).

At the end of the 2023/24 season, Karabits will take up a new role of Conductor Laureate, Artistic Director, Voices from the East.

Seeta Patel Dance and The Rite of Spring

Following critically acclaimed performances at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in March 2023, the BSO continues its partnership with Seeta Patel Dance, presenting a Bharatanatyam interpretation of Stravinsky’s ballet, The Rite of Spring (15 Nov — Poole; 23 Nov — Basingstoke). Karabits will also conduct Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty suite, and, for the Poole performance, Chary Nurymov’s Eastern-inspired ballet score, The Fate of Sukhovey.

Alongside the concert hall performances, participants of all ages will gain insight and inspiration through creative dance and music projects with Seeta Patel Dance Company and BSO musicians in Dorset and Hampshire.

In addition, Patel will perform a solo dance accompanied by South Indian musicians prior to the performance of the Rite at The Lowry in Manchester (21 Nov).

Alexander Malofeev – Artist-in-Residence
Following his BSO debut with Karabitsin January 2022 — and popular return in May 2023 — young piano sensation Alexander Malofeev returns as Artist-in-Residence for three concerts, cementing his relationship with the Orchestra.

Malofeev’s initial appearance will be to perform Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (4 Oct), returning later in the autumn for a mammoth recital including Scriabin, Wagner arr. Liszt, and Weinberg (8 Nov). Spring 2024 sees him performing as part of Voices from the East with Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (1 May).

Bringing music into people’s lives with rural, chamber-scale and digital performances

In addition to the Orchestra’s ongoing work in education, health and care settings, BSO musicians will continue to reach further and deeper into communities across the region.

The popular BSO On Your Doorstep series of concerts continues. With a mission to reach all ages through a diverse range of repertoire, the chamber-scale performances will take music — from Bowie and Bjork to Bach and Britten, alongside works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Arvo Pärt, Florence Price, Dame Ethel Smyth and Grace Williams — to smaller venues in both rural and urban centres. Over the coming season, performances will include Cornwall in partnership with Carn to Cove, rural Dorset in partnership with Artsreach, Somerset, Southampton and more.

The full Orchestra journeys west for a Cornwall Residency in spring 2024. Musicians will engage with local communities in a broad range of music-making, including: a community-led chamber opera, Fault Lines; a Schools’ Concert for Key Stage 1 pupils, supported by classroom projects; a series of dementia-friendly Cake Concerts; a Symphony in a Day project for amateur musicians, and a Family Orchestra for all ages; plus, further health and wellbeing initiatives.

The BSO’s livestreamed broadcasts continue throughout the 2023/24 season, with 18 main season performances shared live and for 30 days. Since its inception in 2020, the Orchestra’s livestreamed series has sold 69,000 tickets, and now reaches a regular audience of almost 900 viewers for each performance alongside its concert hall listeners.

BSO Conductors

Principal Guest Conductor Mark Wigglesworth returns to direct Tobias Feldmannin Brahms’s Violin Concerto alongside performances of Henk de Vlieger’s Tristan and Isolde – An Orchestral Passion (25 & 26 Oct). He follows these with the overture to Verdi’s Force of Destiny and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5(20 & 22 Mar).

Associate Guest Conductor David Hill performs Verdi’s mighty Requiem with Bournemouth Symphony Chorus (28 Feb).Conductor Laureate Andrew Litton performs Saint-Saëns’s Fifth Piano Concerto with soloist Simon Trpčeskias well as Stravinsky’s Divertimento Le Baiser de la fée and Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales and La valse (10 Apr).

Tom Fetherstonhaugh, the BSO’s Assistant Conductor, returns this season to direct several concerts, the first of which will feature Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto alongside music by Borodin, Beethoven and Akimenko (28 Sep). Later in the season he will conduct a programme of Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 with soloist Steven Osborne in (22 & 29 Nov). In April, Fetherstonhaughconducts music by Rossini, Bizet, Debussy and Gershwin (18, 19 & 20 Apr). Later that month he leads the BSO in Sibelius’s Symphony No. 7 and Schumann’s Cello Concerto with soloist István Várdai programmed with Ives’s Unanswered Question and Elgar’s Enigma Variations (24 Apr).

Debut performances
Several musicians will make their BSO main season debut in the 2023/24 season, including: conductors Tianyi Lu — whodebuts with Puccini’s little-known Preludio sinfonico and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, alongside Barber’s Violin Concerto with Alena Baeva, also making her BSO debut (18 Oct) — and Emilia Hoving, who directs Ning Fengin Beethoven’s Violin Concerto alongside Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet Suite and Kaija Saariaho’s Ciel d’Hiver (14 Feb).

Ethan Loch performs Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto under BSO Guest Conductor Mark Wigglesworth(20 & 22 Mar), with 2018 Leeds Piano champion Eric Lu with Grieg’s Piano Concerto under BSO Assistant Conductor Tom Fetherstonhaugh(18, 19 & 20 Apr). Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 will be played by Awadagin Pratt with Karabits also conducting Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony (13 & 14 Mar). Plus, Pavel Kolesnikov performs Liszt’s Second Concerto alongside Alpesh Chauhan (10 Jan).

Ukrainian soprano Olga Kulchynska sings the title role in the concert performance of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta (8 May). Clara-Jumi Kang performs Sibelius’s sparkling Violin Concerto under BSO regular Sunwook Kim in a concert including Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony (17 & 18 Jan). Whilst harpist Emmanuel Ceysson plays Glière’s Harp Concerto, conducted by Karabits (11, 12 & 13 Oct).

World-class conductors and soloists
Several world-class conductors will be leading the BSO next season such as Thierry Fischer who performs music by Irish composer Ina Boyle, Wagner and Debussy alongside Mendelssohn’s heart-wrenching Violin Concerto with soloist Veronika Eberle (7 & 8 Feb). Kerem Hasan conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 Titan and Brahms’s Double Concerto for Violin and Cello with soloists Alina Ibragimova and Jesper Svedberg, respectively (6 & 7 Dec).

A specialist in early and classical-era repertoire, Robert Howarth conducts the BSO in Handel’s ever-popular Messiah (13 Dec). Alpesh Chauhan returns to conduct Elgar’s In the South, Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto with soloist Pavel Kolesnikov as well as Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 (10 Jan). Celebrating the 200th anniversary of Smetana’s birth, Jac van Steen will conduct Má Vlast (24 & 25 Jan). And Karl-Heinz Steffens will direct Boris Giltburg for Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto in a concert including Vaughan Williams’s Second Symphony, ‘London’ (21, 22 & 23 Feb).

Steven Osborne returns to play Mozart’s 27th Piano Concerto under the direction of Tom Fetherstonhaughin a programme otherwise comprising Glinka, Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov (22 & 29 Nov). Ukrainian-born Australian pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk performs Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto conducted by Karabitsin a programme including Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin and Shostakovich’s glorious Symphony No. 5 (15 May) — and Simon Trpčeski takes on Saint-Saëns’s Fifth Piano Concerto conducted by Andrew Litton (10 Apr).

Ukrainian-born Israeli violinist, Vadim Gluzman, performs Vasks’s Violin Concerto Distant Light, conducted by Karabits, in a programme of Mozart’s Serenade for Winds in C minor and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15 (31 Jan & 1 Feb).  Valeriy Sokolov will be joining the BSO for a performance of Giya Kancheli’s Styx for viola, mixed choir and orchestra, with the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus (1 May) — and Tobias Feldmann performs Brahms’s Violin Concerto under Mark Wigglesworth (25 & 26 Oct). Plus, Ning Feng returns to play Beethoven’s Concerto (14 Feb).

The BSO’s 2023/24 main season performances at Lighthouse, Poole are supported by Season Sponsor, Investec, who mark their decade-long commitment for the Orchestra this year.