2 October 2024 – 14 May 2025

A person smiling with her hand on her head and a violin

Description automatically generated
A person and person standing next to each other

Description automatically generated
A person holding a stick

Description automatically generated

Violinist Alena Baeva ©Andrej Grilc; Chloé van Soeterstède and Mark Wigglesworth ©Mark Allan; Enyi Okpara ©BSO

  • The BSO announces a season of world-class music — both in the concert hall and the community — as it launches with a new artistic team and a raft of new initiatives to support wellbeing.
  • Mark Wigglesworth and Chloé van Soeterstède mark their arrival as Chief Conductor and Principal Guest Conductor respectively with a shared Brahms cycle, and Enyi Okpara makes his BSO debut as the new Calleva Assistant Conductor.
  • Violinist Alena Baeva becomes the BSO’s Artist-in-Residence, appearing in concerto performances and a chamber recital with pianist Vadym Kholodenko, in addition to BSO Participate workshops.
  • The Orchestra continues to share live music with communities both near and far — from ‘BSO On Your Doorstep’ concerts in towns and villages to the continuation of its Digital Concert series, with 17 symphonic performances broadcast globally.
  • Kirill Karabits OBE, in his new role of Conductor Laureate & Artistic Director, Voices from the East, unites with accordionist Ksenija Sidorova, who makes her BSO debut.
  • BSO Participate deepens its broad range of health and wellbeing and music education initiatives, including: a new residency in partnership with NHS Dorset; an expansion of its creative health work across the region; and the extension of the BSO Young Associates community music training scheme.
  • Anticipated debuts for: accordionist Ksenija Sidorova; baritone Andrew Hamilton; cellist Laura van der Heijden; conductors Alexandre Bloch, Kevin John Edusei, Adam Hickox, Enyi Okpara, Valentina Peleggi and Elena Schwarz; pianists Alim Beisembayev, Elisabeth Brauss, Clare Hammond and Nicholas McCarthy; viola player Lise Berthaud; and violinist Rosanne Philippens.
  • Returns for: clarinettist Julian Bliss; conductors: Tom Fetherstonhaugh, Kerem Hasan, Tianyi Lu, Gergely Madaras, Nicholas McGegan, Alexander Soddy, Jac van Steen and Karl-Heinz Steffens; pianists Martin James Bartlett, Boris Giltburg, Nelson Goerner, Sir Stephen Hough, Pavel Kolesnikov, Paul Lewis and Alexei Volodin; violinists Simone Lamsma and Nemanja Radulović; and cellist Edgar Moreau.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra today [15 May] announces its 2024/25 season, which marks the arrival of incoming Chief Conductor Mark Wigglesworth and Principal Guest Conductor, Chloé van Soeterstède. The season, which is supported by Season Sponsor Investec Wealth & Investment (UK), also marks the Orchestra’s fifth year of live broadcasting from Lighthouse, Poole — as it shares performances around the globe. 

Alongside symphonic music in Barnstaple, Basingstoke, Bristol, Exeter, Fareham, Poole, Portsmouth, Southampton, Taunton, Truro and Weymouth, the Orchestra continues its reach into dozens of towns and villages with chamber-scale performances throughout its 10,000-square-mile region in the Southwest.

Mark Wigglesworth, incoming Chief Conductor of the BSO, said:
“This upcoming season reflects the BSO’s fundamental belief that live music is for everybody, hearing no boundaries and seeing no barriers. Wherever you live in the Southwest of England, you will be able to experience a vast breadth of repertoire performed with great depth of passion and understanding by the orchestra and the guest artists that will be joining us from all over the world. I hope that regular friends of the BSO will continue to be inspired by what we do and that newcomers will be thrilled to discover how a live concert can create an emotional space of infinite possibilities.”

Dougie Scarfe OBE DL, Chief Executive of the BSO, said:
“Throughout the year we’ll continue to share music-making that is firmly rooted in the Southwest, from thrilling symphonic music in our many resident venues to the intimacy of the numerous community venues that form a key part of our unique remit. Day in, day out we see the very real impact our music has on people’s lives in the places we visit — and it’s needed like never before. We’ll continue to deepen our reach into local communities, from the expansion of our creative health and wellbeing work to a new partnership with NHS Dorset.

“We are excited to step into the new era of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with our brilliant artistic team — welcoming conductors Mark Wigglesworth, Chloé van Soeterstède and Enyi Okpara, who each bring such extraordinary energy and dynamism — and a host of brilliant guest artists, including Alena Baeva, who becomes Artist-in-Residence. Whether you’re joining us in the concert hall, a community hall or online we can’t wait to share our live music with you over the coming months.”

Mark Wigglesworth, Chloé van Soeterstède and Enyi Okpara

The new BSO Chief Conductor Mark Wigglesworth and Principal Guest Conductor Chloé van Soeterstède share a Brahms symphony cycle in the 2024/25 season, with Wigglesworth conducting symphonies Nos.2-4 and Soeterstède Symphony No.1.

Wigglesworth collaborates with esteemed guest artists such as pianist Nicholas McCarthy, with whom he conducts Ravel’s Piano Concerto for Left Hand (20 Nov). Boris Giltburg joins him for Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3 (4 & 5 Dec) and Sir Stephen Hough performs his own piano concerto, The World of Yesterday, under Wigglesworth’s direction (26 & 27 Feb). This concert includes a performance of Elgar’s Enigma Variations with an accompanying narration that reflects the composer’s commentary on the friends his music describes. Violinist Clara-Jumi Kang joins Wigglesworth for Britten’s Violin Concerto (7 & 8 May).

Chloé van Soeterstède conducts Schumann’s Overture, Scherzo and Finale, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Brahms’s Symphony No.1 in her first programme as Principal Guest Conductor (27 & 28 Nov). She returns in March for Brahms’s Tragic Overture, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 and Schumann’s Symphony No.2 (12 Mar).

The newly announced Calleva Assistant Conductor, 24-year-old Enyi Okpara, makes his main season BSO debut with a programme of Rossini, Rachmaninov, Mascagni and Mendelssohn (6 Nov). He conducts another concert the following week with the same music by Mascagni and Mendelssohn – the Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana and Symphony No.4 Italian – programmed alongside Rossini and Mozart (13 Nov).

Violinist Alena Baeva becomes Artist-in-Residence
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s new Artist-in-Residence is Luxembourgish violinist Alena Baeva who performs in three programmes across the 2024/25 season.

Baeva performs Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor in her first concert as BSO Artist-in-Residence, conducted by Chloé van Soeterstède (27 & 28 Nov). She also performs Berg’s Violin Concerto under the baton of Mark Wigglesworth in their first programme together (22, 23 & 25 Jan). Her final concert of the season is a recital shared with her duo partner Vadym Kholodenko, with a programme including music by Schubert and Richard Strauss (30 Apr). During her residency, Baeva will also take part in community and participation work that celebrates family audiences and the natural world.

Reaching audiences both near and far — from rural centres to global broadcasts

The Orchestra’s live symphonic broadcast Digital Concert series continues into its fifth season in 2024/25, with 17 main season performances shared from Lighthouse, Poole.

The series began in autumn 2020, during the Covid pandemic, and — despite venues reopening and audiences returning — the BSO has continued to offer digital performances every season, with over 80,000 tickets sold to date. The Orchestra’s regular, global audience enjoys tuning into the live experience from home, accompanied by leading music broadcasters, such as Catherine Bott, Katie Derham, Martin Handley, Tom Service and Sarah Walker.

The popular chamber-scale series ‘BSO on Your Doorstep’ returns in 2024/25, with 24 events throughout the region — from Exmouth and Bristol to the Isle of Wight and Yeovil. The series features five, family-friendly ‘Relaxed Concerts’, plus events that have been created specifically for carers. The series is presented in partnership with the Rural Touring Agency, plus regional partners Carn to Cove (Cornwall), Artsreach (Dorset), Villages in Action (Devon), and Culture in Common (New Forest).

The violinist Nemanja Radulović joins the Orchestra in its annual pre-season tour, taking symphonic performances to rural communities. Radulović visits Hall for Cornwall, Truro [10 Sept] and Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple [11 Sept] in a programme that includes Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with conductor Joel Sanderson.

Kirill Karabits OBE — returns as Conductor Laureate & Artistic Director, Voices from the East

Kirill Karabits returns to Poole in his new role of Conductor Laureate and Artistic Director, Voices from the East, for three performances with acclaimed accordionist Ksenija Sidorova (26, 27 Mar). Karabits conducts the Fairy Tales Concerto by Czech composer Václav Trojan and Fairy Tales by Ukrainian composer Thomas de Hartmann, and the programme also includes music by Mozart and Tchaikovsky.

Holst’s 150th anniversary — with Associate Guest Conductor David Hill MBE

In celebration of Gustav Holst’s 150th anniversary, David Hill conducts a special concert of his Symphony in F Cotswolds, Mars from The Planets and Invocation, programmed alongside Vaughan Williams’s Dona nobis pacem,with soprano Anna Devin, baritone Andrew Foster-Williams and cellist Jesper Svedberg (23 Oct). The Symphony in F has historical association with the BSO as the Orchestra gave its first performance in 1902 with Holst and Vaughan Williams spectating. The concert will also be performed at Chichester Cathedral where Holst’s ashes are interred, but with Elgar’s EnigmaVariations replacing the Vaughan Williams after the interval. For his second programme of the season, Hill conducts Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Steven Osborne and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with baritone Andrew Hamilton, in a concert including the Symphonic Dances from Bernstein’s West Side Story (14 May).

Community music-making in health and care settings and music education

BSO Participate continues to deepen its reach into communities throughout the Southwest during the 2024/25 season. Highlights include an extension of its creative health work featuring BSO Wellbeing Orchestras in collaboration with communities across the region, including in Boscombe, Dorset, with an extensive programme of creative activity throughout the year in partnership with Bournemouth Emerging Arts Festival (BEAF).

The BSO’s Recovery Orchestra, in partnership with Bristol Drugs Project, continues along with further BSO Wellbeing Orchestras in partnership with mental health support organisations in Cornwall, and in Somerset with The Octagon, The Ark at Egwood, and Chard Watch. 

A new partnership with NHS Dorset commences in July, with creative health experiences in communities across the county as well as with patients and staff in Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester. Programmes will range from early intervention care for young people to music for the most elderly patients.

In its tenth year, the BSO’s Associate Musicians programme expands, welcoming two new community music leaders in Dorset and Somerset — and the BSO Young Associates training scheme extends into its third year, creating opportunities for the next generation of music leaders.

The Orchestra’s extensive music education programme also continues with a series of live symphonic concerts, workshops, and assemblies — and the BSO deepens its close relationship with Bristol Beacon, sharing a vision of how a venue and its Orchestra in Residence can empower access and opportunity across a range of activity. Highlights range from a new inter-generational ensemble to curriculum projects with schools, care home concerts and more.

Deepening its commitment to inclusion, the BSO continues its partnership with the National Open Youth Orchestra [NOYO] expanding its work with the Bournemouth NOYO centre. The Orchestra’s popular touring series of performances in SEND schools continues, in Weston-Super-Mare, Bristol, Hampshire and BCP — and its ground-breaking, inclusive side-by-side Symphony from Scratch weekend will test Open Up’s Accessible Musical Provision (AMP) Toolkit for the second year, alongside further innovation and growth of disabled-led ensemble BSO Resound.

BSO Pops concerts and early autumn touring

In addition to its main season performances, the Orchestra continues to offer its much-loved BSO Pops series throughout the year. Highlights include symphonic celebrations of music by the Bee Gees [9 Nov], Pink Floyd [3 Nov] and Queen [20 Jul]. The spotlight also shines on the film music of John Williams [2 Feb], James Bond [17 May] and Heroes and Superheroes [13, 15, 21 March]. Star kora player Seckou Keita also makes an appearance [8 Feb] alongside percussionist Suntou Susso.

Further highlights include the BSO’s festive celebrations, which include: The Messiah [11 Dec]; BSO Voices and the Snowman [14 Dec]; Last Night of the Christmas Proms with Joe Stilgoe [19-21 Dec]; Celebration of Christmas Carols [23 Dec]; and New Year’s Viennese Gala [1-9 Jan]. Plus, the BSO’s popular Valentine’s Classics event returns to Lighthouse, Poole [15 Feb].

Main season debut performances

The BSO presents highly anticipated debut performances from some of the world’s most distinguished musicians. Former winner of the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition, Alexandre Bloch, debuts with a programme of Debussy and Ravel’s arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, as well as Berlioz’s Harold in Italy (9 & 10 Apr). German conductor Kevin John Edusei debuts with a programme of Prokofiev’s Symphony No.5 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5 Emperor (30 & 31 Oct). 28-year-old British conductor, Adam Hickox, leads a programme of Sibelius, Shostakovich and Rachmaninov (5 & 6 Mar). Italian maestro Valentina Peleggi debuts with music by Vaughan Williams, Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov (15 Jan). And Elena Schwarz makes her BSO debut with a programme of Beethoven, Shostakovich and Stravinsky (9 & 12 Oct).

Celebrated British cellist Laura van der Heijden makes her BSO debut with Elgar’s Cello Concerto (12 & 13 Feb). Star violist Lise Berthaud debuts with Berlioz’s Harold in Italy (9 & 10 Apr), and violinist Rosanne Philippens performs Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No.1 (5 & 6 Mar).

Pianist Clare Hammond makes her BSO debut in a performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 (26 Sep). Champion of the Leeds International Piano Competition Alim Beisembayev makes a main season debut with Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 (6 Nov), whilst celebrated German pianist Elisabeth Brauss performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.9 (29 & 30 Jan). Star pianist Nicholas McCarthy debuts with Ravel’s Piano Concerto for Left Hand (20 Nov). And Latvian accordionist Ksenija Sidorova performs Václav Trojan’s Fairy Tales concerto under Kirill Karabits in his role as Artistic Director, Voices from the East (26, 27 Mar).

World-class conductors and soloists
The BSO features a wide range of world-class returning artists in its forthcoming season. These include German conductor Karl-Heinz Steffens, a specialist in British repertoire, who leads the programme of the opening season concert of Vaughan Williams’s In the Fen Country, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3 and Holst’s The Planets (2, 4 Oct). This programme is part of the Holst celebrations marking 150 years since the composer’s birth. Former Assistant Conductor Tom Fetherstonhaugh directs a programme of Wagner’s overture to The Flying Dutchman, Elgar’s EnigmaVariations and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 (26 Sep). Fetherstonhaugh also conducts the BSO’s popular annual Viennese Gala in the new year (1, 3, 8, 9 & 12 Jan). British maestro Kerem Hasan conducts Strauss, Rachmaninov and Beethoven (2 Apr). Tianyi Lu conducts Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony Op.110a in C minor, as well as music by Mozart and the 1947 version of Stravinsky’s Petrushka (29 & 30 Jan). Hungarian conductor Gergely Madaras leads a programme of Vasks, Grieg and Sibelius (19 & 21 Feb). Early music expert Nicholas McGegan conducts Handel’s Messiah (11 & 14 Dec). Alexander Soddy leads a concert of Beethoven’s Symphony No.1, Elgar’s Cello Concerto and Strauss’s Tod und Verklärung (12 & 13 Feb). Dutch conductor Jac van Steen leads a programme of music by Anatoly Lyadov, Dvořák’s Cello Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6 Pathetique (16 Oct). These last two pieces were written one year apart in the 1890s and share the tonality of B minor.

Magnificent returning pianists include Paul Lewis who performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3 as part of the opening season programme (2, 4 Oct). Martin James Bartlett takes on Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No.1 (9 & 12 Oct). Boris Giltburg takes on Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3 (4 & 5 Dec). Former champion of the Geneva International Music Competition Nelson Goerner plays Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5 Emperor (30 & 31 Oct). One of Britain’s most revered pianists, Sir Stephen Hough performs his own piano concerto, The World of Yesterday (26 Feb). Pavel Kolesnikov plays Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 (12 Mar). And Alexei Volodin performs Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (2 Apr).

Dutch violinist Simone Lamsma returns to perform Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto (15 Jan). Edgar Moreau performs Dvořák’s Cello Concerto (16 Oct) and Julian Bliss plays Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto (13 Nov).

The BSO’s 2024/25 main season performances at Lighthouse, Poole are supported by Season Sponsor, Investec Wealth & Investment (UK).