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New Directors Appointed at BBC Symphony and Philharmonic

By Sara Schabas on October 30, 2023

BBC Symphony Orchestra
BBC Symphony Orchestra. Photo courtesy of the artist

The BBC has named Bill Chandler as new director of the BBC Symphony and Chorus and Adam Szabo as new director of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

What’s Up?: Following an extensive search, the British Broadcasting Corporation has appointed Bill Chandler to lead the BBC Symphony and Chorus and Adam Szabo to lead the BBC Philharmonic. Chandler, originally from the US, was previously director of the BBC Concert Orchestra as well as a violinist in the Houston Symphony. Szabo is a cellist who has played with the BBC Philharmonic himself. He has also been artistic director and chief executive of the Manchester Collective since 2016, organizing cutting edge contemporary performances in diverse venues.

Refresher: The British Broadcasting Corporation supports five full-time orchestras and one chamber choir, employing over 400 musicians unionized under the Musicians’ Union. They include the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Going Deeper: Earlier this year, the BBC announced cuts to its classical music departments. These included a 20% reduction in roles in the BBC Philharmonic, Symphony and Concert Orchestras, as well as a plan to scrap the BBC Singers, which they have since reversed. Chandler and Szabo will have their work cut out for them when it comes to combating these challenges.

Sara Schabas
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