We’ll give the opening classical concert [19 Dec], as Orchestra in Residence, at the newly transformed Bristol Beacon when the venue’s anticipated opening season starts later this year.

Highlights across the season include two world premieres commissioned to celebrate the city’s story, and performances under the baton of our Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits who concludes his 15-year tenure at the helm. The two new works, written especially to celebrate the new creative chapter in Bristol’s story, feature: a newly commissioned work — entitled Beacons — by celebrated composer Mark-Anthony Turnage; and a choral work by Jonathan Dove, Odyssey.

Turnage’s Beacons will herald the return of live classical music to the city-centre venue when Kirill Karabits conducts [19 December]. The programme also features pianist Sunwook Kim, who performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5, as well as Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Shostakovich’s Festive Overture.

The second world premiere —Odyssey by composer Jonathan Dove, whose popular operatic writing has a reputation for creating wonder and enriching lives —unites the City of Bristol Choir, Bristol Youth Choir and several community choirs under the baton of conductor David Ogden [28 January]. The new choral work charts one refugee’s perilous journey to safety, and soprano Francesca Chiejina and tenor Thando Mjandano perform leading roles.

The season features further celebrated artists, including our Principal Guest Conductor Mark Wigglesworth. He is joined by pianist and former BBC Young Musician Finalist Ethan Loch [21 March] who performs Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2, in a programme that includes Verdi’s Force of Destiny overture and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

Music for all ages features across the year, and hundreds of school children will experience live orchestral music as the BSO’s Explore the Orchestra schools’ concerts come to Bristol under the baton of Assistant Conductor Tom Fetherstonhaugh [21 March].

A celebration of film music, The Best of Williams and Zimmer, also takes place in spring [1 March] — as well as the BSO’s popular Symphonic Pink Floyd [10 May].

Kirill Karabits closes the season [7 June] with a concert that celebrates ‘Voices from the East’ — the BSO’s ongoing series of music from Karabits’ native Ukraine and surrounding regions. Kara Karayev’s familiar Seven Beauties Suite features alongside Dvorak’s Symphony No.9 ‘New World’, and violinist Liya Petrova performs Korngold’s Violin Concerto.

Louise Mitchell CBE, Chief Executive of Bristol Beacon, said: “Revealing the first orchestral season for our newly transformed Beacon Hall is a very special moment for us at Bristol Beacon. We are looking forward to welcoming audiences to experience world-class music reverberate around the improved acoustics of our wonderful auditorium Beacon Hall, in 21st century levels of comfort. We are also honoured to host conductors and orchestras who have played such a huge part of our musical history to date. It’s fitting that they are helping us start this new era with this special season, which is packed with some of the greatest and best-loved classical works, as well as brand new music from some of the world’s most respected living composers.”

BSO Chief Executive, Dougie Scarfe, said: “We can’t wait to return to Bristol to open this extraordinary hall, which has been designed to create the very best acoustic experience for live music and will undoubtedly set a new benchmark in concert-going. As we share the breadth of our work in this opening season — from performances under the batons of Kirill Karabits and Mark Wigglesworth, to powerful world premieres by Jonathan Dove and Mark-Anthony Turnage, alongside celebratory performances of film music, Symphonic Pink Floyd and live concerts for schools — we’ll be excited to return to audiences both familiar and new.

We’re proud of our long-standing history in Bristol and look forward to helping the brilliant and indefatigable team at Bristol Beacon in marking this new chapter of creativity in the city and the wider South West.”

We open Bristol Beacon’s orchestral season under the baton of Kirill Karabits on Tuesday 19 December 2023.