BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Lancaster Arts: Being Swooned by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra


On Thursday 2nd March, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra played in the Great Hall. The last time they performed at Lancaster University was in 2019, before the Pandemic.

Before the exhibition began, several brief pre-concert guest speeches were delivered in Peter Scott Gallery. These included an address from Lancaster Arts director, Jocelyn Cunningham, who spoke about the importance of the BBC Philharmonic returning to Lancaster University as well as the inspiration behind the repertoire: Rituals.

Throughout the orchestra’s gala night, I couldn’t help but dwell on this theme of rituals. I thought about how each musician on the stage was performing, in their own way, a ritual. With various plucks on the strings of a violin to the built-up intensity of the drums. It all felt like a ritual to the players; something they have done for years.

BBC Philharmonic’s programme included:

  • Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène, Overture,
  • Svendsen’s Carnival in Paris,
  • Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major (with Juan Perez Floristan on the piano),
  • Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor

When the orchestra began Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène, Overture, my jaw dropped. I had never seen a live orchestra before and was beyond amazed. To be completely honest, I sat completely astonished for the majority of the programme, only managing to collect my thoughts moments before Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

This experience of live orchestra was truly unbelievable. They moved so fast, then slow, in perfect unison with conductor Gernon’s lifted baton. It almost didn’t feel real, especially after Floristan’s performance on the piano; that kind of atmosphere can’t be replicated on YouTube.

Prior to this exhibition, I wasn’t particularly keen on live music performances, especially when I could just watch them online. This was discussed during Cunningham’s speech where she noted that this concert was a “celebration of live music in the modern age,” attempting to draw young people into the art of orchestra.

If you’re interested in attending a classical musical concert organised by Lancaster Arts, why not attend the upcoming performance by American violinist Tai Murray and pianist Martin Roscoe on the 23rd March?

Tickets can be purchased here

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