The BBC Concert Orchestra has announced the appointment of Anna-Maria Helsing as its new Chief Conductor, effective from today. This exciting development comes as Helsing builds on her successful tenure as the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, a role she assumed in 2020.
Helsing’s journey with the BBC Concert Orchestra began two years ago, and her forthcoming performance on Monday, June 19, at Alexandra Palace for This Classical Life: Live! with Jess Gillam demonstrates her ongoing commitment to the orchestra. Her official start as Chief Conductor solidifies her position within the distinguished lineage of her predecessors, including Bramwell Tovey and Barry Wordsworth, who continues to work with the orchestra as Conductor Laureate, as well as Keith Lockhart, the former Chief Guest Conductor. Helsing will collaborate closely with Bill Chandler, the orchestra’s Director.
Expressing her delight, Anna-Maria Helsing shared, “I am thrilled and very excited to deepen my collaboration with the BBC Concert Orchestra as their new Chief Conductor. During our years together, we have established a warm connection, which, on my part, makes working with this orchestra a true pleasure. In the years to come, I would love to further expand the symphonic repertoire of the orchestra, as well as presenting it to audiences outside of London. I have the greatest respect for this fine group of musicians, and I look forward to us making a lot of fantastic music in the future.”
Bill Chandler, the Director of the BBC Concert Orchestra, expressed his enthusiasm for the appointment, stating, “This is such an exciting time for the BBC Concert Orchestra as we welcome Anna-Maria Helsing as Chief Conductor. Her already deep connection with the musicians and her superb music making will ensure that the next chapter of the Concert Orchestra’s future will be expertly led. Already the UK’s most versatile orchestra, Anna-Maria’s hope is to further expand the orchestra’s repertoire, and with her passion and her openness for connecting with new audiences in new ways, it promises to be a meaningful and dynamic musical relationship that will place the Concert Orchestra at the heart of the BBC’s vision to make exciting, relevant and impactful content.”
Helsing’s recent concert at the Southbank Centre showcased a captivating evening of music by Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, and Rautavaara, exploring the theme of light, accompanied by violinist Mari Samuelson. Noteworthy performances also include Philip Glass’ exquisite Violin Concerto No.1, featuring Mari Samuelson, a concert with organist James McVinnie, and an enchanting evening of French and Finnish music with soprano Anu Komsi.
Looking ahead, Helsing’s upcoming concerts with the BBC Concert Orchestra include the highly anticipated BBC Proms, where she will lead the orchestra in a mesmerising recreation of symphonic soundtracks from film, TV, and gaming during the Fantasy, Myths and Legends Prom on August 28 at the Royal Albert Hall. Additionally, she will direct the orchestra for the Proms at Great Yarmouth, presenting a concert of orchestral favourites on September 8 at Great Yarmouth’s Hippodrome. Later in the year, following her official assumption of the role, she will once again join forces with Jess Gillam for a concert that delves into the beauty and nature of Sibelius on October 12 at the Southbank Centre.
Anna-Maria Helsing has signed a contract as the Chief Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra until 2026, heralding a future of remarkable musical achievements and a continued elevation of the orchestra’s reputation on the international stage.