After a rigorous selection process, Bill Chandler has been appointed as the Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, while Adam Szabo has been named as the Director of the BBC Philharmonic.
Bill Chandler brings a wealth of experience to his new role. Originally from the USA, Bill began his musical career as a violinist in the Houston Symphony before becoming Associate Leader of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Since September 2021, he has served as the Director of the BBC Concert Orchestra. During his tenure, he forged new partnerships across the UK, expanding the orchestra’s presence in Nottingham and Great Yarmouth. The orchestra made regular appearances at Alexandra Palace and provided soundtracks for various BBC films, TV shows, and podcasts. Bill’s innovative approach led to exciting collaborations, including Radio 2’s Piano Room series and Radio 3’s Unclassified Live. He also orchestrated a tour with CBeebies and orchestrated concerts with Streetwise Opera, London Jazz Festival, and Grange Park Opera. Earlier this year, he appointed Anna-Maria Helsing as the orchestra’s Chief Conductor.
Adam Szabo joins the BBC Philharmonic from the Manchester Collective, an ensemble he co-founded with violinist Rakhi Singh in 2016. As Artistic Director & Chief Executive, he played a pivotal role in the Collective’s success, known for their adventurous programming and engaging performances. They captivated audiences in concert halls, warehouses, and festivals worldwide, presenting a mix of contemporary compositions, classical masterpieces, and staged productions. Before his work with the Collective, Adam had a diverse career as an orchestral cellist, collaborating with some of the UK’s finest orchestras, including the BBC Philharmonic.
Simon Webb, BBC’s Head of Orchestras and Choirs, says: “The BBC is committed to bringing world-class classical music to the widest possible audiences. With these two appointments I am thrilled that the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and the BBC Philharmonic will be led by Directors who are passionate about the role music and musicians play in society, both have served their previous ensembles so brilliantly, with creativity and innovation at the fore. I look forward to working with them as they take on these key roles in the BBC Music team.”
Bill Chandler says: “It’s been a delight to work with the BBC Concert Orchestra over the past two years. Their enthusiasm, dynamism and ability to turn their hand to music of any genre – from Radio 2 Piano Rooms with Stormzy and Ed Sheeran through to full symphonic repertoire, shows the range of what they deliver – always at the top of their game – across the country, from London to Great Yarmouth and our newest partnership in Nottingham. Having accepted this post as Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, it’s a delight to be working with yet more exceptional BBC musicians, working to bring this ensemble’s work to the widest possible audience, and continuing to champion the best of orchestral music.”
Adam Szabo says: “Nothing compares to the experience of hearing a symphony orchestra at full throttle, and at their best, the BBC Philharmonic is unmatched by any group in the country. Their skill and versatility are legend. Equally at home with fiendish contemporary work as they are with our beloved orchestral canon, they embody the best of British music making. My work at Manchester Collective has been about creating radical experiences for audiences through live music. I can’t wait to bring that spirit to the BBC Philharmonic – working with these world class players to tell unique and powerful musical stories.”
Bill Chandler will assume his role as Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus in December 2023, while Adam Szabo will commence as Director of the BBC Philharmonic in February 2024. The recruitment process for a new Director for the BBC Concert Orchestra will commence shortly. In the interim, Carolyn Hendry, the current Concerts and Planning Manager and a member of the Orchestra’s Senior Management Team, will step in as interim Director.