Officially starting in the role on October 1 2023, the appointment builds on Anna-Maria Helsing’s fruitful existing relationship with the orchestra which began in 2020 when she became Principal Guest Conductor. Anna-Maria will next conduct the orchestra on Monday 19 June at Alexandra Palace for This Classical Life: Live! with Jess Gillam.
As Chief Conductor, Anna-Maria joins a distinguished line of predecessors including Bramwell Tovey and Barry Wordsworth, who continues working with the orchestra as Conductor Laureate, as well as Keith Lockhart, previously Chief Guest Conductor. She will work closely with the orchestra’s Director, Bill Chandler.
Anna-Maria said: “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, Director of BBC Concert Orchestra said: “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.”
Anna-Maria’s most recent concert with the orchestra was at the Southbank Centre for an evening of music by Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt and Rautavaara exploring the theme of light, alongside violinist Mari Samuelson. Other highlights include Philip Glass’ sumptuous Violin Concerto No.1, also with Mari Samuelson, a concert with organist James McVinnie, and an evening of French and Finnish music with soprano Anu Komsi.
Anna-Maria’s upcoming concerts with the BBC Concert Orchestra include this year’s BBC Proms, where she will lead the orchestra in recreating a host of symphonic soundtracks from film, TV and gaming in the Fantasy, Myths and Legends Prom on 28 August at the Royal Albert Hall. She also leads the orchestra for the Proms at Great Yarmouth, with a concert of orchestral favourites on 8 September at Great Yarmouth’s Hippodrome. Later in the year, once officially in post, she will be joined once more by Jess Gillam for a concert including a journey into the beauty and nature of Sibelius on 12 October at the Southbank Centre.
Anna-Maria is contracted as Chief Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra until 2026.