The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is an English orchestra which, despite its name, is now based in the adjacent town of Poole rather than in Bournemouth where its former home in the Winter Gardens concert hall is derelict and being demolished (March-May 2006). The orchestra moved to the new Poole Lighthouse Centre for Perfoming Arts, where the concert hall has 1,596 seats.
It was originally the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra, which was founded in 1893 by Sir Dan Godfrey as a small group of wind players. It quickly expanded to become a full orchestra and gained a name for championing contemporary British music. Edward Elgar and Gustav Holst (among others) conducted the orchestra in their own works. The orchestra changed names in 1954, while Charles Groves was its principal conductor. The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has had among its Principal Conductors some of the finest musicians in the world, including Rudolf Schwarz, Constantin Silvestri, Sir Charles Groves and Paavo Berglund. More recently Andrew Litton raised the orchestra's standards to new levels, crowning its centenary season with a triumphant début tour of the USA in April 1994, followed by Yakov Kreizberg and débuts at the Musikverein, Vienna, the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and Carnegie Hall, New York. In September/October 2002, Marin Alsop, formerly music director of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, became Principal Conductor, the first woman to hold this title for any British symphony orchestra. She combined the post with the same job at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
The name of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is internationally known through over three hundred recordings, including the award-winning release of Anthony Payne's sketches for E. Elgar's Symphony No.3 with Paul Daniel, and the symphonies of Ralph Vaughan Williams with the former Chief Guest Conductor Kees Bakels and Paul Daniel for Naxos. Other highly acclaimed recordings include Deryck Cooke's completion of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 10, conducted by Simon Rattle, E. Elgar's In The South with Silvestri, Tchaikovsky's 2nd piano concerto with Rudolf Barshai and Peter Donohoe, and more recently Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms with Marin Alsop.
2009 saw the start of Kirill Karabits’ four year tenure as Principal Conductor for the BSO. The young Ukrainian studied conducting and composition at the Lysenko Music School in Kiev before continuing his studies at the National Tchaikovsky Music Academy in Kiev with Roman Kofman, and at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik under Uroš Lajovic. He has also held the positions of Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and Associate Conductor of both Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. In making his BBC Proms debut with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in August 2009, Kirill Karabits effectively launched his four year tenure as Principal Conductor of the orchestra. The BBC selected their broadcast of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No.11 as the cover CD of the September edition of BBC Music Magazine, and their next disc will be a recording of music by Rodion Shchedrin released by Naxos in 2010.
The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra currently gives around 150 concerts a year and has made numerous overseas tours. In addition to its recording and international touring commitments, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is dedicated to providing orchestral music across the South and West of Britain, with a varied programme of educational and outreach commitments, and makes regular appearances in major festivals and concert-halls throughout the country. The orchestra performs regularly in the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and in the other great halls of the world, such as the Carnegie Hall in New York and the Musikverein, Vienna.