PERFORMANCE

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KEITH LOCKHART & THE BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA


Swasey Chapel | 8pm

Famous for their legendary versatility, the BBC Concert Orchestra players can turn their hands to classical jazz, film music and crossover. This allows for an appetite of music in any forum or venue, with the talent to back it up. Keith Lockhart took up the baton to become the BBC Concert Orchestra’s seventh principal conductor in August 2010. He joins the BBC team while continuing his successful work with the Boston Pops, where he has been conductor since 1995.

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The BBC Concert Orchestra is legendarily flexible. If you’ve seen Sweeney Todd or Planet Earth, then you’re already familiar with their work. Whether it’s Mozart, Beethoven, or performing an original piece by their composer-in-residence Jonny Greenwood (a member of the rock band Radiohead), the orchestra always brings the highest quality of musicianship to the performance. Last year they performed 111 times, including a Friday night show on BBC Radio 2—a show they have played for 58 years straight. The BBC Concert Orchestra is the lead orchestra for The Proms, an annual series of concerts played in London’s Royal Albert Hall. Their performances are broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and are also occasionally televised, giving the orchestra the highest broadcast profile of any other orchestra in the UK. The BBC Concert Orchestra itself occupies the ground between a more traditional chamber music set-up and a full symphony orchestra, reaching out to play pieces and events that most orchestras cannot—a typical week might start with a concert celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and end with Bernhard Hermann or Will Gregory’s “avant-garde electronica,” involving rewired keyboards, thereminds, ondes mertenots and Moog synthesizers. In addition to the performances, the BBC orchestra is dedicated to musical education, and even runs an introductory program for families hoping to learn more about classical music.

The orchestra’s conductor, Keith Lockhart is a star in his own right and his resumé is impeccable. He spent 15 years with the Boston Pops (logging between 1,200 and 1,300 performances); he revitalized and combined the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera into one body; and he somehow conducted an alphabet of symphony orchestras from Atlanta to Singapore. Between programs with My Morning Jacket and M. Ward, appearances in the Superbowl and with Elton John, he has showcased his ability to conduct nearly anything from classical to Elvis to Broadway to Count Basie. Lockhart is known for his smile and his ability to develop a rapport with his audience through casual conversation. If he doesn’t love a piece of music, he won’t play it, because to him, music “exists to be emotionally compelling.” Have no doubt: under Lockhart’s direction the BBC Concert Orchestra will bring an exceptional performance, including works by Benjamin Britten and the Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar, to the Swasey Chapel stage.




Keith Lew, Stu Rosner, Michael Dwyer