BBC Philharmonic announces new principal guest conductor

Tuba player Ben Gernon has been appointed as principal guest conductor of the BBC Philharmonic. The announcement was made during a live concert broadcast today on BBC Radio 3 from MediaCityUK, part of a week of performances by the BBC Philharmonic that feature the music of Sibelius.

The hotly-tipped 27 year-old British conductor became a Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angels Philharmonic Orchestra (LAPO) and won the Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductor’s Award in 2013, before going on to conduct leading ensembles such as LAPO and Chicago Symphony in the US, as well as a raft of European orchestras.

Gernon is no stranger to the BBC Phil: he has twice conducted at the BBC Proms, most recently in 2014, to mark the 80th birthday of former BBC Philharmonic composer and conductor Peter Maxwell Davies.

Officially taking up the baton in the autumn, he will work with the orchestra in concerts in venues from Nottingham to Carlisle, as part of BBC North’s commitment to audiences across the North of England, in particular on a range of education projects.

He was most recently involved in The Red Brick Sessions, an innovative collaboration between the BBC Philharmonic, University of Salford, BBC North and BBC Research and Development.

Said Gernon: ‘Over the last two years of working with this extraordinary orchestra, we have built an exhilarating and rewarding artistic partnership. A combination of the orchestra’s world-class musicians and their contagious passion and love of music, makes for an electrifying live experience of the BBC Philharmonic. It is a real privilege for me to take my first titled position’

Added Simon Webb, general manager of the BBC Philharmonic: ‘The decision to appoint Ben Gernon is based on the unanimously positive reaction of the orchestra to his style of conducting, his spontaneity, and his natural communication with both the orchestra and our audiences.

‘Ben has already performed a wide range of repertoire with the BBC Philharmonic, ranging from core classical works to the UK premiere of Thomas Larcher’s Ouroboros and has delighted audiences in many of our regular venues across the North of England over the last two years.

‘His passion for new music, for reaching new audiences, and for exploring the new technologies being developed by the BBC coupled with his brilliance as a conductor make him the perfect match for the BBC Philharmonic’s bold and adventurous music making.’

John Storgårds remains with the orchestra with the new title of chief guest conductor, whilst Juanjo Mena will stay at the helm as chief conductor until Summer 2018.