“Mahler in Manchester” wins South Bank Sky Arts Award

The Mahler in Manchester Festival, in which the BBC Philharmonic, the Halle and Manchester Camerata teamed up to present all of the symphonies (including Das Lied von der Erde) of Gustav Mahler at The Bridgewater Hall over six months, has won the South Bank Show Award.

The 10 numbered symphonies were shared by the Halle and BBC Philharmonic, while the Manchester Camerata performed Das Lied von der Erde in the chamber arrangement by Arnold Schoenberg. The dramatic high-point of the festival was the performance of Mahler’s 8th Symphony featuring the combined forces of the Philharmonic and Halle under the baton of Sir Mark Elder. Each work in the cycle was paired with the world-premiere of a newly commissioned work

My interest in this is of course because Vftp was the official blog of Mahler in Manchester, and quite a project it was. If you haven’t explored the archive of blog posts we put together, please do. One can waste many happy hours reading about Mahler- I know I wasted many happy hours writing about him. For my part, thanks to everyone who commented via the blog and privately. There are great tales to be told about all the fascinating and legendary characters who took the time to tell me what they thought of Mahler off-the-record during the series. Most particularly, I want to thank Gianandrea Noseda and Edward Gregson for participating in fascinating interviews, and Peter Davison, whose Expert’s Perspective installments and comments took the series to a different level.

The official press release follows



Manchester’s symphony orchestras honoured for Mahler’s Eighth Symphony

Awards to be televised on Sky Arts 1 on Tuesday 25 January at 9pm

The BBC Philharmonic and Hallés combined performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony at The Bridgewater Hall has won a South Bank Sky Arts Award, it was announced at a ceremony in London today.

The performance of Mahlers Symphony of a Thousand took place at The Bridgewater Hall last May, and saw 120 players from both orchestras sharing the stage with five choirs including the Hallé Choir and the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus for a momentous performance of Mahlers Eighth Symphony, conducted by Sir Mark Elder.

The project was one of the highlights of the citys six month long Mahler in Manchester Festival, in which the BBC Philharmonic and the Hallé joined forces with The Bridgewater Hall and Manchester Camerata for a city-wide tribute.

All concerts were broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and the Festival received widespread media attention and enthused audiences and commentators alike.

It is the second time that the Hallé and the BBC Philharmonic have shared the South Bank Show Award, which they also received in 2007 (with the RNCM) for their Shostakovich and His Heroes Festival. Both orchestras have also been previous winners of the award: the BBC Philharmonic in 2006 for their Beethoven cycle, and the Hallé (with the CBSO) in 2010 for their Nielsen collaboration.

The Award was presented to Richard Wigley , General Manager of the BBC Philharmonic and Sir Mark Elder, Music Director of the Hallé at a lunchtime awards ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel today.

Says Richard Wigley , General Manager of the BBC Philharmonic: Mahler in Manchester was an incredible team effort, with all partners giving everything to make sure that Manchester s celebration of Mahler was unique in its artistic breadth and imagination.

John Summers, Chief Executive of the Hallé said This is a great honour for Sir Mark and everyone who worked together on Mahler in Manchester . It is part of Manchester s culture that collaboration is the norm, and we are delighted that this has been recognised with the South Bank Sky Arts Award.

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards ceremony will be screened this evening on the Sky Arts 1 TV channel at 9pm

The Hallé Supported by Arts Council England , The City of Manchester , AGMA and Manchester Airport

Notes to Editors:

Mahler in Manchester was a series of 11 concerts which took place from January to June 2010 at The Bridgewater Hall. All the concerts were broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Each symphony performance was accompanied by a specially commissioned new work in a sequence of world premieres shared between the BBC Philharmonic, the Hallé and Manchester Camerata.

The cycle received the official endorsement of the Mahler family through the presence of the composer’s grand-daughter at the performance of the 8th symphony.

The series had an official Blog; Kenneth Woods’ View from the Podium; and included a souvenir publication, Wrestling with Angels by Peter Davison published by The Bridgewater Hall.

The cycle included a performance of Mahler’s Song of the Earth by Manchester Camerata who, in collaboration with The Bridgewater Hall, presented a study day on that work called Eternal Blue Horizons. Manchester Camerata and The Bridgewater Hall also collaborated on a large-scale school project Songbook of the Earth involving hundreds of school children across the whole of the North-West region.

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at www.kennethwoods.net

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