Concerts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Europe are infrequent but unforgettable. Askonas Holt is proud of its long relationship with this great orchestra. For nearly fifty years, we have presented their London concerts under such celebrated music directors as William Steinberg (1969) and Seiji Ozawa (1973). We are also delighted to have collaborated with them for their two European tours, managing their concerts with their Conductor Emeritus (and former Principal Guest Conductor), Bernard Haitink, at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh Festival, and their return to the BBC Proms with their previous Music Director, James Levine (2004-2011) as well as with current Music Director Andris Nelsons in September 2018.
Askonas Holt is delighted to represent the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, a cultural beacon for the South and South West of England.
The BSO remains at the forefront of the UK orchestral scene since its foundation in 1893. It serves communities across the South and South West and extends its influence across the whole of the UK and internationally with regular festival appearances, an extensive catalogue of recordings and live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. Taking its lead from founder Sir Dan Godfrey, the BSO is one of the UK’s most dynamic and innovative symphony orchestras. He established a world class ensemble and during his tenure not only did the Orchestra work with such illustrious figures as Bartók, Sibelius, Holst, Stravinsky, Elgar and Vaughan Williams, Bournemouth was also the first orchestra to have performed all the Tchaikovsky symphonies in the UK and gave more premières than any other orchestra at the time. More recently composers who have worked with the BSO include Sir Michael Tippett, Sir John Tavener, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Rodion Shchedrin, David Matthews and Mark Anthony Turnage. The BSO has a continuing relationship with Stephen McNeff and James MacMillan. Kirill Karabits is the BSO’s Chief Conductor – a role which will see him lead the Orchestra to its 125th Anniversary in 2018 and beyond. He continues the fine pedigree of esteemed past Principal Conductors including Sir Charles Groves, Constantin Silvestri, Rudolf Schwarz, Paavo Berglund, Andrew Litton, Yakov Kreizberg and Marin Alsop.
Each year the BSO performs upwards of 140 public performances in its home region of over 10,000 square miles along with regularl appearinces at venues in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, and the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The BSO has toured worldwide, having played at Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center, New York; Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Vienna; Rudolfinum, Prague; and Philharmonie, Berlin. Recent visits have also included performances in Hong Kong, Hamburg, Bremen and Wilhelmshaven.
Making their first-ever UK visit, Cape Town Opera brought their vibrant and heartfelt production of “Porgy and Bess” to Wales Millennium Centre, Edinburgh Festival Theatre and London’s Royal Festival Hall during October 2009. The performances won huge acclaim from audiences and critics alike, with The Times declaring that “on the strength of its glorious Gershwin, Cape Town Opera should be invited back – soon and often”.
Cape Town Opera returned to the UK in June/July 2012 for seven weeks of touring with both “Porgy and Bess” and the European premiere of a new production “Mandela Trilogy”, and the company has subsequently completed a series of major international tours, including to Hong Kong in 2017.
Set in three acts by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward and Ira Gershwin, “Porgy and Bess” is widely regarded as one of the operatic masterpieces of the 20th century, and features much-loved songs such as “Summertime”, “It ain’t necessarily so” and “Bess, you is my woman now”. In the hands of Cape Town Opera, many of whose singers are drawn from the city’s townships, the work has a newfound power and relevance.
From prisoner to president, “Mandela Trilogy” tells the extraordinary life story of Nelson Mandela. Set in three contrasting sections – highlighting Mandela’s traditional upbringing in the Eastern Cape; the turbulent but heady atmosphere of the townships at the onset of Apartheid; and finally Mandela’s long years in prison – the production employs a variety of musical styles, as well as an outstanding cast of over 40 performers, to cast new light on one of the world’s most iconic figures.
Dietrich Paredes is the orchestra’s Music Director.
The Caracas Symphony Orchestra (formerly known as the Youth Orchestra of Caracas) has now become one of the most representative orchestras of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela, founded by Maestro José Antonio Abreu 40 years ago.
In 2011, the Orchestra made its international debut at the Bergen International Music Festival, followed by a highly acclaimed tour to Asia with concerts in China and Korea. In 2012, the orchestra’s touring work included concerts throughout Europe. In 2013 the Orchestra made its debut at the Salzburg Festival as part of an historic El Sistema residency involving over 1,000 young musicians. In addition, it also performed for the first time in Japan and returned to Korea.
In 2014, the Orchestra returned to Europe with concerts in Zurich, Hamburg, Paris, Budapest and Vienna among other cities. This was followed in 2015 with a residency at Teatro alla Scala, Milan as part of the EXPO MILANO 2015 and another European tour later that same year.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of today’s leading orchestras. Performances by the CSO are much in demand at home and in the most prestigious music capitals of the world. In September 2010, renowned Italian conductor Riccardo Muti became the CSO’s tenth music director.
Askonas Holt has worked with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on a number of major tours, including visits to Asia and Europe under the baton of Bernard Haitink. Most recently the orchestra completed a further tour of Asian capital cities, conducted by Riccardo Muti.
China NCPA Orchestra is the resident orchestra of National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Beijing. Established in March 2010, the orchestra performs in more than a dozen opera productions presented by its home venue every year as well as in regular orchestral concerts in its own season.
Artists associated with the orchestra included Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Fabio Luisi, Lang Lang and Yuja Wang among many others.
The orchestra has gained critical acclaim for its performances in the NCPA’s opera productions of not only classical repertoire, but works such as Tosca, Die Fledermaus, Lohengrin, Aida, Nabucco, but also newly commissioned works like The Chinese Orphan and The Rickshaw Boy. Their performance of the mammoth Ring Without Words with its creator, Lorin Maazel, was released on SONY Classics worldwide, the only recording the great maestro ever made with a Chinese orchestra.
The orchestra has also explored extensively incontemporary music. It gave the Chinese premieres of works by Toru Takemitsu and Giya Kancheli and the world premieres of many works by Michael Gordon and Augusta Read Thomas. The NCPA Orchestra has flexed its wings on the international stage, receiving widespread international praise for its performancesat the Kissingen Summer Music Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and concerts in many cities throughout Germany as well as in Sydney, Singapore, Seoul, Daegu, Taipei and Macau. During the 2014/2015 season, the orchestra undertook its first North American tour, where it performed in seven major cities in the US and Canada, under their Chief Conductor Lü Jia. Most recently, in April 2019 the orchestra travelled to Seoul to perform the closing concert of Seoul Arts Center’s annual Orchestra Festival, celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Founded in 2000, the China Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) is led by Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Long Yu and President Li Nan and managed by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.
The CPO is an active and frequent advocate of Chinese music in the global sphere. With Long Yu and his fellow conductors Shi Shucheng, Yang Yang and Xia Xiaotang, the orchestra has been involved in a wide range of tours since its conception.
Over the past fourteen years, the CPO has performed numerous premieres that are virtually nowhere to be found elsewhere in China, and has forged its own style through extensive artistic involvement. One of the most important of these was Philip Glass’ Cello Concerto in 2001, commissioned by CPO, which had its world premiere in Beijing. This was the first ever work by an overseas composer commissioned by a music establishment in China. Other important premieres include Les Cinq Elements, Iris dévoilée and Reflet d’un temps disparu by Chen Qigang in 2002, Resurrection Piano Concerto by Krzysztof Penderecki in August 2004 with the composer on the podium and Dmitri Alexeev on the keyboard.
Askonas Holt most recently brought the CPO to London for their debut appearance at the BBC Proms in July 2014.
Askonas Holt are extremely proud to be the touring partner of the ground-breaking new Chineke! Orchestra: Europe’s first majority-BME orchestra. With their motto, ‘Championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music’, this orchestra is a real catalyst for change, realising existing diversity targets within the industry by increasing the representation of BME musicians in British and European orchestras.
Comprised of exceptional musicians from across the continent, the players are united in their pursuit to bring classical music into line with 21st century values, levelling the playing field for all young musicians and helping to create a vibrant new generation of professional musicians of all colours.
Since their inaugural concert at the Royal Festival Hall in September 2015 – subsequently appointed Associate Orchestra of the Southbank Centre – Chineke! Orchestra has captured the growing urge for social change and is gaining real momentum around Europe. Through world-class performance, the orchestra convey the powerful message of Founder, Artistic & Executive Director, Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE: ‘My aim is to create a space where BME musicians can walk on stage and know that they belong, in every sense of the word. If even one BME child feels that their colour is getting in the way of their musical ambitions, then I hope to inspire them, give them a platform, and show them that music, of whatever kind, is for all people.’
Askonas Holt presented the orchestra for the first time in September 2017 at the prestigious Ghent Festival, which celebrates diversity, creativity and virtuosity. This was followed by the orchestra’s first major European tour in November 2019.