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Halle Orchestra


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About Halle Orchestra

The Hallé is Britain's longest established professional symphony orchestra. Founded in Manchester by the pianist and conductor Charles Hallé in 1858, it gave its first concert in the city's Free Trade Hall that year. Following the death of Sir Charles Hallé, the orchestra continued to develop under the guidance of such distinguished figures as Hans Richter, Sir Hamilton Harty and Sir John Barbirolli.

Under the direction of Mark Elder, who became Music Director in 2000, the Hallé has received increasing acclaim both here and abroad. The Royal Philharmonic Society honoured Mark Elder with the Conductor Award at the 2006 ceremony and, the previous year, the Hallé was presented with the Ensemble Award. The Hallé, BBC Philharmonic and the Royal Northern College of Music were recently awarded the South Bank Show classical music award for 'Shostakovich, His Heroes and Comrades', a collaboration which marked the centenary of Shostakovich's birth. The festival presented all of Shostakovich's symphonies and chamber music in Manchester between January and February 2006.

Ten years ago the Hallé moved to its new home, The Bridgewater Hall, where it presents over 70 concerts a year. Making over 40 appearances annually throughout the rest of Britain, the Hallé attracts large audiences at home and outside Manchester. Its reputation for artistic excellence and versatility has led to many international tours as well as frequent broadcasts and televised performances.

In 2003 the Hallé launched its own CD label of studio recordings - featuring, in particular, the music of Elgar and Richard Strauss - alongside a second label of remastered Hallé recordings from the 1920s to the 1940s. The latest release includes Debussy's La Mer and orchestrations of twelve Debussy Preludes by the Hallé's Associate Composer, Colin Matthews.

The Hallé Choir, founded alongside the orchestra in 1858, is under the leadership of the Hallé's Choral Director, James Burton, who also directs the Hallé Youth Choir. The Hallé's Assistant Conductor, Rory Macdonald, directs the Hallé Youth Orchestra. At the beginning of the 2005-06 season, for the first time in its long history, the Hallé appointed a Principal Guest Conductor, Cristian Mandeal.

As part of its ongoing commitment to living composers, the Hallé - as well as presenting many important UK and Manchester premieres - has given the first performances of works by Elgar and Vaughan Williams, and more recently, new pieces by Thomas Adès, John Casken, Luke Bedford and Mark-Anthony Turnage, a tradition which continues with new works by its Associate Composer, Colin Matthews.

Last season over a quarter of a million people heard the Hallé. More than 20,000 of these were young people inspired by the Hallé's pioneering education programme which generates over 40 projects a year and exists to create a wider enjoyment and understanding of music throughout the whole community. The Hallé is a society and registered charity that exists to ensure the continued success and development of the orchestra and its family.

'Not since the days of Barbirolli has Manchester enjoyed such a powerful combination of inspirational maestro and fired-up orchestra. Aided by Lyn Fletcher, the Hallé's exceptional leader, Elder has turned the Hallé into a passionate yet well-drilled outfit, as capable of delivering sumptuous Elgar as of snarling sardonically through Shostakovich.' - Richard Morrison, The Times