Back in March 2015, Barry Wordsworth stepped down from his role as Music Director to the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra after 26 years. Since then, Barry has been BPO’s Conductor Laureate and still regularly returns to Brighton to conduct the BPO as part of their main season.

BFC’s relationship with Barry goes back to May 1986 and a programme of light classical music for BBC’s Friday Night is Music Night. Thereafter regular performances at the Dome during the BPO’s season and with other orchestras and at other venues covered the full spectrum of classical choral music from Bach to Walton, Brigadoon to Carmina Burana, and from Requiems to Serenades. Our last concert with Barry was in the Dome performing some of Elgar’s vocal music recorded with him and the BBC Concert Orchestra a few months previously.

It is always a joy to work with Barry, and his concerts are eagerly anticipated by BFC singers and one of the high spots of our season. He is a stalwart supporter of the Chorus and we miss working with him quite as often as we have done in Brighton, but we know our paths will cross at some time in the future and in the meantime we send him our grateful thanks and our good wishes.

If Brighton was privileged to have had Barry at the helm of the BPO for so long, then the appointment of Joanna MacGregor as his replacement suggests that musical life in Brighton will continue to thrive.

Joanna has a distinguished and vibrant career as a concert pianist, appearing in the over eighty countries around the world; she regularly broadcasts on TV and radio, including the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

As a conductor and orchestral partner she’s worked extensively with the London Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Philharmonia, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and many others. She founded her own record label over twenty years ago – SoundCircus – which has issued award-winning recordings.

She’s known as an exceptional mover and shaker in the arts world, having been a highly successful Artistic Director of Bath International Festival, Dartington Summer School and Festival, and Deloitte Ignite at the Royal Opera House. She’s also known for her innovative and exciting programming, from Bach and Beethoven to jazz and new music. She’s known for bringing classical music to wide-ranging audiences, presenting concerts and artistic events of the highest calibre for everyone.

BFC looks forward to the future and the opportunity to work once more with BPO and Joanna and, who knows? Hopefully with Barry again!