British Orchestras Conference to Focus on Inclusivity, Sustainability and Programming

The Able Orchestra will perform at this year’s ABO Conference.

British Orchestras Conference to Focus on Inclusivity, Sustainability and Programming

This year’s event takes place in Manchester and will be hosted by the Hallé orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic.

The Association of British Orchestras annual conference will take place this month in Manchester from Wednesday 29 to Friday 31 January.

The conference, which is hosted by the Hallé and the BBC Philharmonic, will focus on the future of orchestras, specifically looking at what the industry will look like in 2030. The theme is a response to Arts Council England’s ten-year strategy for 2020–2030, and will be incorporated into the conference through presentations and performances on topics such as inclusion, programming, funding, broadcasting and the sustainability of orchestras.

Discussion topics include ‘The Future of Classical Music Careers’, ‘A Carbon-free Future’, ‘The Inclusive Orchestra’, ‘A Sporting Vision for Music’, ‘Diversifying Your Team for Success’, ‘The Art of Programming’, and a discussion with executives from Decca records.

Among the speakers over the three days are Morten Gjelten, Director of the Association of Norwegian Theatres and Orchestras; Alex Walden, Orchestra Manager with the BBC Concert Orchestra; Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Catherine Arlidge MBE, Artistic & Education Director of the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain; James Purnell, the BBC’s Director of Radio & Education; Rakhi Singh, Music Director of Manchester Collective; Rebecca Allen, President of Decca Records Group UK; and Chiara Badiali, Knowledge and Sector Intelligence Lead with Julie’s Bicycle.

Concerts and presentations
The conference will also include concerts and the ABO classical music awards. The opening concert will take place on 29 January and will feature the Able Orchestra, an inclusive ensemble made up of professional orchestral musicians, digital artists and young musicians using assistive music technology. The ensemble will perform a new commission by Oliver Vibrans. 

On 30 January, The Hallé will perform with conductor Sir Mark Elder and will play a number of works by Beethoven including the Ninth Symphony.

For further details, visit


Published on 2 January 2020

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