Entertainment & Arts

Conductor Keith Lockhart joins BBC Concert Orchestra

Keith Lockhart
Image caption Lockhart said he was "honoured" to be appointed principal conductor

American conductor Keith Lockhart has been appointed the seventh principal conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra ahead of his Proms debut this month.

The 50-year-old has been a conductor with the Boston Pops Orchestra since 1995 and will continue to work with them once he takes up his new role.

Austria's Johannes Wildner, meanwhile, has been signed as principal guest conductor with the orchestra.

His first concert will be at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall on 27 September.

Formed in 1952, the BBC Concert Orchestra is described as the corporation's "most versatile performing group".

Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead was appointed its composer in residence in 2004.

Having worked with the orchestra in the past, Lockhart said he was "honoured to be embarking on a more formal relationship".

"The unique variety of the BBC Concert Orchestra's concert offerings in the UK and their unrivalled role on BBC TV and Radio... provide an immense opportunity for audience connection at the most meaningful level."

Image caption Wildner spent 10 years as a violinist with the Vienna Philharmonic

Wildner echoed those sentiments, praising the orchestra's "high instrumental standards, great flexibility and musicianship".

Born in 1956, he has held positions at the Prague State Opera and Leipzig Opera and spent 10 years as a violinist with the Vienna Philharmonic.

British conductor Barry Wordsworth was the BBC Orchestra's principal conductor from 1989 to 2006 and now serves as its conductor laureate.

"It is a fantastic moment for me to see two such fine and exciting conductors join us," he said.

Lockhart will appear with the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Proms on 30 August on a night of British and American music.

General manager Andrew Connolly said he embodied the orchestra's "international appeal and ambition."

The BBC Concert Orchestra performed on Saturday at London's Royal Albert Hall in a celebration of the work of US composer Stephen Sondheim.

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