The Britten–Pears Orchestra (BPO) offers an exceptional opportunity for emerging young professional musicians to study key repertoire in depth with leading conductors, soloists and tutors in the inspiring setting of the Suffolk coast. It makes an important link between conservatories and the profession by combining practical training with the opportunity to perform at the highest level. Orchestra members are selected by annual international audition and include students from over 35 countries, all of whom are either current conservatoire students or recent graduates. BPO players take part in up to four projects annually, working on a wide range of repertoire – from classical to contemporary, small ensemble and string orchestra to major symphonies and opera. A number also join other courses run by the Britten– Pears Young Artist Programme (BPP), often taking part in its Young Artists’ concerts, which are a regular feature of the Aldeburgh Festival.
The BPO appears regularly in the Aldeburgh Festival, the Snape Proms, the Easter Festival and the autumn Britten Weekend. Previous guest conductors have included Oliver Knussen, Robin Ticciati, Vasily Petrenko and Antonello Manacorda.
2012 saw the formation of a new and unique international project, the Aldeburgh World Orchestra (AWO), whereby 121 of the most talented young musicians from across the globe were led by Mark Elder in performances that formed part of the 2012 London Olympic Festival celebrations.
Since 2008 the BPO has been awarded an annual grant from the Leverhulme Trust to provide bursaries for BPO members. This enables the most promising students worldwide to participate, regardless of their financial situation. The orchestra is extremely grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for its generous support.