The Britten-Shostakovich Festival Orchestra (BSFO) is a unique bi-national ensemble bringing together young people of conservatoire age in a shared cultural experience.
The BSFO was formed in 2019 to mark the Year of Music, a bilateral initiative between Russia and the United Kingdom. Its inaugural season it gave five concerts in Russia following an intensive rehearsal period in Sochi, and seven concerts in the United Kingdom, performing to immense acclaim in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls. These public concerts were the first time that most of our musicians had experienced such international musical collaboration.
The BSFO’s ambition is to maintain this dynamic cultural collaboration, bringing together young musicians from Russia and the United Kingdom each year to work together intensively before presenting a series of concerts on tour.
In 2019 and again in 2020, applications for the Orchestra have come from many of the most talented orchestral musicians studying or just starting their careers as students or recent graduates from leading conservatoires and music colleges in Moscow, St Petersburg, Rostov, Novosibirsk, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford, Glasgow and Cardiff.
Jan Latham-Koenig, who is also the Artistic Director of the Kolobov Novaya Opera in Moscow, conducts the orchestra and selects all the musicians through auditions. He is the only British conductor to occupy such a senior titled position with one of Russia’s major musical institutions.
The BSFO wishes to thank the Britten-Pears Foundation and Mme Irina Shostakovich for their agreement to using the names Britten and Shostakovich, and also gratefully acknowledges the patronage of HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Mme Irina Shostakovich and Mr Yuri Temirkanov.