Alongside the numerous venues and rock bands that have secured Manchester’s place as a leading hub for British contemporary music, the city is also home to one of Europe’s most admired orchestras, The Hallé.

Established in 1858 by the pianist and conductor Sir Charles Hallé, the organisation has survived two world wars and numerous other challenges to remain a leading producer of classical music in the UK. Watch an introduction to the orchestra in the video above.

Classic revivals

The Hallé has a long history of performing works by some of history’s greatest composers, from Mozart to Beethoven, Tchaikovsky to Vaughan Williams, and is constantly striving to introduce new audiences to these classic works. In the video below, you can delve into the orchestra pit itself in a 360° virtual reality tour of The Hallé performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

Alongside more traditional performances, The Hallé makes a concerted effort to connect classical music with contemporary culture through a unique programme that appeals to all ages and backgrounds. The video below provides gives a sneak peek into The Hallé’s enactment of Howard Blake’s score for the 1982 film The Snowman, which was performed at the orchestra’s modern home The Bridgewater Hall and was accompanied by a screening of the film.

Bringing classical music to new audiences and spaces

The Hallé also reaches out to its local community. In an effort to make its programme as accessible as possible, the orchestra runs a series of special projects in collaboration with community organisations in and around Manchester. In the summer of 2016, two members of The Hallé worked with groups of young people alongside guests from arts organisations across the region to produce a piece of music and digital imagery based on the BBC’s Ten Pieces, an initiative that invited groups of primary and secondary school children to respond to 10 pieces of music. This culminated in a performance at the Palace Theatre in Mansfield, combining music created live by disabled students using assistive and adaptive technology such as iPads alongside non-disabled students playing acoustic instruments. Learn more about the project, entitled Able Orchestra, in the video below.

Robot Orchestra

Another of The Hallé’s special projects, Robot Orchestra, was set up in response to Manchester’s selection as the European City of Science in 2016. The project commissioned various schools and community groups to create musical robots, the best of which were selected to perform alongside musicians from The Hallé at the Manchester Central Convention Complex on 24 July 2016. A video of the extraordinary performance can be found above.

New recordings by The Hallé

As well as all of its performances and collaborations, the orchestra still finds time to record new music. Its latest album, For the Fallen, was released in February 2017 and was produced to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Listen to an extract from the album via the audio clip above.

The Hallé combines its rich heritage with a progressive, refreshing outlook, and as a result its contribution to music and culture in Manchester remains invaluable. Continuing to produce music that seeks to both inspire and entertain, 2017 promises to be as exciting a year as ever for Manchester’s leading orchestra.

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