Ulster Orchestra

About Ulster Orchestra

Founded in 1966, the Ulster Orchestra has been at the forefront of musical life in Northern Ireland and the Orchestra's fifty six full-time musicians form the region's only professional symphony orchestra.

In 2014 the Ulster Orchestra appointed Rafael Payare as its Chief Conductor. Payare is a conductor in high demand amongst the world's great orchestra and joins a distinguished line of past principal conductors including Bryden Thomson, Vernon Handley, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Dimitry Sitovetsky, Thierry Fischer and Kenneth Montgomery. The relationship between Rafael Payare and the Orchestra was further cemented in 2016 when the conductor was made Music Director of the Ulster Orchestra. 2014 was also the year that Jac van Steen was appointed Principal Guest Conductor, in recognition of his long-standing and vital relationship with the Orchestra.

The Ulster Orchestra's mission is to enrich the lives of people living in and visiting Northern Ireland, as well as promoting the region through international touring and regular broadcasts with both BBC Northern Ireland and BBC Radio 3. The Orchestra strives for excellence in all it undertakes, be it regular concert performances, learning and community engagement programmes, or creative collaborations across the arts.
The Ulster Orchestra gives around 40 evening and lunchtime concerts each season in its home, the Ulster Hall, and in the Belfast Waterfront. The Orchestra performs for the BBC Radio 3 invitational concert series at the Ulster Hall and in front of tens of thousands for the BBC’s Proms in the Park celebrations each year.

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