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The Halle Orchestra of Manchester

Britain’s first  professional symphony orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, was started by the German-born pianist and also conductor, Charles Hallé, in  1857, for a  6 months period to celebrate and publicise the exhibition of art work , the orchestra  was formed.

For the following 37 years Hallé managed and conducted the concerts. From rather primitive beginnings  he gradually increased the complexity of the programmes and also provided a number of important first British performances of works by Berlioz. When new works by such modern-day composers as Wagner, Johannes Brahms and also Dvorák were published, Hallé quickly  included them in his programmes. The majority of the great musicians  of the day, instrumental  and vocal, appeared in Manchester under his baton, and  he himself provided early performances of the  Brahms  and  Grieg piano concertos.

For a short period  he had a contract to fulfil in  Vienna as conductor and for the  duration the Band was conducted by Frederic Cowen. In 1899, the year the Hallé Concerts Programme was started, Richter went to Manchester and he   stayed until 1911.

Although many of  his musical programmes were criticised for failing to include music by contemporary composers  like Debussy as well as Igor Stravinsky, he promoted the music of Edward Elgar and Richard Strauss to ensure that Manchester was entertained  in what became a golden era of charming songs and performances.

After a short period of the Halle performing  under Michael Balling, the Orchestra was maintained by  visitor conductors throughout the years of 1914-1919 , principal among them Sir Thomas Beecham. In 1920 Hamilton Harty became the orchestra’s  conductor for the following 13 years, throughout which he built  the Orchestra  into a world class orchestra of musicians, particularly well known for  the music  of Berlioz as well as Sibelius. From 1933 to 1943 Thomas Beecham and  Malcolm Sargent were the Conductors most often seen in Manchester. In 1943 the management of the Halle orchestra took the  decision to make the orchestra a full time operation before this time it had only ever performed for a six month period. It was also decided  to increase the annual variety of performances from around 70 to over 200. This bold action coincided with the visit of John Barbirolli, from New york city in 1936  who then took over as the full time  conductor of the orchestra.

After 1945 the fame of the  Hallé orchestra  increased  further, developing into a  nationwide orchestra, for it played in every part of Britain although its base stayed Manchester, Bradford and Sheffield. Barbirolli urged its development into a  be a global orchestra , and in the 27 years throughout which he was its head, the Hallé played in Germany, Austria, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Southern Rhodesia, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, France, Scandinavia, Central as well as Southern The U.S.A. and the West Indies.

The respect and affection that  Sir John Barbirolli was held in  culminated in the orchestra creating and bestowing  on him in 1968 the special title of Conductor Laureate for Life. His name had  become identified inextricably with that of  the Hallé and his death  in July 1970 was a severe  blow  not only to the orchestra itself but to  its thousands of devoted fans .From 1968 the Hallé were considering possible  prospects for a replacement for Sir John and also their choice was made  in December 1970 when James Loughran, the 39 year old Conductor of the BBC Scottish Chamber orchestra took over as conductor of the Halle.  His appointment  dated from September 1971, yet his initial shows with the Band prior to that date were outstandingly well received . A new and also potentially amazing period  of the Halle orchestra had begun

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