The Ulster Orchestra is celebrating 50 years as Northern Ireland’s symphony orchestra and will mark its golden anniversary with 50 pop-up performances in and around Belfast City on Wednesday 28th September.
Passers-by at key city (and some quirky) locations, can expect to be wowed as members of the Orchestra, ranging from soloists, ensembles and the full Orchestra itself, strike up a chord in a number of different locations including business premises, hotels, schools, universities, hospitals, cafes, museums and arts centres. Morning commuters at Belfast City Airport and Europa Bus station will also be privy to the delightful sounds of the Orchestra as they make their onward journey, and a pop-up performance will entertain locals and unsuspecting tourists visiting the Titanic Museum, making it a memorable visit.
The musicians will be scattered throughout Belfast City as they attempt a record-breaking expedition of 50 performances, but will come together in their entirety at 1pm in Victoria Square Shopping Centre and again at 6.30pm in St Anne’s Cathedral for hour long performances, where they will be joined by the Belfast Philharmonic Choir. All events throughout the day are completely free and open to the public.
For 50 years the Ulster Orchestra has been at the forefront of musical life in Northern Ireland. Founded in 1966, the Orchestra first performed the bright and optimistic sound of Mozart’s ‘Marriage of Figaro’ to a captive audience in Belfast City Hall. Taking their audience on a journey through the decades, the band of professional, full-time musicians have brought the world’s finest artists to Ulster and have toured the world performing classical music at the highest standard.
Speaking about the golden anniversary celebrations and the 50 pop-up performances, Richard Wigley, Managing Director, Ulster Orchestra said; “We are pulling out all the stops to make our fiftieth birthday season a striking musical celebration for the people of Northern Ireland. The fifty locations of the pop-up performances cover a wide spread of locations and communities across Belfast, which will mark the occasion as one of the most memorable in the history of the Orchestra.
“The musicians of the Orchestra are local people and take great delight in performing for fellow citizens; we’re looking forward to our birthday pop-up performances that will entertain and surprise members of the public, spreading joy and delight as we celebrate our golden year.”
Every year the Ulster Orchestra enriches the local community with more than 60 world-class performances for approximately 48,000 concert goers. However the influence of the Orchestra reaches much further than that, touching the lives of thousands of children and adults through education and outreach programmes. The value the Orchestra places on the community engagement reflects its commitment to becoming an increasingly relevant part of the life of the wider community.
The birthday celebrations will continue through to Friday 30th September, when the Orchestra will host a special, sold-out birthday concert in the Ulster Hall. Under the leadership of conductor, Rafael Payare, the spectacular concert will welcome the return of Northern Ireland’s legendary pianist, Barry Douglas OBE, who will perform Tchaikovsky’s beloved Piano Concerto No.1.
Orchestra fans, music enthusiasts and those simply enjoying the music at the pop-up performances will have the chance to win tickets to one of the Ulster Orchestra’s 50th birthday season concerts by posting their selfies in front of the Orchestra to the Ulster Orchestra Facebook and Twitter page.
For more information on the 50th celebrations and for a full list of the pop-up performances, visit www.ulsterorchestra.org.uk/celebrate-with-us