Innovation has been central to the Hallé since its foundation in 1858 by Sir Charles Hallé, a true pioneer. His fundamental belief that music should be for everyone remains central to the orchestra’s vision today, yet the Hallé is much more than just a world-beating symphony orchestra. Its collective spirit can be felt in the variety of communities it embraces, the diversity of the ensembles it nurtures and the array of different concerts it offers.
‘After more than two decades with Elder as Music Director, orchestra and conductor seem to think, breathe, feel as one.’ – The Guardian, July 2023
Since 1858, Sir Charles Hallé’s ground-breaking work has been continued by other musical legends: Hans Richter, Hamilton Harty, John Barbirolli and Sir Mark Elder. The 2023–24 season is Sir Mark’s final one as Music Director: he will be stepping aside after almost a quarter of a century at the helm. From the 2024–2025 season, Sir Mark takes the role of Conductor Emeritus and passes the baton to Kahchun Wong, who opens a new chapter for the Hallé as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor.
Sir Mark Elder bookends the 2023–2024 season with two very special Mahler symphonies (Nos. 9 and 5). Overflowing with extraordinary music, stellar artists and exciting new collaborations, the season includes orchestral, operatic and choral showpieces such as Elgar’s Enigma Variations, Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. Thomas Adès, one of the most celebrated living composers and conductors, joins the Hallé for the first of two seasons as Artist-in-Residence.
At the heart of the Hallé are its players, led by their dynamic Leader, Roberto Ruisi. Hailing from over 14 different countries, they are extraordinary, multi-skilled individuals in their own right – soloists, chamber musicians, educators and more – who, when united in concert, create the unique and world-famous Hallé sound.
Originally based in Manchester’s Free Trade Hall, the Hallé has been resident at the specially built Bridgewater Hall, one of the world’s great concert venues, since it was opened in 1996. Hallé St Peter’s opened in the resurgent area of Ancoats in 2013 and now includes the triple RIBA Award-winning Oglesby Centre. It provides a home for the Hallé to rehearse, record and perform, as well as a base for Hallé Connect, the banner that unites all the Hallé’s varied schools and community work.
The Hallé performs to over 100,000 people annually at The Bridgewater Hall and this season its expanded offering includes hour-long immersive Rush Hour concerts, specially devised family performances and a series of unique collaborations with celebrated artists from other genres in ‘The Hallé Presents …’. Hallé St Peter’s hosts a series of relaxed concerts and an incredibly popular lunchtime Chamber Series that frequently attracts capacity audiences.
The biggest initiative of its kind in the world, Hallé Connect’s education and outreach projects inspire and engage more than 76,000 people a year, bringing music in its broadest sense to many who have never before visited a concert hall. The ever-expanding family of ensembles welcomes over 700 people, aged eight and upwards, through its doors each week.
In addition, the Hallé holds residencies in major cities across the North West, performs regularly at prestigious international festivals, such as Edinburgh and the BBC Proms, and tours overseas, reaching another 70,000 listeners, both here and abroad. Encouraged by an enhanced social media presence, the Hallé has seen a dramatic increase in younger audiences, as well as the launch of its own record label, filmed concerts released online, expanded repertoire with brand-new commissions and numerous awards, including a 2022 South Bank Sky Arts Award.