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 Friday Night is Music Night

1952 to date


BBC Concert Orchestra

Informal setting with BBC Concert Orchestra players.

  • The world's longest-running live music programme on radio!

The BBC Concert Orchestra was formed in 1952 from its predecessor the BBC Opera Orchestra. In order to provide a showcase this show was launched the same year on the Light Programme. 


Friday Night is Music Night plays a wide and flexible repertoire, ranging from classical works and grand opera to light music and popular songs.


Barry Wordsworth


Barry Wordsworth

Its Principal Conductors over the years have been Gilbert Vinter, Sir Charles Mackerras, Vilem Tausky, Marcus Dods, Ashley Lawrence and, since 1989, Barry Wordsworth. The orchestra has worked with  Sir Adrian Boult, Sir Malcolm Sargent and Sir Charles Groves.


The Orchestra's permanent home is the Hippodrome in Golders Green , North London, which serves as a base form the majority of its music-making. 


The show is frequently broadcast from theatres and concert halls throughout the UK in front of a live audience. 


The first presenter of the show was ex-Variety Bandbox front man Philip Slessor followed by wartime newsreader Frank Phillips, 'voices of the pools' men Jimmy Kingsbury and James Alexander Gordon, Night Ride announcer Eugene Fraser and briefly John Marsh. Robin Boyle was at the microphone from the 1970's until the 1990's. We have also heard  Brian Kay, John Dunn, Richard Baker, Sheila Tracy and Paul Gambaccini.


Popular renditions over the years have been Porgy and Bess, Finlandia and the Hallelujah Chorus.


In recent years the Orchestra has played with leading vocalists from the worlds of classical and popular music, including: Bill Bailey, Nicola Benedetti, Purple, Kasabian, David Arnold, Terry Hall, Rod Stewart, James Bolam, Alison Moyet, Alan Opie, James Morrision, David Gray, Lionel Richie, Julian Lloyd-Webber, Will Gregory, Ronan Keating, Cerys Matthews, Diana Krall, Sean Rowley, Pet Shop Boys, Jonny Greenwood, Anne Dudley, Bruza , Chlo Hanslip, Uri Caine, Artur Pizarro, Jamie Cullum, Richard Ashcroft, Michael Bubl Dionne Warwick, Tony Christie, Soweto Kinch, Stephen Fry and Andrea Bocelli.




Comments (2)

0/5 (0)
Merv Durrant (rOPLEY HANTS) says...
What about a mention for Sidney Torch who had a lot of input into F N M N in the early days
19th February 2017 4:33pm
timo vuorio (HELSINKI) says...
Great site!!
6th December 2016 6:41am
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