About Us

After 164 years the Hallé is embarking on its first digital season. The orchestra is numbered amongst the world’s top symphonic ensembles, and continues to seek ways to enhance and refresh what it undertakes, with aspirations to provide leadership through performance standards, education, understanding and training.

Founded by Sir Charles Hallé in Manchester, the Hallé gave its first concert in the city’s Free Trade Hall on 30 January 1858. Following the death of Sir Charles, the orchestra continued to develop under the guidance of such distinguished figures as Dr Hans Richter, Sir Hamilton Harty and Sir John Barbirolli. Mark Elder CBE became Music Director in 2000. He was knighted by the Queen in 2008 for services to music and appointed a Companion of Honour in 2017. In November 2011, he was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society.

The Hallé has received many awards, notably from the Royal Philharmonic Society and the South Bank Awards, for its work in the concert hall and celebrated collaborations with other orchestras and Manchester organisations. In normal times, the Hallé takes to the stage for around 70 concerts a year at The Bridgewater Hall, its Manchester home, and it places great pride in giving over 40 concerts annually throughout the rest of Britain. Its distinguished history of acclaimed performances also includes televised concerts, frequent radio broadcasts and international tours.

Since the Hallé launched its own recording label in 2003, a number of its recordings have won prestigious awards including five Gramophone Awards. In addition, the Hallé has received two Diapasons d’Or for two of its Debussy recordings, La Mer in 2007 and Images in 2020. A further Gramophone Award was given for one of an ongoing series of recordings made for the acclaimed contemporary music label, NMC. In 2013, the Hallé and Sir Mark Elder’s recording of Elgar’s The Apostles was honoured with both the ‘Choral Award’ and ‘Recording of the Year’ (BBC Music Magazine) as well as the ‘Choral Award’ (Gramophone).

Hallé St Peter’s, a restored deconsecrated church in the Ancoats area of Manchester, has been a home for the Hallé’s rehearsals and recordings since 2013. Closed for expansion during much of 2019, the newly reopened building now also incorporates the Oglesby Centre, a hub for Hallé Connect – all of our activity away from the concert platform, including the Hallé’s family of choirs, Youth Orchestra, education workshops, community outreach and small-scale performances – as well as Café Cotton at Hallé St Peter’s which is open to all. The building was originally opened by the Hallé’s Patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex.

Over a quarter of a million people heard the Hallé live in the year up to April 2020, of whom more than 70,000 were inspired by the Hallé’s pioneering education programme. It exists to create a wider enjoyment and understanding of music throughout the whole community and can generate around 70 projects a year. Winter 2020 will see the launch of Goddess Gaia, a digital resource for schools featuring a twenty-minute animation and soundtrack based on a story by Tony Mitten.

The Hallé is a registered charity.

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