Town Hall Symphony Hall announces its most diverse season to date, with a rich focus on home grown talents to reinvigorate relationships with national orchestras of the country.
With classical music evolving on a national scale, Birmingham Classical is what Birmingham International Concert Season has become. Birmingham Classical will continue to offer a distinctive programme of internationally renowned orchestras, recitals and chamber concerts, featuring some of the biggest classical music stars in the world today. However the 16/17 programme aims to highlight key orchestral practice here in the UK, inviting national orchestras to share their extraordinary work with audiences in Birmingham.
Announcing the details of the 2016/2017 programme, this year-long series is one of the largest and most important programmes of visiting orchestras and classical musicians in the UK. The new programme fulfils joint aims of making classical music more accessible to a broader, more diverse audience, whilst maintaining Birmingham’s position as a world leading destination for bringing some of the world’s most sought after performers and top orchestras. As two of the finest concert halls in the world, THSH wants to ensure the classical music ecology for Birmingham remains vibrant and relevant, sponsors opportunity and celebrates diversity.
The season opens on 3 October 2016 with the only British artist selected for the prestigious 2016/17 ‘Rising Stars’ season, violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen.
The refreshing focus on British orchestras includes the Ulster Orchestra, conducted by Rafael Payare on 8 May 2017, celebrating their 50th anniversary at Symphony Hall this season. The programme of Brahms Violin Concerto and Sibelius First Symphony will be a debut performance in Birmingham’s great hall. Accompanying this will be a solo from Alina Ibragimova with Brahms acclaimed Violin Concerto.
The 16/17 repertoire also sees a number of British orchestras make their Birmingham debut. The Aurora Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Collon redefines what an orchestra in the 21st century can be. Performing Brahms Symphony No 1 completely from memory, the orchestra come to Birmingham on 4 June 2017. The British Paraorchestra, the world’s first professional ensemble for disabled musicians, will perform Corelli’s La Folia and Lloyd Coleman’s Towards Harmony, also in their Birmingham debut, on 18 February 2017.
Russian highlights include the most celebrated of Russian orchestras, the St Petersburg Philharmonic under the baton of Yuri Temirkanov and lead by Nikolai Lugansky on piano. Performing on 26 January 2017, the orchestra will truly show their mettle in two of Russia’s most spectacular orchestral showpieces, the breathtakingly romantic Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and the stunning Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.
The Russian theme contiunes with a visit from the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra on 14 October 2016, led by conductor Denis Lotoev. The concert features one of the finest young Russian pianists today, Pavel Kolesnikov, in a rare performance of Tchaikovsky’s Second Piano Concerto.
From China, the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra under their music director Long Yu perform at Symphony Hall on 18 May 2017. The programme features the first Birmingham performance of film composer Zhao Lin’s atmospheric Duo, before East meets West amidst demons, princesses and magical beasts of Stravinsky’s The Firebird.
Acclaimed pianist Murray Perahia turns 70 in 2017, and to celebrate he will make a return visit to our great hall on 5 April in an all-Beethoven programme with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
Theatre infused with the musical prowess of the Symphony Hall organ comes from internationally celebrated actor John Malkovich in Call Me God: The Final Speech Of A Dictator, accompanied by Martin Haselböck on organ. Making its UK premier on the Symphony Hall stage, Malkovich stands alone against the sound of the mighty Symphony Hall organ in this astonishing one-man music-drama: an exploration of tyranny in the raw by an actor of unparalleled conviction. This is a must for anyone who cannot resist the pull of one of the world’s greatest purpose built organs, but also for newcomers and drama-lovers alike.
Programme highlights include regular visitors, such as the Philharmonia performing the much-loved Rachmaninov’s Symphony No 1 under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy on 15 November 2016. This programme also includes pianist Alice Sara Ott as soloist performing a Piano Concerto by Tchaikovsky.
Beatrice Rana makes a return visit in Bach’s Goldberg Variations after causing quite a stir in her debut last season. Rana will perform a solo piano recital on 9 May 2017. Also performing a Bach masterpiece is pianist Angela Hewitt on 10 February 2017 playing all six of Bach’s French Suites in what promises to be an extraordinary concert.
A programme highlight includes the winner of this year’s RPS Music Award for conductor, Sakari Oramo. Former CBSO Music Director, Oramo will perform on 26 May 2017 with a 100-strong BBC Symphony Orchestra for Messiaen’s heart-wrenching blockbuster, Turangalîla-Symphonie. Also winner of the RPS Music Award for ‘Instrumentalist of the year’ is Daniil Trifonov, joined by Vasily Petrenko and The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for a stand out performance of Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Trifonov’s stunning take on Rachmaninov’s glittering jazz-infused Fourth Piano Concerto on 1 February 2017.
Opera comes from one of the most remarkable voices of the century, Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez at Symphony Hall on 21 February 2017, this will follow his star performance in Prom 75: The Last Night Of The Proms, a showcase featuring a hand-picked selection of the world’s best young singers in September this year. The repertoire also includes a standout solo piano recital from last year’s Brant piano competition winner, Kristiina Rokashevich on 24 April 2017. Further recitals include internationally acclaimed tenor Mark Padmore accompanied by the incomparable Paul Lewis on piano in their variation of Schubert’s Die Schone Mullerin on 30 April 2017.
Commenting on the season, newly appointed Chief Executive of Town Hall & Symphony Hall, Nick Reed, said:
“Classical music in Birmingham is positively evolving. Birmingham Classical is what Birmingham International Concert Season has become and fulfils our joint aims of making classical music more accessible to a broader more diverse audience, whilst maintaining Birmingham’s position as a world leading destination for bringing to town some of the world’s most sought after performers and top orchestras. THSH is committed to ensuring the broadest possible audience can enjoy great value for money with an extensive high quality programme.
Symphony Hall celebrates its twenty-fifth birthday this year – a significant landmark for our city, and progress for us given the context of the challenging public funding climate that many concert venues around the UK are struggling with. As two of the finest concert halls in the world, THSH wants to ensure the classical music ecology for Birmingham remains vibrant and relevant, sponsors opportunity and celebrates diversity.
Our challenge is to find a way to present more classical music, for more people, in a more sustainable way. Birmingham Classical enables us to take a major step towards this and, nationally, to set an example for others to follow.”
We are delighted to welcome loyal customers, as well as newcomers to what promises to be our most exciting season yet!”