Shell Classic International brings illustrious orchestral visitors from around the world to Southbank Centre from September 2009 to May 2010. Highlights include:

The return of Daniel Barenboim, performing Beethoven’s five piano concertos in four concerts with the Berlin Staatskapelle (29 January – 2 February 2010), following his landmark Beethoven sonata cycle at the Royal Festival Hall in early 2008
The return of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to the Royal Festival Hall, opening the series with two concerts under principal conductor Bernard Haitink (23 and 24 September 2009)
Leonidas Kavakos performing Lutoslawski, Bach and Mozart with Camerata Salzburg, as part of the star violinist’s Artist in Focus series (28 November)

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Bernard Haitink open the Shell Classic International series with two concerts on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 September 2009. Haitink’s visits to London are now relatively infrequent and in these two concerts he leads the Orchestra in performances of Mozart’s soaring Jupiter symphony and Brahms’ first symphony, followed the next evening with performances of Haydn’s symphony No. 101 and Bruckner’s seventh symphony. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra opened the 2007/08 Shell Classic International season with Riccardo Muti and has been a regular visitor to the Royal Festival Hall throughout the venue’s history with the likes of Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez and the late Sir George Solti.

Leonidas Kavakos is renowned for his virtuosity, high-level musicianship and musical integrity and he visits Southbank Centre as an Artist in Focus this season. He brings Camerata Salzburg, of which he has been Artistic Director since October 2007, to Shell Classic International on Saturday 28 November in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Lutosławski’s Musique funèbre was written in memory of Bela Bartók and is here performed alongside Bach’s D minor violin concerto and Mozart’s Linz symphony. Kavakos became Artistic Director of the ensemble following ten years with Sir Roger Norrington at the helm. Camerata Salzburg, one of the world’s most highly regarded chamber orchestras, was founded in 1951.

Daniel Barenboim, whose cycle of Beethoven piano sonatas in the Royal Festival Hall took London by storm last year (“one of the musical events of the year, if not the decade” – Evening Standard), returns to Southbank Centre with the Berlin Staatskapelle to perform all of the composer’s piano concertos over four concerts from Friday 29 January to Tuesday 2 February 2010. Barenboim will direct the works from the piano and they are interspersed with music by Schoenberg, including the symphonic poem Pelleas und Melisande and Verklärte Nacht. Barenboim’s long association with the Royal Festival Hall began in 1956 when he made his London debut there at the age of 14. Beethoven has been a mainstay of his relationship with London audiences, having performed the sonata cycle in 1967 and 2008, and all of the concertos and symphonies, with the Berlin Staatskapelle in 1998 at Southbank Centre.

Mariss Jansons returns to the Royal Festival Hall with Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra on Saturday 6 March 2010. The lauded partnership’s visits to Southbank Centre have been met with rave reviews and this concert sees them performing a programme including Shostakovich’s 10th symphony.

The Chamber Orchestra of Europe has been a regular visitor to Southbank Centre for many years, and it returns to Shell Classic International on Thursday 27 May with conductor Iván Fischer and violinist Julia Fischer. Ms Fischer is soloist in Mendelssohn’s violin concerto and the Orchestra will perform Schubert’s fifth symphony alongside Rossini’s overture to The Italian Girl in Algiers and his Variazione a piu strumenti obbligati.

Each Shell Classic International concert this season will be preceded by a free informal talk. These will take the form of an introduction to the concert, including background on the performers and some details about the music, led by one of Southbank Centre’s classical music team.

This is the third year that Shell has supported the Shell Classic International season as part of its major sponsorship of Southbank Centre’s Transformation project, which included the reopening of the refurbished Royal Festival Hall in June 2007. As neighbours on the South Bank for over 40 years, Shell shares with Southbank Centre a strong commitment to the regeneration of the area.


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