The Guildhall School of Music & Drama announces its autumn 2013 season which sees the opening of the School’s new building Milton Court. It includes new performance venues, rehearsal rooms and teaching accommodation, as well as technical facilities of the highest specification which will help provide the School’s students with the very best training for careers in the performing arts. Audiences will be able to enjoy the new Concert Hall, Theatre and Studio Theatre as well as spacious, light-filled foyers and public spaces. The School’s programme of public events includes theatre, music, opera, masterclasses, festivals and many free concerts and events which will take place in both the new Milton Court and existing Silk Street building.

Highlights include:

  • The first ever Alumni Recital Series, including Thomas Adès and Anne Sofie von Otter
  • The first public event at the Guildhall School’s new building Milton Court with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony by the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra with alumni soloists and the world premiere of a new work by Head of Composition Julian Philips
  • Performances of two Chekhov plays The Seagull and The Three Sisters opening the Milton Court theatres and the British premiere of June Havoc‘s Marathon ’33
  • Guildhall musicians performing before six London Symphony Orchestra concerts at the Barbican
  • Exclusive performances from senior Guildhall School professors as part of the School’s Faculty Artist Series
  • Four concerts as part of the Southbank Centre’s The Rest Is Noise festival
  • A festival commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Francis Poulenc
  • 3 performances of Iain Burnside’s new play Journeying Boys as part of the ‘Illuminating Britten’ weekend at the Barbican curated by documentary filmmaker John Bridcut
  • A performance as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival to celebrate professor Geoff Gascoyne’s 50th birthday and a special visit from British Jazz Awards winner Alec Dankworth to direct the Guildhall Jazz Band
  • Opera double bill of Debussy’s L’enfant prodigue and Donizetti’s Francesca di Foix

    Alumni Recital Series

    Celebrating the inaugural season of the School’s new building Milton Court, the Guildhall School presents the first ever Alumni Recital Series in the new Concert Hall. On 5 November Thomas Adès (Piano/Composition 1989) is joined by three other alumni: violinist Anthony Marwood (Violin 1986), clarinettist Matthew Hunt (Clarinet 1994) and cellist and Head of Strings at the School Louise Hopkins (Cello 1990) for a programme that includes Britten, Barry and Stravinsky and three works by Adès himself. Adès attended both Junior Guildhall and the Guildhall School, where he studied with Paul Berkowitz and Robert Saxton. On 23 November mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter is joined by pianist Bengt Forsberg and accordionist Bengan Janson for a concert of French chansons including works by Debussy, Fauré, Ravel and Saint-Saëns. Von Otter studied on the School’s Opera Course (1982) with Vera Rózsa. The Alumni Recital Series is in support of the School’s Scholarships Fund.

    Guildhall Symphony Orchestra

    On 4 October American conductor James Gaffigan returns to the School to conduct the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in the first public performance in the new 608-seat Milton Court Concert Hall. The programme includes a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with soloists who are alumni of the School: soprano Katherine Broderick (Opera 2007), a previous winner of the Guildhall School’s prestigious Gold Medal prize, mezzo soprano Cátia Moreso (Opera 2011), tenor Timothy Robinson (Opera 1989) and David Stout (Opera 2006), a recipient of the Principal’s Prize during his time at the School. The programme is completed with Elgar’s homage to London life, the Cockaigne Overture, and the world premiere of Come forth to play, a new work for organ, brass and percussion by Head of Composition Julian Philips.

    Drama: The Seagull, The Three Sisters & Marathon ‘33

    Drama at the Guildhall School in the autumn focuses on Anton Chekhov with two of his plays running simultaneously in the new theatres at Milton Court: The Seagull (17-19, 21, 23 & 24 October, 7.30pm and 18, 22, 24 October, 2pm) and The Three Sisters (19 & 21-26 October, 7.30pm and 21 & 24 October, 2pm). The Seagull officially opens the Milton Court Studio Theatre in a version by Peter Gill. This production is led by the School’s Director of Drama, Christian Burgess and the production team is completed with designer Agnes Treplin and lighting designer Johanna Town. Wyn Jones directs the David Mamet adaptation of The Three Sisters in the Milton Court Theatre with music by Guildhall composer James Garner. The production team also includes designer Libby Watson and lighting designer Paul Colwell. Completing the drama season this autumn at Silk Street Theatre, Guildhall students give the British premiere of June Havoc’s Marathon ’33 (29 & 30 November, 2-4 December, 7.30pm and 2 & 4 December, 2pm), directed by Olivier Award-nominee Rachel Grunwald.

    Guildhall Artists at the Barbican

    Senior musicians from the Guildhall School take to the Barbican stage before six LSO concerts at 6pm this autumn with free performances of complementary repertoire including songs by Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky (3 Oct), a piano quintet by Franck (31 Oct), the premiere of the Royal Philharmonic Society Guildhall student composer commissions (1 Nov), songs by Chabrier (3 Nov), Schubert’s Piano Sonata in B flat (20 Nov) and songs by Dvořák and Janáček (5 Dec).

    Faculty Artist Series

    On 7 November Senior Professor of Vocal Accompaniment at the Guildhall School Graham Johnson is joined by soprano Dame Felicity Lott, tenor and Professor of Voice Adrian Thompson and baritone Stephen Varcoe for a performance as part of the Poulenc Festival in the Milton Court Concert Hall. The second concert in this series is an evening with the School’s Professor of Piano Rolf Hind on 5 December. The programme includes Per Nørgård’s Turn, Lachenmann’s Serynade, John Adam’s Phrygian Gates and Mark Simpson’s Barkham Fantasy, as well as one of his own compositions.

    The Rest Is Noise

    This autumn the Guildhall School joins the Southbank Centre’s The Rest Is Noise festival, which explores how war, race, sex and politics shaped the music of the 20th century, inspired by Alex Ross’ book The Rest Is Noise. Beginning on Friday 4 October, the Guildhall Percussion Ensemble perform music by Xenakis and Cage, directed by Julian Warbuton with George Barton on solo percussion and Siwan Rhys on piano. This concert takes place at 1.05pm at the Silk Street Music Hall with further performances on Sunday 6 October at 1pm and 3pm in the Clore Ballroom. On Friday 1 November, the Ubu Ensemble performs Louis Andriessen’s De Staat at the Silk Street Music Hall followed by the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Sunday 3 November, conducted by Simon Wills. Also on 3 November the Guildhall Singers, directed by James Weeks, perform extracts from Cardew’s The Great Learning: Paragraph 5 at Weston Roof Pavilion at 12pm. The series concludes with ‘Works for soprano’ and includes performances of Weir’s King Harald’s Saga, Knussen’s Whitman Settings and Anthony Payne’s Evening Land and Adlestrop in the Purcell Room on Saturday 7 December, 5pm.

    Poulenc Festival

    To mark the fiftieth anniversary of Francis Poulenc’s death in 1963, Senior Professor of Vocal Accompaniment Graham Johnson, together with singers and pianists at the Guildhall School, presents a series of recitals to celebrate his repertoire of melodies. The series takes place from 18 October to 12 November. It begins with a lecture on Poulenc and his Poets and includes a Faculty Artist Series performance by Graham Johnson & Friends on 7 November.

    Barbican Britten: Illuminating Britten & Journeying Boys

    Illuminating Britten is a three day celebration from 8-10 November curated by documentary film-maker John Bridcut featuring film screenings, talks and panel discussions at the Barbican and includes performances by Guildhall School musicians. As part of this event, Guildhall students perform Journeying Boys (8 & 9 November, 7.30pm and 10 November, 2pm), a new play by Iain Burnside who is a Research Associate and professor at the Guildhall School. This play explores the creative personalities of Benjamin Britten and Arthur Rimbaud working at key moments in their lives. Following last year’s A Soldier and a Maker, Iain Burnside again fuses text, music and movement in a new genre of music theatre. Journeying Boys has been developed in association with the Royal College of Music and takes place in the new Milton Court Theatre.

    The Dankworth Family with Guildhall Jazz Band & EFG London Jazz Festival

    On 14 November British Jazz Awards winner Alec Dankworth makes a special visit to the School to direct a concert of small group jazz and big band music composed by his father, the late Sir John Dankworth. This concert will be the first jazz performance in the Milton Court Concert Hall and will include some surprise special guests. It also celebrates the donation by the Wavendon Foundation of a double bass to the School’s jazz department. On 22 November, as part of the 2013 London Jazz Festival, Guildhall School professor Geoff Gascoyne celebrates his 50th birthday with Guildhall musicians and special guests, including Jim Mullen (guitar), Tom Cawley (piano), Martin Hathaway (alto sax), Trudy Kerr (voice) and Ian Shaw (voice).

    Opera Double Bill: Debussy and Donizetti

    Based on the Bible story of The Prodigal Son, Debussy’s L’enfant prodigue won the composer the coveted Prix de Rome in 1884. In November 2013, the Guildhall School pairs it with Donizetti’s Francesca di Foix, a comic cautionary tale about the perils of being an overprotective husband, directed by Stephen Barlow. The Guildhall School’s Head of Opera Dominic Wheeler conducts and the production team is completed with designer Yannis Thavoris and lighting designer David Howe. Performances run as a double bill on 4, 6, 8 & 11 November at 7pm.

    Masterclasses

    A host of prestigious artists visit the Guildhall School this season to give masterclasses to senior students, or to take part in artist conversations. Visiting artists include Richard Goode (20 Sep), Tong Wei Dong (7 Oct), Emanuel Ax, given as part of Centre for Orchestra (9 Oct), Gerald Finley (16 Oct), Emanuel Krasovsky (21 & 22 Oct), Leipzig Gewandhaus musicians (23-30 Oct), Ralf Gothoni (29 Oct), Thomas Adès (4 Nov) and Robert Levin (28 Nov).

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