Wigmore Hall is ready to set international benchmark standards once again with its 115th season in 2015/16. There are 460 concerts and 460 Learning events of compelling breadth and depth delivered by world-class solo performers, outstanding emerging artists and leading ensembles from the UK and overseas. The fruits of sustained investment are clear in a programme rich in special projects, composer-led series and artist residencies, significant elements in a season sure to extend the prolonged upward trend in Wigmore Hall’s attendance figures, which have doubled to more than 200,000 since 2005.
A new subsidised ticket scheme will offer thousands of £5 tickets to the under-35s, and more tickets than ever will be priced at £15 or below for all evening recitals. Many concerts will be available to audiences worldwide thanks to the launch of the Hall’s online streaming channel and recordings will continue to be made available on the award-winning label Wigmore Hall Live. Audience reach will also grow thanks to around 100 planned BBC Radio 3 live broadcasts.
One of the most ambitious projects ever presented at Wigmore Hall – Schubert: The Complete Songs – is a chronological journey through the composer’s 600-plus Lieder, from songs created during Schubert’s schooldays to his sublime late songs. The series will include more than 40 concerts over two years with with a stellar line up of soloists including Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside and Angelika Kirchschlager. Three years in the making, the series represents a major new collaboration between Wigmore Hall and the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg and Hohenems Festival.
Two exceptional song recitalists bring their artistry and invention to Wigmore Hall next season. Celebrating Magdalena Kožená explores the Czech mezzo-soprano’s passion for the expressive power of music and words. The five-concert series opens with Kožená in recital with pianist Mitsuko Uchida, and includes a concert of music from the 1920s and 1930s to be given at Wilton’s Music Hall in the heart of London’s East End in what will be Wigmore Hall’s first concerts ever staged away from home. Kožená will also be accompanied by her husband, Sir Simon Rattle, making his Wigmore Hall debut as a pianist in a very rare recital together. The Christian Gerhaher Singer in Residence series includes four concerts and a lunchtime masterclass session from a firm favourite with Wigmore Hall’s audience.
Henry Purcell: A Retrospective, launched last September to critical acclaim, continues with eight concerts, including a complete performance of Dido and Aeneas with Trevor Pinnock and a hand-picked company of singers and instrumentalists, and concerts from Vox Luminis, The Sixteen and Harry Christophers, and an evening featuring the irresistible combination of countertneors Iestyn Davies and Andreas Scholl.
Further highlights include five concerts with French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras as Wigmore Hall’s Artist in Residence; a Shostakovich and Beethoven cycle from the Borodin Quartet; the continuation of Llŷr Williams’s Beethoven Piano Sonata Cycle; a welcome return from Martha Argerich when she joins Stephen Kovacevich in celebration of his 75th birthday, and the conclusion of The Mozart Odyssey, with Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien rounding off their survey of Mozart’s works for violin and piano, and Francesco Piemontesi beginning his cycle of the complete piano sonatas.
Now the largest commissioning platform for new chamber music and song anywhere in the world, the Contemporary Music Series includes over 40 premières of Wigmore Hall commissions from composers such as Sally Beamish, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Pascal Dusapin, Thomas Larcher, and Nico Muhly. There’s also a day-long celebration of Friedrich Cerha, one of Austria’s greatest living composers, in advance of his 90th birthday with close colleagues and musicians intimate with his multi-faceted art, Ensemble Modern and HK Gruber among them.
Also testament to the expansion of Wigmore Hall’s offering in recent years is the Early Music and Baroque Series which, with over 40 concerts each season, stands among the UK’s most important platforms for pre-Classical music. Among the many highlights are a residency with The Sixteen and Harry Christophers; an all-Mozart recital from pianist Robert Levin; Stile Antico’s tenth anniversary concert; and a welcome return by Les Arts Florissants and William Christie.
Wigmore Hall’s investment in the future of chamber music and song is reflected in its Igor Levit Series, a four-concert showcase devoted to the work of the Russian-born, Berlin-based pianist, and Introducing James Baillieu, a season-long run of concerts featuring the outstanding young British pianist in company with singers such as Henk Neven, Iestyn Davies, Allan Clayton and Ailish Tynan.
John Gilhooly OBE, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Wigmore Hall said: ‘Wigmore Hall is rightly celebrated as one of the world’s truly great chamber music venues. Our extensive programme shows breadth, depth and diversity, with strong artistic partners, a commitment to new work and developing young artists, an internationally influential Learning programme (now in its 21st year), and our award-winning record label, Wigmore Hall Live.
We want to share everything we do with the widest possible audience and ensure that the arts continue to play a vital, positive and lasting role, whether here in this hall, in the wider community, or through the ever-changing digital and new media world. Wigmore Hall is committed to growing in all areas of its work and is determined to increase its reach and impact as part of what we see as our responsibility. Following this year’s building work, Wigmore Hall will be equipped to stream, broadcast, record and present our work digitally, spanning performances, masterclasses, talks, Learning events and more. I am confident that our 2015/16 season will connect Wigmore Hall with more people than ever before.’
A more detailed overview of the season and full concert listings will be available from Wednesday 11 February on Wigmore Hall’s new website.