The Barbican announces its 2017-18 classical music season. At the core of the unparalleled programme are the Centre’s Resident Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, Associate Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the Barbican Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia. Barbican International Associates, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra return to the Centre this season. Highlights of the season include:
- A ten day celebration to mark Sir Simon Rattle’s inaugural season as the LSO’s Music Director and Artist-in-Association with the Barbican and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, 14-24 September 2017; five evening concerts with the LSO conducted by Sir Simon; inaugural programme with works by Adès, Birtwistle, Knussen, Elgar and a world premiere by Helen Grime, commissioned by the Barbican; Adès, Birtwistle, Knussen and Grime curate four concerts at Milton Court, presented by the Barbican; concert relayed live to Barbican Sculpture Court, bringing silent disco technology to classical music for the first time
- Portraits of Friendship, an interactive multimedia installation devised by Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning, alongside Anna Meredith and Jonathan Munro
- International orchestras including
- a residency from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel
- Bavarian State Orchestra conducted by Kirill Petrenko
- Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons
- Orchestra of La Scala conducted by Riccardo Chailly
- Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by Herbert Blomstedt
- A composer focus on Esa-Pekka Salonen; a BBC SO Total Immersion dedicated to Salonen’s music; a new Barbican co-commission performed by LA Phil and Dudamel; Salonen conducts the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra in his LA Variations
- UK premiere of Jake Heggie’s opera Dead Man Walking; featuring Joyce DiDonato as Sister Helen Prejean, and the BBC SO; concert-staging by director Leonard Foglia
- Celebrating the centenary of Leonard Bernstein throughout the season; all three symphonies and musical Wonderful Town with LSO conducted by Marin Alsop and Sir Simon Rattle; Bernstein Anniversary Weekend (27-28 January 2018) with BBC SO Total Immersion and Bernstein Revealed: a Bernstein Cabaret
- A celebration of Finland, marking the 100th anniversary of the country’s independence; full Sibelius symphony cycle from the BBC SO conducted by Sakari Oramo; Independence Day concert on 6 December from the BBC SO; Susanna Mälkki makes her debut conducting the LSO with Sibelius
- Acclaimed American pianist Jeremy Denk as Milton Court Artist-in-Residence; Infinite Variations celebrating the variation form; Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Winds with Britten Sinfonia; An eclectic Milton Court programme featuring: celebrations of Couperin and Debussy
- Indian classical music
- Joby Burgess’ Powerplant collective
Huw Humphreys, the Barbican’s Head of Music, said: “This is going to be a particularly thrilling season for us at the Barbican. The impending arrival of Sir Simon Rattle has inspired a celebration of British music from world premieres by Helen Grime to digital community projects; and the season-long focuses on Bernstein and Salonen will offer a window into the worlds of two remarkable conductor-composers featuring an exceptional array of artists. When I look at the programme we, the Barbican and our family of orchestras, present together, I see no limits to what we can do. By joining all our respective seasons together into one whole, we are able to bring something exceptional to the most discerning concert-goers as well as offering newer audiences numerous ways into the life-changing world of music.”
Barbican Presents – the Barbican’s own-curated classical music season is devised to bring the very best international artists and orchestras to London to perform music from the Baroque to now. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel arrive for an International Associate residency in May 2018 with a programme including European premieres by Esa-Pekka Salonen and Ted Hearne, both Barbican co-commissions, and Chichester Psalms by Bernstein. Further Barbican commissions are two new works by British composer Helen Grime, both to be performed by the LSO and Sir Simon Rattle during the 2017-18 season. Other international orchestras in the season include the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by Herbert Blomstedt, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons, Orchestra of La Scala conducted by Riccardo Chailly, and the Bavarian State Orchestra conducted by Kirill Petrenko. In February 2018, the Barbican and the BBC SO present the UK premiere of Jake Heggie’s opera Dead Man Walking. The opera is based on the narrative book by Sister Helen Prejean about the journey of a nun who becomes the spiritual advisor to a convicted murderer on Louisiana State Penitentiary’s death row. Joyce DiDonato stars as Sister Helen in this concert-staged performance. Les Arts Florissants, conducted by William Christie, give a rare performance of Monteverdi’s Selva morale e spirituale in the composer’s anniversary year 2017, and together with Jardin des Voix and Paul Agnew a programme of English music, inspired by the landscape gardening of Capability Brown. To mark International Women’s Day, French conductor Laurence Equilbey brings her Insula orchestra for a programme that features 19th-century composer Louise Farrenc’s Symphony No 3, whose music was much admired by Berlioz and Schumann. Two contrasting French anniversaries are celebrated in the season: Pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and scholar Roger Nichols mark the 100th anniversary of Claude Debussy’s death with a day of his piano music; while Les Talens Lyriques and Christophe Rousset explore the music of François Couperin, celebrating the 350th anniversary of his birth. Continuing their acclaimed series of Handel operas, The English Concert conducted by Harry Bicket returns to the Barbican with Handel’s Rinaldo featuring Iestyn Davies in the title role. To celebrate the 75th birthday of Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Barbican has invited him to curate a Bach weekend on 15-17 June 2018. It incorporates highlights from the Bachfest Leipzig, where Gardiner is president, including a three-concert cycle of cantatas performed by the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, as well as featuring an outstanding line-up of artists in motets, violin sonatas, cello suites, and the Goldberg Variations. Darbar Festival will bring two concerts of Indian classical music to Milton Court Concert Hall.
London Symphony Orchestra – The London Symphony Orchestra’s 2017-18 season, the first with its new Music Director Sir Simon Rattle, builds on a number of key musical relationships. The season opens with 10 days of concerts and events celebrating Rattle’s inaugural season (details below). In December Rattle will conduct Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with tenor Simon O’Neill and baritone Christian Gerhaher, alongside Strauss’ Metamorphosen. Music from the early 18th Century sits alongside 19th and 20th Century works in January 2018 when Rattle conducts the LSO in music by Handel and Rameau alongside Schubert’s Symphony No 8, ‘Unfinished’ and Mahler’s Rückert Lieder, with mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená. And later that month, continuing the collaboration with the Barbican that has seen highly-successful staged productions of Debussy and Ligeti in the Barbican Hall, the LSO and Rattle will work with the Creative Director Gerard McBurney on the Genesis Suite, bringing together seven composers who emigrated to Hollywood in the 1940s and Bartók’s symphonic masterpiece the Concerto for Orchestra performed to specially created visuals. In April 2018 Mahler’s 9th Symphony is performed alongside a new work by Helen Grime, a composer who has been nurtured by the LSO through its pioneering composer development programmes, and Tippet’s The Rose Lake is performed with Mahler’s Symphony No 10. Work with the LSO’s wider family of artists will bring a huge breadth of programming to the Barbican this season. Gianandrea Noseda, who began his tenure as Principal Guest Conductor opening the 2016/17 season with two extraordinary performances of Verdi’s Requiem, will continue his complete cycle of Shostakovich Symphonies in 2017/18, performing Symphonies 8 and 10 in April and June respectively, and continuing the cycle in the coming seasons, all recorded for LSO Live. Michael Tilson Thomas, LSO Conductor Laureate, will conduct Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis in May, as well as a programme featuring Sibelius’s last two symphonies and violin concerto, with Janine Jansen as soloist. Marin Alsop, like Tilson Thomas a protégé of Leonard Bernstein, will open the LSO’s celebrations for Bernstein’s Centenary in November, with an homage to one of his Young People’s Concerts, as well as two concerts featuring Bernstein’s Symphonies Nos 1 and 3. A concert version of Bernstein’s musical Wonderful Town also features, alongside his Symphony No 2, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. François-Xavier Roth will present a series of three concerts looking at music by Claude Debussy 100 years after his death, and on the enormous influence the French composer had on subsequent music by Boulez, Bartók and Stravinsky. Other conductors who are close to the LSO feature throughout the season. John Eliot Gardiner turns his attention to Schumann’s symphonies, following the highly acclaimed Mendelssohn cycle of recent seasons. Bernard Haitink will conduct Brahms Symphonies alongside, Beethoven, Thomas Adès, and Mendelssohn’s violin concerto with the soloist Alina Ibragimova. Mark Elder, who has given outstanding performances of British music with the LSO in recent years will conduct Elgar’s first two symphonies. There are welcome returns to the LSO podium for Semyon Bychkov and Robin Ticciati, and Susanna Mälkki makes her LSO debut in April conducting Sibelius’ Symphony No 5, and Elgar’s Cello Concerto with soloist Daniel Müller-Schott.
BBC Symphony Orchestra – Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo leads the orchestra in a celebration of Finnish music, including a complete cycle of Sibelius’s symphonies and a concert marking the centenary of Finnish Independence. The BBC SO’s acclaimed Total Immersion weekends explore the life and works of three major musicians: two composer-conductors, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Leonard Bernstein (in his centenary year), as well as one of today’s most celebrated composers, Julian Anderson. Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis returns twice, and there are debuts from some of the most exciting young conductors and instrumentalists performing today, including conductors Ben Gernon and Daniele Rustioni, and violinist Alina Pogotskina. The BBC SO’s commitment to new music and rarely-performed works continues with performances of works by Harrison Birtwistle, Betsy Jolas, George Walker and Raymond Yiu, among others. The voice plays an important role in the BBC SO’s season, with two concert-staged operas: Jake Heggie’s powerful Dead Man Walking and Granados’s Goyescas, the latter performed under the baton of Josep Pons. As well as closing the season with Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with Sakari Oramo, the BBC Symphony Chorus will appear in Vaughan Williams’ mighty A Sea Symphony, Elgar’s Spirit of England, and in Total Immersion: Esa-Pekka Salonen. This season the BBC Singers return to Milton Court for a series of four concerts. They also host three early evening concerts complementing the BBC SO’s programme that follows, as well as appearing with the BBC SO in the Barbican Hall and at Total Immersion days.
Academy of Ancient Music (AAM) – Music Director Richard Egarr opens the season with King Arthur, the second in the semi-staged Purcell opera cycle co-presented by the AAM with the Barbican and directed by Daisy Evans. Soloists including Louise Alder, Charles Daniels and Peter Harvey join forces with the Choir of the AAM to tell tales of battling Britons and Saxons. The celebration of British music continues, looking at its continental influences. ‘Italy in England’ explores the impact of composers such as Corelli on music in 18th century England by Handel and others. Carolyn Sampson celebrates English song in ‘Blest Isle’, with music by Arne, Purcell, and Dowland. Richard Egarr surveys music from 1790s London with works by Haydn and his European contemporaries. Soprano Keri Fuge and countertenor Tim Mead perform Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, directed by Christian Curnyn. The Choir of the AAM features performing two of the most iconic works of all time: Handel’sMessiah directed by Richard Egarr with soloists Mary Bevan, Reginald Mobley, Thomas Hobbs, and Christopher Purves; and Bach’s St. John Passion directed by Bernard Labadie, featuring the finest Evangelist of his generation, James Gilchrist. Concerts in December and May celebrate Telemann’s 250th anniversary including music by his contemporary and friend JS Bach. This celebration ends with Nicola Benedetti making her AAM debut performing works by Telemann and Vivaldi. The principal player focus continues with soloists from the orchestra appearing throughout the season, and as an ensemble of soloists with chamber concerts as a feature of the BBC Radio 3 lunchtime concerts at LSO St Luke’s.
Britten Sinfonia – Britten Sinfonia celebrates its 25th anniversary with a Barbican season that features symphonic masterpieces, choral gems, contemporary classics and jazz-inspired rhapsodies. It will be the second year of a three-year Beethoven Symphony Cycle conducted by Thomas Adès, featuring Beethoven’s 4th, 5th and 6th Symphonies, juxtaposed with music by Gerald Barry (22 & 24 May 2018). Sir Mark Elder returns to conduct the orchestra in an intimate performance of Brahms’s First Symphony. To accompany the symphony, Elder has chosen poetic works including Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, with soloist Elisabeth Kulman, and Finzi’s soaring Fall of the Leaf (9 November 2017). Christmas and Easter are marked by choral masterworks. The Choir of King’s College Cambridge joins Britten Sinfonia for a performance of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, and Vaughan Williams’ impassioned Dona nobis pacem. Stephen Cleobury conducts the orchestra and soloists including Ailish Tynan (2 December). Easter is marked by Britten Sinfonia Voices in a performance of two masses written 170 years apart: Stravinsky’s Mass and Mozart’s Missa Brevis (28 March 2018). Mercurial American pianist Jeremy Denk, as part of his Milton Court residency, directs a programme of jazz-inspired works by Stravinsky and Gershwin (27 February 2018).
The 2017-18 season features:
Singers including Cecilia Bartoli, Jamie Barton, Mary Bevan, Florian Boesch, Karen Cargill, Alice Coote, Diana Damrau, Iestyn Davies, Joyce DiDonato, Franco Fagioli, Gerald Finley, Christian Gerhaher, Julianna Di Giacomo, James Gilchrist, Ann Hallenberg, Susanna Hurrell, Christiane Karg, Jonas Kaufmann, Anu and Piia Komsi, Magdalena Kožená, Anna Larsson, Tim Mead, Nicholas Mulroy, Christopher Purves, Matthew Rose, Carolyn Sampson, Brindley Sherratt, Stuart Skelton, Toby Spence, Anna Stéphany, Ailish Tynan, Mark Wigglesworth, Roderick Williams
Instrumentalists including Behzod Abduraimov, Piotr Anderszewski, Martha Argerich, Emanuel Ax, Lisa Batiashvili, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Nicola Benedetti, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Gautier Capuçon, Renaud Capuçon, Natalie Clein, Michael Collins, Jeremy Denk, Helmut Deutsch, Veronika Eberle, Isabelle Faust, Sol Gabetta, Kirill Gerstein, Benjamin Grosvenor, Håkan Hardenberger, Nicholas Hodges, Alina Ibragimova, Janine Jansen, Leonidas Kavakos, Evgeny Kissin, Alice Sara Ott, Murray Perahia, Lawrence Power, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Jean Rondeau, Christian Tetzlaff, Maxim Vengerov, Yuja Wang, Carolin Widmann, Krystian Zimerman, Nikolaj Znaider
Conductors including Thomas Adès, Marin Alsop, Harry Bicket, Herbert Blomstedt, Martyn Brabbins, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Chailly, William Christie, Stephen Cleobury, Sir Andrew Davis, Gustavo Dudamel, Tan Dun, Richard Egarr, Sir Mark Elder, Laurence Equilbey, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Edward Gardner, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Mariss Jansons, Oliver Knussen, Susanna Mälkki, Gianandrea Noseda, Sakari Oramo, Sir Antonio Pappano, Kirill Petrenko, Sir Simon Rattle, François-Xavier Roth, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Thomas Søndergård, Robin Ticciati, Michael Tilson Thomas.
This is Rattle
To mark his inaugural season as Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra, and as Artist-in-Association with the Barbican and the Guildhall School, the Barbican and the LSO present a ten day celebration This is Rattlefrom 14-24 September. At the heart of these celebrations are five evening concerts with the LSO conducted by Sir Simon. His inaugural programme will be dedicated to British music and features works by Thomas Adès, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Oliver Knussen, Elgar’s Enigma Variations and the world premiere of Fanfare by Helen Grime, specially commissioned for the orchestra by the Barbican. The first concert on 14 September will be relayed live to the Barbican Sculpture Court, bringing silent disco technology to classical music for the first time; and the opening performances of the season will be available to a global audience through broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, Mezzo,medici.tv and Classic FM.
Parallel to the LSO’s concerts in the Barbican Hall, the four living composers featured in the opening performance (Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Thomas Adès, Oliver Knussen and Helen Grime) will curate their own concerts at Milton Court, presented by the Barbican. This series focuses on British music from last 50 years. Oliver Knussen will conduct the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group in his curated concert; Thomas Adès’ concert will feature Guildhall musicians in works by Per Nørgård, Nicholas Maw, Judith Weir, Niccolò Castiglioni, Birtwistle, Kurtág, Golijov, John Woolrich and Madness arranged by Adès. Britten Sinfonia performs in Helen Grime’s curated concert that includes music by Purcell, Britten, Grime, Knussen, George Benjamin, Colin Matthews, Adès and Stravinsky. The series ends with Birtwistle’s curated concert featuring BBC Singers and Martyn Brabbins in music by Varèse, Machaut, Byrd and Birtwistle.
The Barbican Cinema will screen films and documentaries about Sir Simon Rattle and his work while the Barbican Library plays host to an exhibition about his life and career. The Barbican Foyers will be brought alive with a new digital installation drawn from Sir Simon’s conducting, and with Portraits of Friendship, an interactive multimedia installation devised by Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning, alongside Artistic Curator Anna Meredith and Artistic Designer Jonathan Munro. In Portraits of Friendship, over 100 community participants from East London will be introduced to Elgar’s Enigma Variations and the stories behind the work, after which they will create their own variations. These 14 new variations will be expressed in different art forms such as music, dance, illustration, theatre, poetry and visual art. Together the works will create an interactive digital installation in the foyers which will open on 14 September and continue throughout the autumn.
BBC Radio 3 will be in residence across the celebrations, as well as producing four Artist Spotlight concerts at LSO St Luke’s. At the Barbican Centre the station will also host exhibitions and interactive workshops with more details available soon.
2018 marks the centenary of Leonard Bernstein, the American composer, conductor, author, music educator and pianist. This birthday is marked at the Barbican throughout the 2017-18 season.
In the first half of the season, the LSO celebrates Leonard Bernstein with performances of all three symphonies, and his musical Wonderful Town. Marin Alsop, one of Bernstein’s most beloved protégés, will conduct his First and Third Symphonies, and Sir Simon Rattle the Second Symphony alongside Bernstein’s musical Wonderful Town. The public will have the opportunity to learn Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in a day of choral singing under the expert instruction of LSO Choral Director Simon Halsey, and Marin Alsop will present an homage to one of Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts, which brought the appreciation of classical music to a whole generation of young Americans, and inspired the 9-year-old Alsop to become a conductor.
A Bernstein Anniversary Weekend (27-28 January 2018) starts off with the BBC SO celebrating Bernstein’s life and music in one of its three Total Immersion focuses, showcasing the composer’s work through concerts, films and conversations, including a rare chance to hear his orchestral song-cycle Songfest and a lunchtime concert of chamber music by Guildhall School musicians. The next day includes a screening of Elia Kazan’s movie On the Waterfront with Bernstein’s score in the Barbican Cinema, and Bernstein Revealed: a Bernstein Cabaret at Milton Court. In Bernstein Revealed, two Bernstein enthusiasts, journal ist Edward Seckerson and Tony Award-nominated arranger, composer and musical director Jason Carr, are joined by Olivier Award nominee Sophie-Louise Dann to explore the life and music of the extraordinary musician, father and activist. Seckerson conducted one of the last major interviews with Bernstein less than a year before his death in 1990 and it is that memorable encounter that is at the heart of this intimate show.
Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms can be heard three times during the season, in two different versions: the Choir of King’s College Cambridge joins Britten Sinfonia for a performance of the work in December 2017, and, as part of their International Associate residency, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel will perform it with the London Symphony Chorus in May 2018. The BBC Singers will give a performance of the work in its chamber orchestration, conducted by Ragnar Bohlin, as part of the BBC SO's Total Immersion focus.
Finland celebrates the 100th anniversary of its independence on 6 December 2017. The BBC SO’s 2017-18 season has the music of Finland running throughout as Finnish Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo leads the orchestra in a complete cycle of Sibelius’ symphonies and a concert marking the centenary on the Independence Day itself featuring the UK premiere of Sibelius’ Press Celebrations Music alongside his powerful First Symphony from 1899.
Finnish composer/conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen is the subject of a season-long composer focus at the Barbican. The focus begins in November, when Salonen conducts the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra in his own LA Variations. A BBC SO Total Immersion (10 December 2017) is dedicated to his music and will include an evening concert conducted by Sakari Oramo featuring Karawane with the BBC Symphony Chorus and works such as Gambit and Wing on Wing, featuring sopranos Anu and Piia Komsi. The day also includes a lunchtime concert of chamber music by Guildhall School musicians, the screening of a film portraying the composer and a “Meet the Composer” talk. On 28 March 2018, as part of Britten Sinfonia’s concert, BBC Young Musician 2016 finalist Ben Goldscheider will perform Salonen’s Concert étude for solo horn.
As part of their International Associate residency, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel will perform the European premiere of a new work by Esa-Pekka Salonen, co-commissioned by the orchestra and the Barbican. Salonen is the Conductor Laureate for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he served as Music Director from 1992 until 2009 and for which he has composed several works.
Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki makes her debut with the London Symphony Orchestra on 15 April, conducting Sibelius’ Symphony No 5, and on 17 May, Michael Tilson Thomas, LSO Conductor Laureate, conducts an all-Sibelius programme. Janine Jansen is soloist in the Violin Concerto and Sibelius’ last two symphonies, Nos 6 & 7 are also performed.
Milton Court Concert Hall
Jeremy Denk: Milton Court Artist in Residence
As part of Barbican Presents, American pianist Jeremy Denk will be the 2017-18 Milton Court Artist in Residence. An artist The New York Times hails as someone “you want to hear no matter what he performs”, Denk is the winner of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, the Avery Fisher Prize and Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year award, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016. The residency showcases his extraordinary artistry and ability to connect with audiences in a series of concerts that begins on 12 October with Mozart’s piano music. Later that month, his residency continues with Infinite Variations, a three-part day of music celebrating the infinite variety of the variation form, explored with typical Denk ingenuity and humour from both musical and philosophical perspectives. In February Denk is joined by Britten Sinfonia in the original jazz band version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and in Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Winds. The residency concludes with a final recital in early March and will be supported throughout by masterclasses and workshops with musicians from the Guildhall School.
The Guildhall School’s state of the art Milton Court Concert Hall is the venue for several other Barbican Presents concerts in the 2017-18 season. In January, French period ensemble Les Talens Lyriques conducted by Christophe Rousset will bring to the venue a half-day exploration of the music of François Couperin, celebrating the 350th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Entitled Lumière et ombre (Light and Shadow), the event comprises two concerts on those themes, separated by a talk, and culminating in a performance of the exquisite Trois leçons de ténèbres by candlelight. Another French composer’s oeuvre is celebrated in March, when pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and scholar Roger Nichols mark the 100th anniversary of Claude Debussy’s death with a day of music exploring the composer’s poetic and pianistic imagination. An ideal venue for chamber music, Milton Court Concert Hall will play host to two recitals as part of the Barbican’s Bach Weekend in June 2018: cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras will perform Bach’s cello suites and harpsichordist Jean Rondeau his Goldberg Variations. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir will perform a programme of Estonian and British choral music in January 2018. Baritone Christopher Purves sings Handel with the acclaimed ensemble Arcangelo; and dynamo percussionist Joby Burgess and his sound and video trio Powerplant perform works by Nicole Lizée, Will Gregory, Graham Fitkin and the world premiere of a Barbican commission by Linda Buckley. Adventurous American pianists Timo Andres and David Kaplan perform canonic works of symphonic repertoire, Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in versions for two pianos; and Indian classical music can be heard in two concerts co-presented by Darbar Festival and Kaushiki Chakraborty (khayal vocal) and the maverick sitar maestro Niladri Kumar.
The BBC Singers return to Milton Court in 2017-18 to perform a series of rich programmes including works by Varèse and Birtwistle (23 Sep, as part of This is Rattle), Esa-Pekka Salonen (10 Dec as part of Total Immersion), Bach’s St Matthew Passion (Mendelssohn’s performing edition, 11 Feb), Handel (4 May) and Joseph Horowitz (23 June).
The Academy of Ancient Music celebrates Telemann’s 250th anniversary at Milton Court, and surveys continental influences in Italy in England and Classical 1790s London. Christian Curnyn is joined by Tim Mead and Keri Fuge for Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and cantatas by Handel and Bach.
Aside from Milton Court appearances with Jeremy Denk and in a concert curated by composer Helen Grime, Britten Sinfonia and its acclaimed vocal ensemble, Britten Sinfonia Voices, directed by Eamonn Dougan, celebrate Easter with a concert juxtaposing Masses by Stravinsky and Mozart, alongside works for wind. BBC Young Musician 2016 Finalist, Ben Goldscheider features in Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Concert étude for solo horn.
Visits from major international orchestras form a central part of Barbican Presents, and two of the Barbican’s International Associate Orchestras will return to the Centre in the 2017-18 season: the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra for one concert and the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a residency.
On 22 October, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra performs a concert conducted by Herbert Blomstedt, Honorary Conductor of the orchestra who served as its Gewandhauskapellmeister from 1998-2005. Their concert celebrates the orchestra’s 275th anniversary by presenting works that were first premiered by the orchestra, featuring Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, featuring soloists Leonidas Kavakos, Gautier Capuçon and Kirill Gerstein, and Bruckner’s mighty Seventh Symphony.
Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel’s residency in the first week of May 2018 will include three concerts and creative learning activity. As part of the Barbican’s focus on the music of Esa-Pekka Salonen, the residency’s first concert includes a new Barbican co-commission from him. The new work opens a typically innovative programme of pioneering 20th-century works, including Edgard Varèse’s classic encounter with the New World, Amériques. The American theme continues with the European premiere of American composer Ted Hearne’s Place. Set in a country at a crossroads where the intersections of manifest destiny and gentrification meet history and personal experience, Place explores the complex and contentious map of the place we call home. This performance is part of Green Umbrella, the LA Phil’s acclaimed series of new music, and will be performed by the LA Phil New Music Group. The orchestra celebrates Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday year with a performance of his Chichester Psalms with the London Symphony Chorus, juxtaposed with Beethoven’s Symphony No 9. This visit will include a cross-cultural exchange involving young musicians from Los Angeles and Great Britain working with Dudamel as part of a national youth orchestra conference. This two-day convening will aim to explore the role of music and the arts in young people’s lives.
Two celebrated orchestras from Munich will perform at the Barbican in the season. The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Mariss Jansons on 24 November in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4, featuring soloist Yefim Bronfman, and in Prokofiev’s Symphony No 5. The Bavarian State Orchestra, orchestra of the renowned Bavarian State Opera in Munich that can look back on a history of over 350 years, will visit the Barbican in June 2018 for the first time. Conducted by the opera’s Generalmusikdirektor Kirill Petrenko (also chief conductor designate of the Berliner Philharmoniker), the orchestra will perform Mahler’s Symphony No 7. Petrenko began his tenure in Munich in 2013 and has been gaining tremendous critical acclaim for the extraordinary virtuosity, precision, energy and emotion of his performances with the orchestra, even inspiring reviews to use the word “miraculous”.
Another opera orchestra, the prestigious Orchestra of La Scala in Milan comes to the Barbican in January. Led by Principal Conductor Riccardo Chailly, it will perform a sparkling programme of Rossini, Tchaikovsky and Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 2, featuring soloist Benjamin Grosvenor.
Premieres and Commissions
The 2017-18 season will include several premieres, ranging from the UK premiere of Sibelius’ Press CelebrationsMusic which was first composed in 1899, to world premieres by Linda Buckley, Ewan Campbell, Patrick Giguère and Helen Grime. The Barbican and the BBC SO co-present the UK premiere of Jake Heggie’s first opera Dead Man Walking in a concert-staged performance, directed by Leonard Foglia. The BBC SO continues its strong commitment to new works and this season is proud to present several further UK premieres including works by Thomas Larcher, Betsy Jolas, Anders Hillborg, George Walker and Ross Harris. Emma-Ruth Richards will write a new work for Britten Sinfonia and King’s College Choir.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s residency includes two European premieres: a new work by Finnish composer Esa-Pekka Salonen and the American composer Ted Hearne’s Place, both co-commissioned by the Barbican.
It was also announced by the LSO that a commitment has been made to open each of the orchestra’s coming seasons with a new work by a British composer, all commissioned by the Barbican. The world premiere of a fanfare by Helen Grime, who was part of the LSO’s composing schemes early in her career, will open the 2017-18 season in a concert featuring works by Thomas Adès, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Oliver Knussen. A new orchestral work by Helen Grime will be given its world premiere later in the season, which also features the world premiere of a work by Ewan Campbell, who was part of the LSO’s composer development programmes in 2015. A fascinating workshop with the current intake of young composers working with the LSO and two concerts showcasing some of their work will also take place at LSO St Luke’s. Over the past decade and more, the LSO has worked with nearly 200 young and early-career composers, over 40 of whom have had works commissioned and premiered by the orchestra at the Barbican.
The ECHO (European Concert Hall Organisation) Rising Stars Series presents emerging young talent tipped for stardom by the directors of Europe’s premier concert halls. This season, the Barbican showcases the rising stars series in the UK at LSO St Luke’s. Each artist’s performance features a short new work, commissioned by ECHO from a range of international composers. In the 2017-18 season the young musicians are Quatuor Van Kuijk (nominated by Cité de la musique – Philharmonie de Paris & Festspielhaus Baden-Baden), percussionist Christoph Sietzen (nominated by Philharmonie Luxembourg), violist Ellen Nisbeth (nominated by Stockholm’s Konserthus), trumpeter Tamás Pálfalvi (nominated by Müpa Budapest), violinist Emmanuel Tjeknavorian (nominated by Wiener Konzerthaus & Musikverein Wien) and soprano Nora Fischer (nominated by Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam).
Thousands of discounted tickets are available to 14 – 25 year olds through the Young Barbican scheme. Since the scheme launched in Autumn 2014, it has attracted 33,000 members, and in the last academic year alone, 29,000Young Barbican tickets were sold across the Centre’s programme.
Young people will also have a chance to connect with the Barbican’s programming in more interactive ways, for example by participating in the youth orchestra conference as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s International Associate residency, as well as by being part of the This is Rattle celebrations.
In a new scheme announced today by the LSO, all tickets for under 18s will be £5 for all of the orchestra’s Barbican concerts. The LSO also announced the launch of early evening concerts in the Barbican Hall, this season conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, Gianandrea Noseda and François-Xavier Roth. Starting at 6.30pm the concerts will feature music by Bernstein, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Debussy. Three of the LSO’s popular Family concerts, which are specially devised for families to enjoy together are presented this season in the Barbican Hall, as well as a series of free lunchtime concerts for children at LSO St Luke’s, and three musical storytelling sessions for the under-5s.
The BBC SO presents learning events throughout its 2017-18 season, including three Journey Through Musicsessions before evening concerts – interactive, family-friendly explorations of the music that will be heard. Performances from BBC SO and BBC Singers, learning masterclasses and events will also form an important part of the orchestra’s three Total Immersion events.