Southbank Centre today launches its 2017/18 Classical Music Season, with its four internationally-renowned Resident Orchestras the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Together with Southbank Centre’s family of Associate Orchestras – Aurora Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Europe’s first BME orchestra Chineke! Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain – the new season puts innovation and new music at the front and centre, with an international outlook that reflects the world today.
Season highlights include:
- New and contemporary music at the core of the programme: twenty-seven new commissions and premieres throughout 2017/18; the 50th anniversary of Resident Orchestra London Sinfonietta; Pierre-Laurent Aimard announced as Artist in Residence and curator of Ligeti in Wonderland, a new festival devoted to Ligeti; Steve Reich’s Different Trains performed 30 years after its world premiere at Queen Elizabeth Hall alongside a host of new music to mark the reopening in April 2018; and the first UK edition of the world’s oldest contemporary music festival Nordic Music Days;
- Two of the most ambitious year-long programmes to date: Southbank Centre’s Nordic Matters – the largest exploration of Nordic arts and culture the UK has seen – featuring Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen; and the culmination of Belief and Beyond Belief, the ground-breaking year-long festival exploring what it means to be human in the 21st century in partnership with London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski;
- Young artists and audiences at the heart of the season: Leonard Bernstein’s Mass updated in celebration of his centenary year for a mass participatory performance and a weekend of young people’s concerts; launch of The Composers’ College, a new initiative to help composers at the start of their career; the second year of the Under 30s scheme, offering 1,000 free tickets to young concert-goers; over 95,000 tickets available at £20 and less; Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment continue their pioneering concert presentation, and virtual reality returns to Royal Festival Hall with the Philharmonia Orchestra;
- Vladimir Jurowski and Esa-Pekka Salonen each celebrate 10 years as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of London Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra respectively with ever-more visionary programmes;
- International artists Daniel Barenboim and West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle and Berliner Philharmoniker, Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain and Matthias Pintscher, Spira mirabilis, Emerson Quartet, Navarra Quartet, Associate Artists Marin Alsop and Colin Currie, soloists Danielle de Niese, Mitsuko Uchida, Maurizio Pollini, Leif Ove Andsnes, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Stephen Hough, Paul Lewis, Khatia Buniatishvili, Steven Osborne, James Ehnes, Alban Gerhardt, Kian Soltani, Benjamin Grosvenor & more.
Jude Kelly CBE, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre, says: ‘At Southbank Centre we believe we are changing the future of music – whether pioneering the concept of a year-long festival now replicated throughout the world or being the home of Europe’s first BME orchestra that has been fundamental in setting a benchmark for how we address diversity in the arts. Now more than ever, we believe that the role of a world-class arts venue should be to reflect the world in all its complexity. Classical music gives us such scope to do this; our many collaborations are absolutely integral to achieving this vision, as is providing every possible opportunity to new audiences and undiscovered talent. As we see across the season – from the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, to the mission-led approach of our Nordic neighbours, to the young musicians of NYO – classical music is a universal language that should speak for everyone, no matter what creed, colour, age or gender.’
Gillian Moore MBE, Director of Music, Southbank Centre, says: ‘In a season that is all about looking to the future, I’m delighted that we have such an emphasis on new music, global artists, and exciting new initiatives that cement our position as a pioneer in education and engagement. Together with our wonderful family of Resident and Associate ensembles and artists we are dedicated to exploring uncharted territory and experimenting with how to present music in ever-more innovative ways, whether through the newest technology, or bringing new worlds to new ears for the first time. Collectively we reach over 50,000 school children a year nationally and many new audiences through our bold, diverse programme here at Southbank Centre. This is the future, let’s make it great.’
The highlights of more than 200 concerts and events in Royal Festival Hall, and other performance spaces across the Southbank Centre site and beyond include:
New and contemporary music
- Twenty-seven new commissions and premieres throughout 2017/18 include works by Gerald Barry (LPO), Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Daníel Bjarnason (PO), Tyondai Braxton, Charlotte Bray (Arditti Quartet), Unsuk Chin (PO), Bryce Dessner (LPO), Brian Ferneyhough (Arditti Quartet), Anders Hillborg (LPO), Scanner (BBC CO), Philip Venables (London Sinfonietta), Sally Beamish, whose controversial new commission The Judas Passion is performed by Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and more.
- London Sinfonietta celebrates its 50th anniversary with ‘Unfinished Business’ – a season recognising the ensemble’s rich cultural legacy and role in promoting contemporary music, featuring Stockhausen’s Trans, Hans Werner Henze’s ode to political activism Voices, and a host of new work later in the season.
- Acclaimed French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard is announced as Artist in Residence for three seasons. A renowned interpreter of contemporary repertoire, Aimard curates Ligeti in Wonderland, a new festival devoted to the music of Ligeti, appears in recital, and performs as soloist with Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and Aurora Orchestra.
- Leading exponents of contemporary music featured throughout the season include Oliver Knussen, Ensemble Intercontemporain and Matthias Pintscher, Arditti Quartet, Marie-Luise Neunecker, and The Riot Ensemble.
- Steve Reich’s Different Trains is performed 30 years after its world premiere at Queen Elizabeth Hall with the London premiere of an accompanying video by Bill Morrison.
The most ambitious year-long programmes to date
- Southbank Centre’s Nordic Matters – the largest exploration of Nordic arts and culture the UK has seen – shines a spotlight on classical music in Autumn/Winter 2017 featuring Philharmonia Orchestra and Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali, violinists Pekka Kuusisto and Vilde Frang, pianists Leif Ove Andsnes and Víkingur Olafsson, composers Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Daníel Bjarnason, and the first UK edition of the world’s oldest contemporary music festival Nordic Music Days.
- The culmination of Belief and Beyond Belief, the ground-breaking year-long festival exploring what it means to be human in the 21st century in partnership with London Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor Vladimir Jurowski. Additional concerts from the International Chamber Music Series form part of the festival including Emerson Quartet performing all Beethoven’s late quartets, plus performances by The Cardinall’s Musick, and by City of London Sinfonia and Matthew Barley, who invite audiences to explore the music through their Living Programme Notes.
Audiences and performers of the future
- Leonard Bernstein’s Mass is updated for his centenary year in a new staging performed by conductor Marin Alsop, Associate Orchestra theNational Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, youth choirs drawn from local boroughs, dancers, a congregation of street singers, a rock band and a brass band. A weekend of young people’s concerts and activities pay homage to Bernstein and his legacy as a legendary educator.
- Launch of The Composers’ College, an initiative to help composers at the start of their career, in partnership with Southbank Centre’s resident ensembles and artists. Intensive courses include masterclasses and seminars from leading figures in new music such as Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Unsuk Chin, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Gerald Barry, and Bryce Dessner as well as artists in other disciplines.
- Year-round programme of education and engagement includes the second year of the Under 30s scheme, offering 1,000 free tickets to young concert-goers, over 95,000 tickets available at £20 and under, London Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates 30 years of its education programme, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment continues their pioneering concert presentation and brings augmented reality to the concert hall, London Sinfonietta: Open, a festival of projects which involve the public in their making, and Philharmonia and Southbank Centre announce the return of free virtual reality presentation 360 Experience.
International artists, ensembles and orchestras
- Vladimir Jurowski celebrates his 10th year as the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor with a year-long Stravinsky festival and the start of his and the Orchestra’s first ever Ring cycle.
- The Philharmonia Orchestra marks the 10th anniversary of Esa-Pekka Salonen as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor with seven concerts, and Vladimir Ashkenazy explores the impact of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution – 100 years after the event – on Russian composers and music in Voices of Revolution: Russia 1917.
- The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s ‘Visions, Illusions and Delusions’ season explores the Age of Enlightenment, performs controversial new commission The Judas Passion by Sally Beamish and brings augmented reality to the concert hall for the first time.
- Daniel Barenboim brings the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to Royal Festival Hall for the first time in a tribute concert to Jacqueline du Pré, who died 30 years ago this October, in aid of the MS Society.
- Sir Simon Rattle completes his final UK tour as Artistic Director of Berliner Philharmoniker, with two programmes combining contemporary innovation with Romantic masterpieces.
- Southbank Centre’s international series feature Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain and Matthias Pintscher, Spira mirabilis, Emerson Quartet, Associate Artists Marin Alsop and Colin Currie, soloists Danielle de Niese, Stephen Hough, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Paul Lewis, Maurizio Pollini, Khatia Buniatishvili, Steven Osborne, James Ehnes, Alban Gerhardt, Ben Grosvenor and the continuation of a three-year collaboration with Mitsuko Uchida who presents a series of Schubert’s piano sonatas.
- Associate Orchestra highlights include Aurora Orchestra and conductor Nicholas Collon providing the backbone to new festival Ligeti in Wonderland, BBC Concert Orchestra performing world premieres by Tyondai Braxton and Scanner, the return of Chineke! Orchestra with multi award-winning pianist Gerard Aimontche and conductor Roderick Cox, and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain taking centre stage in the Bernstein weekend.
- Darbar Festival, the biggest celebration of Indian classical music outside of south Asia, returns for its twelfth edition.
- Southbank Centre’s International Organ Series celebrates JS Bach with new works co-commissioned for The Orgelbüchlein Project, a mission to complete Bach’s set of organ miniatures curated and performed by William Whitehead alongside recitals by Simon Johnson, Anne Page andDaniel Cook.
- Guest conductors with Resident Orchestras include LPO: Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Thomas Adès, Mikhail Agrest, Alain Altinoglu, Łukasz Borowicz, Dirk Brossé, Michail Jurowski, Sir Antonio Pappano, Alondra de la Parra, Vasily Petrenko, John Storgårds, Marius Stravinsky and Robert Trevino; PO: Christoph von Dohnányi, Daniele Gatti, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Jakub Hrůša, Edward Gardner, Paavo Järvi and Karl-Heinz Steffens; OAE: Nicholas McGegan, Ivor Bolton, Marin Alsop, Adam Fischer, Sir Roger Norrington, Tom Kemp, John Butt, Sir András Schiff LS: David Atherton, Oliver Knussen, George Benjamin, Vladimir Jurowski
- Soloists with Resident Orchestras include LPO: pianists Leif Ove Andsnes, Inon Barnatan, Luca Buratto, Peter Donohoe, Alexander Ghindin, Richard Goode, Andrey Gugnin, Benedetto Lupo, Beatrice Rana, Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev, Daniil Trifonov and the Labèque sisters. Other soloists include Kristóf Baráti, Andreas Brantelid, Ray Chen, Julia Fischer, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Sergej Krylov, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Gil Shaham, István Várdai and Jan Vogler; PO: violinists Pekka Kuusisto, Hilary Hahn and James Ehnes, and pianists Piotr Anderszewski and Khatia Buniatishvili; OAE: Julia Doyle, Brenden Gunnell, Roderick Williams, Louise Adler, Xavier Sabata, Jeremy Ovenden, Brindley Sherratt, Mary Bevan, Sonia Prina, Rachel Podger, Nicola Benedetti, Christine Rice, Mark Padmore, Katherine Watson, Claudio Huckle, Hugo Hymas, Jessica Cale, Eleanor Minney, Matthew Brook, Roger Montgomery, Miah Persson, Anna Dennis, John Butt, Sir András Schiff LS: Tamara Stefanovich