- Sir Mark Elder launches three-year Brahms Symphony Cycle
- Thomas Adès’s Beethoven Symphony Cycle reaches midway point with Symphonies 4, 5 & 6 juxtaposed with music by Gerald Barry
- Choral masterpieces: Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, with King’s College Choir; Britten Sinfonia Voices in Stravinsky’s Mass and Mozart’s Missa Brevis; Bach St John Passion with Polyphony
- Jeremy Denk gets jazzy with Gershwin and Stravinsky
- Helen Grime curates a concert of her music and influences (part of ‘This is Rattle’ at the Barbican)
- World premieres: Mark-Anthony Turnage opera, Coraline; Emma-Ruth Richards orchestral work; new lunchtime commissions from Nik Bärtsch (as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival), Leo Chadburn, Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer, Caroline Shaw and Tom Coult
- Hitchcock in Paris: Britten Sinfonia performs live film scores to Vertigo and Psycho
- Summer 2018 tour to South America
In 2017/18, Britten Sinfonia celebrates its 25th birthday with a season (from September 2017) that features symphonic masterpieces, choral gems, contemporary classics, world premiere performances and jazz- inspired rhapsodies.
Without a music director or principal conductor, Britten Sinfonia chooses to collaborate with guest artists from across the musical spectrum to explore and develop individual programmes and projects. Featured guest artists in the 25th anniversary season include Sir Mark Elder, Thomas Adès and Jeremy Denk, with soloists Nicolas Hodges, Ben Goldscheider, Elisabeth Kulman, Roderick Williams, Mary Bevan, Allan Clayton and Ailish Tynan. New music is central to Britten Sinfonia’s work (the orchestra has commissioned over 100 works in its first quarter century). The 2017/18 season includes commissions and premiere performances of music by Gerald Barry, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Emma-Ruth Richards, Caroline Shaw, Leo Chadburn, Tom Coult and jazz pianist, producer and composer Nik Bärtsch.
Concerts take place in London (at the Barbican, where Britten Sinfonia is celebrating its fifth season as Associate Ensemble, and at Wigmore Hall, where the orchestra’s outstanding Principal players feature in an award-winning series of lunchtime concerts); at Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden (where Britten Sinfonia is entering its second year as Resident Orchestra), and in residence in Norwich and as ensemble-in-association at the University of Cambridge.
David Butcher, Britten Sinfonia Chief Executive and Artistic Director comments: “We are celebrating our 25th birthday with a season of concerts that seeks to shed light on familiar works and gives a platform to the finest new music. During our first quarter century, we have been lucky to collaborate with an extraordinary range of exceptional musicians, often making unusual, bold connections between repertoire, old and new. Programmed with intelligence and imagination and played to the highest musical quality with a palpable joie de vivre, it has been a fertile, endlessly fascinating adventure. I hope that this season will offer suitably invigorating fare that will continue to make us all think about and hear music afresh. Here’s to the next 25 years!”
Britten Sinfonia’s 2017/18 season features commissions and world premiere performances of music by international composers from across the musical spectrum.
The orchestra features in the Royal Opera House production of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s latest opera, Coraline, based on the atmospheric, fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. (Barbican Theatre, March/April 2018).
Earlier this year, Britten Sinfonia premiered a new work by Turnage as part of its award-winning ‘At Lunch’ season. For 2017/18 season, ‘At Lunch’ commissions, co-commissioned with Wigmore Hall, venture into new musical territories, with a concert curated by Swiss jazz pianist, composer and producer, Nik Bärtsch, featuring new works by the winner of Britten Sinfonia’s OPUS 2017 open submission composition prize and Bärtsch himself (November 2017 – as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival); a new work by Leo Chadburn, winner of a 2016 British Composer Award, is featured in the second lunchtime concert alongside an eclectic mix of music by Biber, Pärt, Mozart and Philip Glass (January 2018); Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Caroline Shaw’s new commission is set alongside Brahms’s Piano Quartet no. 1 in G minor (April 2018). Tom Coult’s new work written specially for Britten Sinfonia Academy, Britten Sinfonia’s ensemble for talented young players from the East of England, is premiered in July.
Emma-Ruth Richards’s new work for brass, percussion, harp, piano and strings takes its lead from the journey through peace, conflict and resolution in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms (featured in the same programme – December 2017).
In recent years Britten Sinfonia’s international concert programme has taken the orchestra across Europe, and to South America, USA, India and China. In 2017 it was the first UK orchestra to play at Hamburg’s new Elb Philharmonie. 2017/18 will mark a return to Paris, to perform Bernard Herrmann’s original scores to screenings of Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Pyscho (Philharmonie Paris, February 2018) and a summer 2018 tour to South America. Thomas Adès and Britten Sinfonia are joined by cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Nicolas Hodges for a concert at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, which includes Adès Lieux retrouvés for cello and orchestra (Britten Sinfonia and Isserlis gave the UK premiere of the work at the 2016 Proms) and Gerald Barry’s Piano Concerto (26 May 2018).
Britten Sinfonia Creative Learning works with up to 10,000 participants each year to discover, explore and celebrate music in families, schools and communities. 2017-2018 season highlights include Britten Sinfonia Academy’s residency at the Fitzwilliam Museum, an exciting electronic collaboration with music technology students from Anglia Ruskin, a newly developed Composer Lab mentored by Tom Coult and a special Christmas appearance at the Barbican as part of Britten Sinfonia’s 25th anniversary celebrations. The Academy features outstanding Secondary school age musical talent from the East of England and offers developmental musical experiences, including concerts and tailored workshops with Britten Sinfonia players. Thousands of primary school pupils across the East of England will also experience a specially devised interactive concert themed around Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky poem, introducing children to a range of contemporary composers including Gerald Barry and Dobrinka Tabakova.