Throughout its 2017-18 Barbican Presents season, the Barbican will host a number of world-renowned orchestras and ensembles hailing from the U.S., Germany, Italy, France and Estonia. The Centre is recognised for the wealth of international artistic and creative talent it showcases, and its classical music programme is no exception. This season features symphonic masterpieces, rarely performed chamber works, seminal choral compositions, distinguished early music performances, and several European premieres. Concerts include:
Herbert Blomstedt conducting the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and Bruckner’s Symphony no. 7 (22 October 2017, Barbican Hall)
The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra with chief conductor Mariss Jansons in a concert of Prokofiev and Beethoven (24 November 2017, Barbican Hall)
Two visits from Les Arts Florissants: Monteverdi’s Selva morale e spirituale with William Christie at the helm (9 December 2017, Barbican Hall), followed by a celebration of 18th century English song with singers from Le Jardin des Voix Academy, directed by Paul Agnew (8 June, 2018, Barbican Hall)
Les Talens Lyriques’s exploration of the work of Baroque composer François Couperin, in the 350th anniversary year of the composer’s birth (14 January 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall)
A concert of Tchaikovsky and Grieg with the Orchestra of La Scala Milan under Riccardo Chailly (24 January 2018, Barbican Hall)
Estonian choral works with the celebrated Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (30 January 2018, Milton Court Concert Hall)
World-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, under Wynton Marsalis, returning for their fifth residency (27 February – 1 March 2018, Barbican Hall)
The Insula Orchestra, under Laurence Equilbey, in a celebration of the work of French composer Louise Farrenc (8 March 2018, Barbican Hall), in celebration of International Women’s Day
A residency from the LA Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel, to include European premieres by Esa-Pekka Salonen and Ted Hearne, both Barbican co-commissions (2 – 4 May 2018, Barbican Hall)
The Bavarian State Orchestra conducted by Kirill Petrenko performing Mahler’s Symphony no. 7 (1 June 2018, Barbican Hall).
A visit from the Venice Baroque Orchestra, joining celebrated counter-tenor Franco Fagioli (4 June 2018, Barbican Hall)
In the year of its 275th anniversary, Barbican International Associate the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig returns to the Hall (22 October 2017), led by Herbert Blomstedt, Honorary Conductor of the orchestra, who served as its Kapellmeister from 1998-2005. Blomstedt, renowned for his performances of core German repertoire, leads the orchestra in a concert featuring two works that the orchestra itself first premiered: Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with distinguished soloists Leonidas Kavakos, Gautier Capuçon and Kirill Gerstein, and Bruckner’s sublime Seventh Symphony.
Following their triumphant Barbican performance of Russian music in April 2017, Munich’s Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra return to the Barbican Hall (Friday 24 November 2017) with chief conductor Mariss Jansons to present a programme including Beethoven’s magnificent Piano Concerto No. 4 with Grammy Award-winning Yefim Bronfman as the soloist, and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5, a famously optimistic and joyous work written in 1944, for which the composer was later to be condemned by the Soviet regime.
Baroque musical ensemble Les Arts Florissants and founder/conductor William Christie give a rare performance of Monteverdi’s comprehensive anthology of sacred vocal music, Selva morale e spirituale on Saturday 9 December 2017 - fittingly in the year that marks the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth. Published at the end of his career in 1641, the collection is regarded as Monteverdi’s most significant anthology of liturgical works since the Vespers in 1610. The event features a stellar cast, including sopranos Lucia Martin Caron and Emmanuelle De Negri, countertenor Carlo Vistoli, tenors Cyril Auvity and Reinoud Van Mechelen, and basses Marc Mauillon, Cyril Costanzo, and John Taylor Ward. The ensemble return to the Barbican on 8 June 2018, this time with members of Le Jardin des Voix Academy, under the direction of Paul Agnew, for a celebration of 18th century English song, to include music by Gibbons, Dowland, Purcell, Handel, Boyce and Arne.
On 14 January 2018, another famed early music ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, under Christophe Rousset, will take up residence for half a day in Milton Court Concert Hall, for an exploration of the work of Baroque composer François Couperin, in the 350th anniversary year of his birth. The French ensemble, noted particularly for their performances of rare works which they consider to be missing links in European musical heritage, will perform two concerts, Lumière and Ombre, which culminates with Trois leçons de ténèbres, performed by candlelight. Rousset will also take part in a panel discussion, delving into the imagination of the much-loved composer.
The prestigious Orchestra of La Scala Milan makes its first visit to the Barbican Hall in 2018 (24 January 2018), led by Principal Conductor Riccardo Chailly. The orchestra, founded in 1982 with the objective of developing a symphonic repertoire in order to add a further dimension to La Scala’s great operatic tradition, will perform a sparkling programme bringing together both of these musical genres, with Rossini’s Overture from La Gazza Ladra, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 4 and Grieg’s Piano Concerto. The soloist for this evening’s concert is Benjamin Grosvenor, whose previous appearances at the Barbican have been received to great acclaim.
On 30 January 2018, the intimate environs of Milton Court will play host to a concert of principally Estonian choral works, with the celebrated Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, in the year that marks 100 years since the proclamation of Estonia as an independent, democratic republic. The Choir, famed for their vocal suppleness and balance, have won the Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance twice for performances of work by Arvo Pärt, for which they are particularly renowned. At Milton Court they perform some of Pärt’s most admired sacred works, alongside music by his compatriots, including Cyrillus Kreek and Veljo Tomris, with Kaspars Putninš at the helm. Reflecting their extensive repertoire, which stretches from Gregorian chant and baroque to the music of the 21th century, and East to West, the concert also includes several works by Jonathan Harvey.
World-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO), led by managing and artistic director Wynton Marsalis, return to the Barbican for their fifth International Associate residency from 27 February – 1 March 2018. The residency provides an opportunity to experience fifteen of America’s finest soloists, ensemble players, and arrangers in jazz music today in concerts, workshops and masterclasses. The residency opens on Tuesday 27 February 2018, with a concert recreating Benny Goodman’s legendary debut at New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall on 16 January 1938 – the first interracial concert in the hall, and a watershed moment in American music history. Revisiting the spirit of the event, the JLCO, with UK guests (tbc), will perform pieces straight from the set list of that historic evening at Carnegie Hall in 1938, including material by those made famous by Goodman himself: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Fats Waller, Louis Prima, and more. In the second event of the residency, on Wednesday 28 February 2018, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra pay tribute to another musical all-rounder, Leonard Bernstein. Composer and arranger Richard DeRosa, nominated for a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition in 2016, will work with JLCO lead trombonist Vincent Gardner to craft unique arrangements of Bernstein’s music for the Orchestra, including classics like West Side Story and Candide, as well as unexpected gems from Bernstein’s vast repertoire.
A testament to JLCO and Marsalis’ ever-expanding mission of teaching young people democracy and freedom of expression through jazz and improvisation, Thursday 1 March 2018 sees young musicians from the Guildhall Big Band and The Young Jazz Big Band come together at Milton Court Concert Hall for a Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning project – a showcase of what could be the future of Jazz.
In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018, the Insula Orchestra, under Laurence Equilbey, come to the Barbican for a performance of French composer Louise Farrenc’s Symphony no. 3 in G minor. During her lifetime Farrenc won praise from Berlioz and Schumann, and was at the centre of Parisian musical life as a teacher, scholar and composer, but only in recent years has her work begun to be truly appreciated by performers and musicologists alike. Her Third Symphony will be complemented by Beethoven’s ‘Triple Concerto’ for violin (Alexandra Conunova), cello (Natalie Clein) and piano (Alice Sara Ott). At 6pm, players from the Insula orchestra will come together to explore some of Farrenc’s chamber work, in a pre-concert platform.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Barbican International Associate Residency comprises three concerts which take place from the 2 – 4 May 2017, with Gustavo Dudamel leading the orchestra through a varied programme that includes two European premieres by Esa-Pekka Salonen and Ted Hearne, both Barbican co-commissions. Alongside Salonen’s premiere, the opening programme features Shostakovich’s epic Fifth Symphony and Varèse’s Amierques. 3 May sees 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. On 4 May 2018 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 residency 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.
Following the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra’s appearance at the Barbican earlier in the season, a second celebrated orchestra from Munich will perform at the Barbican in summer 2018: the Bavarian State Orchestra, orchestra of Munich’s renowned Bavarian State Opera (1 June 2018). With a history going back over 350 years, the orchestra come to the Barbican for the first time, conducted by the opera’s Generalmusikdirektor Kirill Petrenko (also chief conductor designate of the Berliner Philharmoniker). They 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.
June 2018 also sees a return visit from the illustrious Venice Baroque Orchestra (4 June), following a hugely acclaimed performance of Vivalid’s Juditha Triumphans on the Barbican stage in November 2016. Here directed by Gianpiero Zanocco, the orchestra joins celebrated counter-tenor Franco Fagioli for a performance of arias by Vivaldi and Handel, plus instrumental music from both composers and a rediscovered orchestral work from Florentine master Francesco Veracini.