Southbank Centre announces its 2018/19 Classical Music Season, together with its four Resident Orchestras, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and four Associate Orchestras, Aurora Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

At the core of the new season is music of contemporary composers, new work, and musical pioneers. The 2018/19 season sees the largest number of new works and premieres seen across Southbank Centre’s 17-acre site in a decade, encompassing the newly-reopened Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room, alongside the Royal Festival Hall. 39 new commissions and premieres set the tone for a season that also features initiatives such as the Composers’ Collective, the inaugural new music festival New Music International, the first UK performance of Stockhausen’s Donnerstag aus Licht since its 1985 UK premiere – part of a Stockhausen focus – and the European premiere of a new symphony commissioned from Philip Glass, based on the music of David Bowie.

World-class artists and ensembles grace the three stages, from major new relationships with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under new Kapellmeister Andris Nelsons, Mitsuko Uchida and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, to beloved soloists including Leonidas Kavakos, Jordi Savall, Yuja Wang, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Sarah Connolly, Julia Fischer and Håkan Hardenberger. Artists appearing with the Resident and Associate Orchestras include Vladimir Jurowski, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sir Simon Rattle, Marin Alsop, Juan Diego Flórez, John Wilson, and Broadway star Audra McDonald who makes her Royal Festival Hall debut.

Increasing access and participation continues to be at the heart of Southbank Centre’s classical music programme and the season demonstrates a multiplicity of distinct voices with a shared vision: to provide world-class music for everybody. 2018/19 sees the season open with a brand new Virtual Reality project in partnership with Philharmonia Orchestra, the launch of WOW Brass as part of the Women in Music strand, the continuation of Southbank Centre’s sell-out music course What You Need to Know and its under-30s ticket scheme. Highlights of the season include:

Contemporary composers, new work, premieres and musical pioneers:
39 ommissions and premieres across the season
European premiere of Philip Glass’ 12th symphony for organ and orchestra, based on the music of David Bowie and performed by James McVinnie with London Contemporary Orchestra alongside Glass’ two previous Bowie symphonies
A focus on the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, including the first UK performance of Donnerstag aus Licht since its UK premiere at the Royal Opera House in 1985, and a weekend of concerts and events curated by Artist in Residence Pierre-Laurent Aimard
Launch of New Music International in January 2019, a new music festival with a global outlook, featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun, a portrait of composer Rebecca Saunders, MacArthur Fellow and flautist Claire Chase, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Aurora Orchestra
The inaugural year of Composers’ Collective, a new initiative giving composers at all stages of their career access to pioneering composers featured throughout Southbank Centre’s season includingEsa-Pekka Salonen, Unsuk Chin, Gerald Barry, Charlotte Bray, Bryce Dessner, and more
London Philharmonic Orchestra gives premieres of major works by living composers Pascal Dusapin, Helen Grime, Magnus Lindberg, Erkki-Sven Tüür and Anders Hillborg, alongside the UK premiere of Gounod’s Concerto for Pedal Piano played by Roberto Pressado
Philharmonia Orchestra presents major commissions from Peter Eötvös, Geoffrey Gordon and Ondřej Adámek, performs Esa-Pekka Salonen's Cello Concerto with Truls Mørk and relaunches Music of Today with an artist portrait of sheng player Wu Wei
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Principal Artist Sir Simon Rattle give the first UK performance of Peter Sellars’ acclaimed staging of Bach’s St John Passion – part of their ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ season
London Sinfonietta gives UK premieres of Richard Ayres’ The Garden and Oscar Bianchi’s ORANGO alongside a host of new music
Associate Orchestra new music highlights include Aurora Orchestra giving the world premiere of new works by Du Yun, co-commissioned by Southbank Centre, and Max Richter, BBC Concert Orchestra presenting BBC Radio 3 world premiere commissions for Julian Joseph and Dobrinka Tabakova, and Chineke! Orchestra performing the London premiere of American composer/pianistStewart Goodyear’s Callaloo
The centenary of Dame Muriel Spark’s birth is celebrated by the Nash Ensemble and mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly with the world premiere of a new work by David Matthews
PRS Foundation's free music festival New Music Biennial returns in July 2019, with 20 new pieces spanning classical, folk, jazz, electronic, opera and sound art.

International artists and ensembles:
Southbank Centre begins a new 5-year relationship with the world’s oldest civic orchestra Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and new Kapellmeister Andris Nelsons
Mitsuko Uchida continues her Schubert cycle, and embarks on a new 5-year relationship with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at Southbank Centre
The return of St Petersburg Philharmonic conducted by Yuri Temirkanov
Ensemble Modern conducted by Vimbayi Kaziboni give two concerts of music by living composers from across the globe
Le Balcon and their founder Maxim Pascale make their UK debut in Stockhausen’s Donnerstag aus Licht
Leonidas Kavakos, Lawrence Power, Jordi Savall, Yuja Wang, Jerusalem Quartet, Artemis Quartet perform in the International Chamber Music Series

Series and major projects:
LPO presents Isle of Noises, a celebration of three centuries of British music across the whole of 2019 from the first great English opera (Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas) to specially-commissioned new music by Helen Grime
Esa-Pekka Salonen launches a new flagship Philharmonia series Weimar Berlin: Bittersweet Metropolis featuring a cabaret programme with Broadway star Audra McDonald, who makes her Royal Festival Hall debut, and a live screening of Fritz Lang’s masterpiece Metropolis
OAE begins ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’, the second part of the Orchestra’s Six Chapters of Enlightenment, featuring the first period performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury with John Wilson among the highlights
London Sinfonietta continues its 50th anniversary year and starts a three-year partnership with Music Theatre Wales
Marking Armistice Day 2018, LPO and Vladimir Jurowski give the world premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Triumph to Exist, commissioned to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, London Sinfonietta performs Olga Neuwirth’s score to Alfred Machin’s 1914 pacifist film Maudite soit la guerre and OAE Orchestra and Choir join forces with conductor Marin Alsop for Brahms’ Requiem
Southbank Centre celebrates the 30th anniversary of its International Piano Series featuring Mitsuko Uchida, Paul Lewis, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Angela Hewitt, Pavel Kolesnikov and more
The International Organ Series in 2018/19 features recitalists Stephen Cleobury, Catherine Ennis, Nathan Laube and Wayne Marshall

Access and innovation:
A new digital partnership between the Philharmonia and Southbank Centre opens the 2018/19 season: two new immersive surround-sound, audio-led Virtual Reality experiences presented in a specially-created VR sound studio on the Clore Ballroom
Women in Music strand marks a new phase with the launch of new all-female brass ensemble WOW Brass, alongside the continuation of WOW Orchestra, regular networking events, workshops and the women conductors’ masterclasses, led by Marin Alsop
A new season of Southbank Centre’s sell-out music course What You Need to Know, from a beginner’s guide to an exploration of Stockhausen
The continuation of Southbank Centre’s Under-30s ticket scheme, offering free and discounted tickets, alongside regular offerings from the Resident Orchestras
Continued commitment to family concerts and free wrap-around education work in conjunction with Southbank Centre’s Resident and Associate Orchestras

Gillian Moore MBE, Director of Music, Southbank Centre, said: “Each year, we at Southbank Centre, together with our family of Resident and Associate Orchestras, work ever harder to extend our vision of what classical music can be and who it is for. The programme announced today more than ever represents the future with an emphasis on new music, new projects, new artists and new venues. I'm thrilled that for the 2018/19 season we are back in our wonderful 1960s concert spaces, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room, newly refurbished and providing a platform for beloved artists, ensembles and those new to its stages. Major relationships with international orchestras and artists, pioneering digital projects, ambitious year-long series and bold programming from our Resident and Associate ensembles are designed to reach the widest possible audience in a season which looks to the future and is truly global in its scope.”


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