The classical music programme for the re-opening of the Royal Festival Hall, after two years of redevelopment, and highlights of Southbank Centreís re-launch season running from June 2007 to June 2008, were announced today.

To celebrate the re-opening of the Royal Festival Hall in June 2007, the classical music programme at Southbank Centre will feature a host of great conductors, soloists and orchestras, innovative new projects and collaborations. With a transformed auditorium and improvements across the entire venue, the programme re-launches this major international concert hall and its sister auditoria.

With the four Resident Orchestras at its heart, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the programme will include:

  • An opening week of signature concerts starting with a First Night concert featuring all four Resident Orchestras, with over 250 musicians playing together for the first time

  • Gala Birthday and Anniversary concerts

  • The worldís great conductors, soloists and orchestras

  • New productions of Carmen Jones and Sweeney Todd

  • New commissions and premieres

  • Two landmark festivals celebrating the work of Luigi Nono and Olivier Messiaen

  • Major soloists and ensembles in international recital series

  • Great orchestras launch Shell Classic International

  • Daniel Barenboim as first musician in Artist as Leader programme

    Marshall Marcus, Head of Music, said: ìOur aim is to make Southbank Centre the most dynamic arts centre in the world for classical music. From Daniel Barenboimís pioneering Beethoven piano sonata series to the UK premiere of Luigi Nonoís masterpiece Prometeo, the programme announced today brings together world-class artists in programmes that epitomise Southbank Centreís blend of tradition and cutting-edge innovation.î

    Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said: ìAs we announce the opening season programme today at Southbank Centre, we are blessed with having four Resident Orchestras and a wonderful array of international leaders and musicians to work with. I am particularly delighted that Christoph von Dohn·nyi, Vladimir Jurowski, and Esa-Pekka Salonen will be joining us for the opening week and the renaissance of Southbank Centre. Their presence, and those of our other partners completely underscores our belief in the enormous importance of classical music here and itís wonderful to have these amazing musicians supporting our unified vision.î

    The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment sit within a world-class programme of concerts, festivals, recitals, commissions, masterclasses and talks.

    ìI am very much looking forward to the re-opening of the Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre, coinciding as it does with my inaugural season as Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and their 75th birthday year. Together the Orchestra and I can enjoy and explore a revitalised Royal Festival Hall and do justice to the diverse and exciting repertoire we have planned for our anniversary season.î
    Vladimir Jurowski, Principal Conductor Designate, London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Position supported by Aviva plc

    ìI am delighted at the prospect of returning to this magnificent hall, which is such an important part of the Philharmonia Orchestraís musical life. The Orchestra and I are very much looking forward to working with the new artistic team to bring our plans to fruition at this exciting time.î
    Christoph von Dohn·nyi, Principal Conductor, Philharmonia Orchestra

    Alongside the four Resident Orchestras, international visitors to look out for include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Zurich Opera. The worldís greatest conductors will perform at the Royal Festival Hall including Marin Alsop, Pierre Boulez, Christoph von Dohn·nyi, Charles Dutoit, Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, John Eliot Gardiner, Daniele Gatti, Mariss Jansons, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Franz Welser-Mˆst. Soloists appearing during the season include Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Daniel Barenboim, Alfred Brendel, Imogen Cooper, Richard Goode, Evgeny Kissin, Radu Lupu, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Maurizio Pollini, Andr·s Schiff, Bryn Terfel, Christian Tetzlaff and Mitsuko Uchida.

    11 June 2007
    The First Night concert will focus on a three-part concert combining Southbank Centreís four Resident Orchestras, comprising some 250 musicians, together in one concert ñ each showing off their specialist brilliance and character, as well as creating a spectacular moment when all four will join in one piece. The event will explore over 300 years of classical music, beginning with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by their young Principal Conductor Designate Vladimir Jurowski and the world premiere of a specially commissioned work Hallelujah for chorus and orchestra, written by Julian Anderson, and continuing with Stravinskyís The Firebird. The second part of the concert will open with members of all four orchestras contributing to Ivesí Unanswered Question and spotlight the London Sinfonietta and OAE in a programme of Purcell, Handel, and a specially-written version of Birtwistleís Ritual Fragment. It will culminate in all four orchestras performing together in Ravelís Bolero. In the third and final part, the Philharmonia Orchestra and a specially-assembled chorus will perform the finale of Beethovenís Symphony No.9, conducted by Christoph von Dohn·nyi.

    12 June
    The Philharmonia Orchestra will play under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, their newly-announced Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor from the beginning of the 2008/9 season. Salonen has a long association with the Orchestra and had his ëbig breakí in 1983 when he stepped in as a late replacement to conduct Mahler Symphony No.3. It is of particular significance therefore that he returns to the stage for the very same work. The programme is complemented by a violin concerto by British composer Oliver Knussen (recently-announced Associate Artist at Southbank Centre). The violin soloist will be Christian Tetzlaff and the singer Michelle DeYoung.

    13 June
    The London Philharmonic Orchestra take the platform on 13 June with Vladimir Jurowski. Jurowski will conduct Prokofievís Symphony No.5 ñ the first piece he ever conducted with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The evening is completed by Alfred Schnittkeís (K)ein Sommernachstraum and Mozart Piano Concerto No.20 in D Minor, K.466 performed by Imogen Cooper.

    14 June
    On 14 June there will be a recital by Alfred Brendel as part of the International Piano Series. This concert of Haydn, Schubert and Beethoven promises to be a landmark concert with Brendel returning to the Hall after being the last to perform a solo recital prior to the Hall closure in summer 2005.

    15 June
    The London Sinfonietta take the second major Southbank Centre commission for the re-opening with a composition from Mark-Anthony Turnage and Barb Jungr. About Water is a full evening on 15 June in the Queen Elizabeth Hall featuring new work by Turnage and Jungr, interspersed with new arrangements for ensemble and orchestra of songs, which have water as a theme. Joining the London Sinfonietta and Barb Jungr on the platform will be three singers who straddle classical and jazz styles and an ensemble of jazz and classical instrumental soloists, including John Patitucci, Gwilym Simcock and Gabriella Swallow.

    24 June
    Mitsuko Uchida and Sir Charles Mackerras (Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia) join the Philharmonia Orchestra in a concert on 24 June that highlights Uchida and Mackerras performing their own landmark repertoire. World-renowned for his interpretations of Czech music, Mackerras conducts Jan·ček's Sinfonietta and Uchida, one of the greatest Mozartians of her generation, performs Mozart's Piano Concerto No.25 in C, K.503.

    On 26 and 27 June Klaus Obermaierís 21st-century realisation of Igor Stravinskyís The Rite of Spring, combining the London Philharmonic Orchestra performing live, conducted by Marin Alsop, with dance and 3-D digital technology, will receive its UK premiere in the Royal Festival Hall. Klaus Obermaier is a musician and digital artist who has specialised in creating extraordinary dance and performance events in recent years.

    28 June
    Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Christoph von Dohn·nyi has long championed British contemporary music and on 28 June he conducts the Orchestra in AdËsí Asyla. Alfred Brendel has performed many times with the Philharmonia Orchestra over the years and he joins them in this concert with Beethoven Piano Concerto No.3. The programme is completed by Brahmsí majestic Symphony No.2.

    Southbank Centre has a strong tradition of commissioning new works, and with the re-opening of the Hall, the organisation has taken the opportunity to commission some of the most exciting projects and composers of today. At least one work has been commissioned for each of its four Resident Orchestras with composers such as Julian Anderson (Hallelujah for chorus and orchestra for the London Philharmonic Orchestra), Mark- Anthony Turnage and Barb Jungr (About Water) for the London Sinfonietta.

    On 12 July there is the first opportunity to hear Heiner Goebbelsí Wars I have Seen, a unique commission uniting the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The Sinfonietta and the OAE represent the outer edges, chronologically speaking, of the history of western classical music, and Goebbels is seeking to exploit these different ways of performing. The work is based on Gertrude Stein's text about Paris in the Second World War, and will feature female musicians from the two ensembles as speakers.

    Other commissions for the Philharmonia Orchestra and Tak·cs Quartet will follow with composers including Simon Holt, Thomas AdËs and James MacMillan.

    This July, for the first time, the organisation will put its creative resources, including its Resident Orchestras, into two special projects in the Royal Festival Hall. Jude Kelly will direct a new production of Carmen Jones, co-produced with Raymond Gubbay, running from 25 July to 2 September, designed by Michael Vale, with music direction by Simon Lee and choreography by Rafael Bonachela, Southbank Centreís Choreographer in Residence. The young voice parts for the production will be recruited from Southbank Centreís new Voicelab, led by Mary King with Sir Willard White as Patron. The London Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra will alternate the performance dates.

    From 5 to 7 July Southbank Centre will present a special staging of Stephen Sondheimís dark masterpiece Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street directed by David Freeman and designed by Dan Potra. Bryn Terfel will take the title role heading a star cast and the London Philharmonic Orchestra will perform the orchestral score. This production will set a precedent for a highly visual approach to the staging of opera/musical theatre in the Royal Festival Hall, using its new state-of-the-art stage facilities.

    The Philharmonia Orchestra
    For the Philharmonia Orchestra, 2007/8 is a season of celebration, and in particular, celebrations marking the Orchestra's longest-standing artistic partnerships and its commitment to fostering new talent. On 25 September Christoph von Dohn·nyi will open his final season as Principal Conductor with performances of Beethoven's Choral Symphony and Strauss's Ein Heldenleben. Other autumn highlights include Gala Concerts for both Vladimir Ashkenazy's 70th Birthday and celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Riccardo Muti's first ever performance with the Philharmonia in 1972. Debut performers with the Orchestra include two young conductors taking Europe by storm - StÈphane DenËve and Juraj Valcuha ñ while other featured artists with whom the Orchestra has long-term partnerships include Andr·s Schiff (the much-anticipated Part 2 of his Schubert Series), Radu Lupu, Evgeny Kissin, Sir Charles Mackerras and Charles Dutoit. Esa-Pekka Salonen made his debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1983 at the age of 25, and in November 2006 the Orchestra caused a sensation internationally when he was announced as Christoph von Dohn·nyi's successor, from the 2008/09 season. Salonen leads the Orchestra in the first part of Pierre-Laurent Aimard's visionary Messiaen Anniversary project in February 2008, including two of the iconic works of the 20th century, the Turangalila Symphonie and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.

    The London Philharmonic Orchestra
    The 2007/08 sees the London Philharmonic Orchestra celebrating its 75th anniversary and the inaugural season with its new Principal Conductor, Vladimir Jurowski. Highlights will include the 75th Birthday Concert on 7 October with Vladimir Jurowski and Maurizio Pollini and also a return to the full symphonic repertoire including Shostakovich's Symphony No.5 conducted by Kurt Masur on 3 October. The Orchestra also presents a full programme of Elgar to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth; a series of concerts featuring the music of Erich Korngold and new works by John Tavener, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Matthias Pintscher and Jennifer Higdon. A major community celebration, Excite, includes a new work for performance by the Orchestra and community groups (written by Eugene Skeef and Richard Bissill) conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.

    London Sinfonietta
    New commissions, innovative cross-art form collaborations and 20th-century classics feature in the London Sinfonietta's new season. Thomas AdËs will create a new work for the Royal Festival Hall, in his first-ever collaboration with a video artist, the young Israeli Tal Rosner. Karin Rehnquist and Colin Matthews write new works for the ensemble, while Simon Holt creates a visual song cycle with video artist Julia Bardsley. In the autumn, the Sinfonietta collaborates with rock legend Scott Walker, choreographer Rafael Bonachela and CandoCo Dance Company in a new work. Luigi Nono's 'tragedy of listening' Prometeo will be given its UK premiere in a specially built installation in the Royal Festival Hall, and the Sinfonietta will take a key role in Southbank Centreís Messiaen festival, including giving the UK premiere of GÈrard Grisey's massive sonic exploration Les espaces acoustiques.

    The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
    The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment has been celebrating its 21st birthday throughout the 2006/7 season and the climax to this comes on 30 June when the Orchestra performs in a concert that promises to be one of the most extraordinary OAE performances of all time. The list of participating artists reads like a 'who's who' of the OAE's most eminent friends and includes Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Charles Mackerras, Vladimir Jurowski, Mark Elder, Robert Levin, John Mark Ainsley, David Wilson-Johnson and Philip Langridge.

    The OAE has put together a new season at Southbank Centre which shines with its customary energy and imagination. Plans include concerts with the OAEís Principal Artists, Sir Simon Rattle, Iv·n Fischer and Vladimir Jurowski: a performance of Schumannís rarely performed Das Paradies und die Peri is conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, with a cast including Bernarda Fink, Sally Matthews, Kate Royal, Mark Padmore and David Wilson-Johnson. Further season highlights include performances of Purcellís Dido and Aeneas, brought to life with puppets under the direction of Tim Carroll, a concert of music by Vivaldi as part of Southbank Centreís Nono festival, the London orchestral debut of conductor Robin Ticciati and a special evening with star counter-tenor Andreas Scholl.

    The worldís finest orchestras play at the Royal Festival Hall from October 2007 under the banner of the Shell Classic International season. Riccardo Muti leads the proceedings on 5 and 6 October when he conducts two concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Later the same month (28 and 29 October) John Eliot Gardiner leads two evenings with his Orchestre RÈvolutionnaire et Romantique and the Monteverdi Choir. Mariss Jansons has a reputation as one of the worldís greatest conductors and has conducted some of the most memorable concerts in the Royal Festival Hall in recent seasons. It is therefore with particular pride and anticipation that Southbank Centre can announce that the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Jansons begin a four-year relationship with the Centre in November 2007, with two visits each season (the first including Mahler Symphony No.5). This relationship will culminate in the autumn of 2010 with a major symphony cycle. Other visitors to the series include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with Daniele Gatti, Chamber Orchestra of Europe with Mitsuko Uchida, Basel Chamber Orchestra with Paul McCreesh and Angelika Kirchschlager, Zurich Opera with a concert performance of Straussí Der Rosenkavalier under the baton of Franz Welser-Mˆst, and the fiery Iv·n Fischer with his Budapest Festival Orchestra in a Dvoř·k and Stravinsky programme.

    Southbank Centre will stage two major festivals in the 2007/8 classical season working in partnership with the Resident Orchestras. Running from October 2007 through to March 2008, Luigi Nono ñ Fragments of Venice is a five-month celebration of one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century. The festival has been planned in consultation with Nuria Schoenberg Nono, the composerís widow, and daughter of Arnold Schoenberg. The climax will be two performances of his masterpiece Prometeo in the Royal Festival Hall, a UK premiere of this seminal work. The festival looks at this under-performed composer from many different aspects ñ Nono as a modernist, Nono as a major 20th-century Italian composer and figure and also explores the city of Venice and the huge influence it has had on artists and composers through the generations, including Nono. As well as working with other art forms across Southbank Centre, the festival is a collaboration with the Royal Academy of Music and includes artists such as Maurizio Pollini, the London Sinfonietta, Westminster Cathedral Choir and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. In addition to the music of Nono, the festival covers other Italian composers including Monteverdi, Vivaldi and Dallapicolla.

    A major Messiaen festival will take place throughout 2008 when Southbank Centre will present a year of music in celebration of the centenary of his birth. Under the artistic direction of the pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, key interpreters of Messiaenís music will converge on the site and across London, performing Messiaenís music as well as that of his inspirations, pupils and associates. Aimard himself will be strongly featured as a soloist, and the year will begin and end with a visit from the Ensemble Intercontemporain (EIC) from Paris with Aimard as soloist. They will open the festival with the huge and colourful Des canyons aux Ètoiles under their new Music Director Susanna Malkki and, to round off the year in December, the EIC will give two concerts under the baton of Pierre Boulez: on 10 December, Messiaenís actual centenary date and the second on 11 December, marking the 100th Birthday of Messiaenís contemporary Elliott Carter. The festival also showcases further collaboration with Resident Orchestras, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the London Sinfonietta. Another key partner will be the Royal Academy of Music.

    A feature of this festival will be an ongoing series of Messiaenís organ works, performed around London in the cityís cathedrals and churches. In partnership with Southbank Centre will be St Paulís Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and the London Oratory.

    Alongside his performances of the 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas in eight concerts throughout January and February 2008, Daniel Barenboim is the first musician to appear in Southbank Centreís Artist as Leader programme. As Artist as Leader, Daniel Barenboim takes part in a series of challenging talks and discussions examining the question of the artistís place in contemporary society.

    The International Piano Series hosts performances by some of the greatest pianists of today. The opening week of the Royal Festival Hall includes a recital by Alfred Brendel. Complete cycles play a special role this season, with Angela Hewitt performing Bachís complete Well-tempered clavier and Pierre-Laurent Aimard offering Messiaenís mystical masterpiece Vingt Regards sur líenfant JÈsus. Richard Goode has a special focus: he gives a recital, masterclass and lecture-recital and will also be heard as a song accompanist and duo musician throughout the season. Pianists include Maurizio Pollini, Mitsuko Uchida and Krystian Zimerman. In addition, the exciting younger artists to hear are Piotr Anderszewski, Steven Osborne and Leif Ove Andsnes.

    The International Chamber Music Season offers audiences a wide range of music in performances of the highest quality, by a mixture of established ensembles and ad hoc groupings of friends and colleagues. String quartets include the renowned period instrument group Quatuor MosaÔques, Associate Artists the Tak·cs Quartet with a special focus on the works of Haydn; Quartet Laureate the Alban Berg Quartet in their final season on the concert platform and the Emerson Quartet who this season highlight Brahms in a series of three performances. They are complemented by major works for other combinations including Schumannís Piano Quintet with the Nash Ensemble, Shostakovichís searing Second Piano Trio by the CapuÁon brothers and Nicolas Angelich, and Mozartís great Divertimento for string trio, led by the esteemed violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann.

    A recurring theme this season is the music of Mendelssohn, with three masterpieces: the early string Octet, the C minor Piano Trio and the last Quartet. Another topic is the art of the arranger, with Bachís keyboard Goldberg Variations recreated by Dmitri Sitkovetsky as a string trio, and Richard Goode with Jonathan Biss in a programme of music for four hands on one and two pianos including Schumann transcribed by Debussy, and Beethoven and Stravinsky by themselves.

    Opening Classical Music Highlights

    Monday 11 June, Royal Festival Hall
    Reopening concert
    London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Philharmonia Orchestra
    London Sinfonietta
    Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
    Christoph von Dohn·nyi, Vladimir Jurowski, Marin Alsop conductors
    Stravinsky, Purcell, Birtwistle, Handel, Ravel, Beethoven, Anderson

    Tuesday 12 June, Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm Philharmonia Orchestra
    Esa-Pekka Salonen conductor
    Christian Tetzlaff violin
    Knussen: Violin Concerto
    Mahler: Symphony No. 3

    Wednesday 13 June, Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm
    London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Vladimir Jurowski conductor
    Imogen Cooper piano
    Schnittke: (K)ein Sommernachstraum
    Mozart: Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor, K.466
    Prokofiev: Symphony No.5

    Thursday 14 June, Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm
    Alfred Brendel piano
    Haydn: Sonata in C minor, Hob.XVI:20
    Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.31 in A flat, Op.110
    Schubert: Impromptu No.1 in F minor, D935; Impromptu No.3 in B flat, D935
    Mozart: Piano Sonata in C minor, K457

    Friday 15 June, Queen Elizabeth Hall, 7.30pm
    London Sinfonietta
    Mark-Anthony Turnage
    Barb Jungr vocalist
    Turnage: About Water (world premiere)

    Sunday 24 June, Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm
    Philharmonia Orchestra
    Sir Charles Mackerras conductor
    Mitsuko Uchida piano
    Wagner: Overture, Die Meistersinger
    Mozart: Piano Concerto in C, K.503
    Jan·ček: Sinfonietta

    Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 June, Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm
    Klaus Obermaierís Rite of Spring
    London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Marin Alsop conductor
    Julia Mach dancer
    Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring
    Glass: Prelude to Akhnaten
    VarËse: Arcana

    Thursday 28 June, Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm
    Philharmonia Orchestra
    Christoph von Dohn·nyi conductor
    Alfred Brendel piano
    AdËs: Asyla
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.3
    Brahms: Symphony No.2

    Saturday 30 June, Royal Festival Hall, 7.00pm
    Orchestra of the Age Enlightenment 21st Birthday Gala Concert
    Sir Charles Mackerras conductor (Handel)
    Sir Roger Norrington conductor (Rameau)
    Vladimir Jurowski conductor (Haydn)
    Mark Elder conductor (Weber)
    Richard Egarr fortepiano
    Robert Levin fortepiano
    John Mark Ainsley tenor
    Robin Blaze counter-tenor
    David Wilson-Johnson baritone
    Philip Langridge tenor
    Clive Bayley bass
    Choir of the Enlightenment
    Purcell: Suite from Welcome to all the pleasures and Now does the glorious day appear
    Rameau: Suite from Dardanus
    Mozart: Concerto for two pianos in E flat, K365
    Haydn: Symphony No.63 in C, Hob.1/63, La Roxelane (original version)
    Weber: Die Freischutz, Act II Finale, The Casting of the Magic Bullets
    Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks

    Thursday 5 ñ Saturday 7 July, Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm
    Sondheim ñ Sweeney Todd (semi-staged)
    London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Bryn Terfel Sweeney Todd

    Thursday 25 July ñ Sunday 2 September, Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm
    Oscar Hammerstein II (after Bizet): Carmen Jones
    London Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra
    Simon Lee Musical Director
    Cast tba


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