The London Philharmonic Orchestra begins its first season as Resident Orchestra with two major concerts under Vladimir Jurowski and Marin Alsop, joined by Saffron Walden Choral Society
Britten Sinfonia continues vibrant long-term residency, performing with Benjamin Grosvenor and hosting a collaboration of contemporary music giants Gerhard Richter and Steve Reich
Aurora Orchestra performs the entirety of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique from memory in a specially-devised production
BBC forces prominent with performances from BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra with BBC Young Musician winner Martin James Bartlett and BBC Singers joining the National Youth Jazz Orchestra
English Touring Opera returns for two fully-staged new opera productions: Weill’s The Silver Lake – A Winter’s Tale and Mozart’s The Seraglio
Jazz and folk includes Courtney Pine, Jan Garbarek and Mercury-nominated duo The Unthanks
‘Thoughts & Talks’ continues with BBC Radio 4’s John Humphrys, soprano Lesley Garrett and award-winning poet Benjamin Zephaniah
Christmas sees the return of The Sixteen for Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, and pianist Alexandra Dariescu presents her pioneering version of The Nutcracker with dancers and animation
Following its dazzling fifth-birthday year, Saffron Hall today reveals the first half of its 2019/20 season, strongly demonstrating the venue’s commitment to deepening the cultural life of the region through its ground-breaking model of world-class performing arts and educational provision at the heart of its community.
Over the past five years, the Hall has sold over 10% of its tickets to under 18s, worked with 54 local schools and engaged 30,000 people in their Learning and Participation programme.
Angela Dixon, Chief Executive of Saffron Hall, said: “Following on from our hugely successful fifth birthday season, we are thrilled to be able to continue Saffron Hall’s incredibly diverse and high-quality programming for our 2019/20 season. Seeing the amazing statistics from the last five years, we are eager to progress with the vital work of bringing incredible artists and artistic opportunities to the local community. We truly believe this season offers something for everyone, and hope that people try something new with such a vast array of wonderful events on offer. We are particularly pleased to formalise the excellent relationship that exists between us and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, welcoming them as Resident Orchestra alongside the excellent programme already offered by Britten Sinfonia. With the LPO and Britten Sinfonia as our Resident Orchestras, we have an exceptional offering for music lovers in the Eastern region.”
The London Philharmonic Orchestra returns to Saffron Hall for its first season as Resident Orchestra alongside Britten Sinfonia. The LPO’s Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski leads the first concert with star violinist Julia Fischer [28 Sep], while Marin Alsop returns to the Hall to lead the Orchestra in a performance of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast. They are joined by local choir Saffron Walden Choral Society for this performance, just one of the ways that the LPO’s Residency is designed to provide more artistic opportunities for the region than performances alone [10 Nov]. The London Philharmonic Orchestra returns later in the season with one of its much-loved FUNharmonics concerts for families and a concert with Sir Antonio Pappano, details of which will be announced in the autumn. Britten Sinfonia, now in its third season as Resident Orchestra, hosts the return of local piano hero Benjamin Grosvenor [24 Nov]. They also introduce an exciting new collaboration between two giants of contemporary culture, Steve Reich and Gerhard Richter, conducted by Colin Currie with a cinematic exploration of Richter’s abstract painting, combining digital visuals with Reich’s most iconic minimalist masterpieces [24 Oct]. In their most ambitious performance to date, Aurora Orchestra and Nicholas Collon return with the entirety of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique from memory, in a specially-devised production incorporating elements of design, lighting and choreography [10 Sep]. Other Saffron Hall favourites, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, also return with countertenor of the moment, Iestyn Davies [15 Nov]. Opera highlights include two fully-staged and brand-new productions from English Touring Opera: Kurt Weill’s The Silver Lake – A Winter’s Tale conducted by Weill specialist James Conway, and Mozart’s The Seraglio. Local company Saffron Opera Group also continue their acclaimed series of Wagner performances with Tristan und Isolde [15 Sep]. Other notable events include Harry Bicket and The English Concert with star trumpeter Alison Balsom presenting the dramatised concert Gabriel, fresh from its highly-acclaimed performance at Shakespeare’s Globe [19 Oct]. Marcus du Sautoy joins the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra presenting ‘Music & Maths’, engaging audiences with the numerical magic that lies beneath Bartók, Debussy and Stravinsky [16 Oct]. Paul Lewis continues his deep association with Saffron Hall with the eagerly-anticipated final concert in his recital series, exploring the connections between Haydn, Beethoven and Brahms [13 Oct]. BBC musicians are also out in force this season with the BBC Singers performing at Christmas [15 Dec], the BBC Concert Orchestra offering a stunning New Year’s Celebration with BBC Young Musician Martin James Bartlett [4 Jan], and the BBC Symphony Orchestra performing a Beethoven concert with a twist under acclaimed Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro [19 Jan]. Christmas at the Hall features The Sixteen performing Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols [20 Dec], as well as pianist Alexandra Dariescu’s highly acclaimed re-imagining of The Nutcracker featuring ballerina and projected animation [22 Dec].
Jazz and Folk
Continuing the Hall’s reputation for hosting outstanding jazz performances, illustrious jazz hero Courtney Pine strips everything back with a bass-clarinet performance accompanied by Mercury-nominated pianist Zoe Rahman, as they revisit tracks from their album Song (The Ballad Book) [10 Oct]. Legendary Norwegian saxophonist and composer Jan Garbarek, a musician lauded ‘as close to perfection as it’s humanly possible to achieve’ (London Jazz News, 2016), is set to perform a thrilling 120-minute unbroken set with his group of awe-inspiring jazz musicians [16 Nov]. Ever-innovating folk duo The Unthanks introduce Saffron Hall’s audiences to their darkly passionate Emily Brontë Song Cycle in an exceptional collaboration between a literary great and one of the most critically-acclaimed bands of today [26 Oct]. In a special Christmas celebration, the BBC Singers join the National Youth Jazz Orchestra for an evening of festive favourites with special guest, 4-time British Jazz Singer of the Year recipient Clare Teal [15 Dec].
Thoughts & Talks
Continuing the Hall’s series of innovative and insightful talks, Saffron Hall invites a range of inspiring speakers to present to the local community this season, including BBC Radio 4’s combative interview pioneer John Humphrys, who comes to Saffron Walden in October to discuss his life and career [23 Oct]. Award-winning poet Benjamin Zephaniah presents a compelling show in his Life and Rhymes evening, exploring how he’s fought injustice and discrimination throughout his career, whilst sharing a selection of his favourite stories and poems [9 Nov]. With a career spanning 14 solo albums and countless television appearances, soprano Lesley Garrett discusses her wide-ranging experiences as a singer, with an evening of song, reminiscences and chat [9 Oct].
Saffron Hall continues its commitment to enabling as many people as possible to access and participate in the arts. This season the Hall will continue to deliver exceptional learning programmes for schools and communities, place local performers alongside the world’s greatest artists at the heart of the Hall’s programme, and present a wide-ranging public programme for audiences of all ages. The London Philharmonic Orchestra Residency demonstrates both organisations’ commitment to education and community work. In their first season as Resident Orchestra, the LPO will join Saffron Walden Choral Society for a performance of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast under the baton of Marin Alsop [10 Nov], and each year the LPO will present one of their popular FUNharmonics concerts for families. In November the LPO will bring their Soundworks project to Saffron Walden County High School – offering students a change to collaborate and create new work alongside LPO musicians and artists from other disciplines. Musicians from the London Philharmonic Orchestra, along with other artists from the Hall’s programme will give masterclasses to students at the County High School and coach young people at the Saffron Centre for Young Musicians - a specialist Saturday school offering high quality musical training to students aged 4-18 through a partnership between the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Saffron Hall, Essex Music Education Hub and Saffron Walden County High School. Other family events announced today include Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra’s Heroes & Villains, a narrated concert of classical music to accompany fantastical story-telling and illustrations from children’s author James Mayhew [06 Oct]. Saffron Hall, proudly providing a platform for musicians in the community and partner local groups, also hosts concerts by Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra with a programme of Holst, Prokofiev and Sibelius, joined by Doric String Quartet violinist Alex Redington [17 Nov]. Saffron Hall will continue to deliver Together in Sound – offering free music therapy group sessions for people living with dementia and their carers. The project is delivered in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University and will continue to build on the extraordinary work Saffron Hall undertakes to use the power of music to help enrich the lives of people affected by this condition.