Vibrant Orchestral Theatre productions, including Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique (from memory) and an exploration of the rise and fall of Napoleon

Aurora’s Mozart piano concerto cycle builds to its final year at Kings Place

Commissions by Charlotte Bray and Sir James MacMillan

A celebration of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with performances of his First Symphony and memorised performances of the ‘Pastoral’ and ‘Eroica’

Guest artists including Angela Hewitt, Ingrid Fliter, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Imogen Cooper, Leonidas Kavakos, Nicola Benedetti, Ronald Brautigam, Amy Dickson, Nicholas Angelich, Tom Poster and Natalie Clein

Informal late-night Lock-In events

Far, Far Away storytelling concerts for young children and families

Aurora Orchestra announces its 2019/20 London season, featuring vibrant Orchestral Theatre productions, the start of the final year of the Mozart’s Piano series at King’s Place, a celebration of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, informal late-night Lock-Ins and creative storytelling concerts for young children.

Aurora today publishes a special season brochure which takes the form of a photo book exploring musical obsession.

The Orchestral Theatre

Aurora continues its Orchestral Theatre series with an exploration of the rise and fall of Napoleon at the Queen Elizabeth Hall entitled ‘Fallen Hero’. The concert features Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major with soloist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and culminates in a memorised performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in Eb major ‘Eroica’ (Saturday 16 May 2020). This concert forms part of Aimard’s Beethoven and the Avant-Garde series at Southbank Centre celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birthday.

The new season launches in spectacular style with Aurora’s most ambitious Orchestral Theatre project to date, a theatrical concert built around a memorised performance of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, at the BBC Proms this week (Thursday 12 September, 7:30pm and 10:15pm, Royal Albert Hall, London). Aurora’s specially devised production interweaves live orchestral performance with theatrical design, lighting, movement, and Berlioz’s own words spoken by actor Mathew Baynton (Horrible Histories, Yonderland, Ghosts). Performing without sheet music, the orchestra offers audiences a new way to experience this iconic work in a fresh and illuminating context, exploring the composer’s vivid imagination and world through theatrical elements, including a specially commissioned set design by Kate Wicks (Aurora’s Production Designer).

Aurora’s Orchestral Theatre series aims to give the richest possible experience of orchestral music to the widest possible audience, using cross-art form collaborations, historical contextualisation, audience participation, and memorised performance to deepen the audience’s musical enjoyment and understanding. The series stages orchestra adventures that span diverse musical genres and art forms, rethinking the concert format and offering bold new ways to engage with orchestral music. Programmes are uncompromisingly music-led, with orchestral music and musicians always centre stage.

Mozart’s Piano builds to its final year

Aurora builds to the final year of Mozart’s Piano at Kings Place: a five-year series (2016-2020) centred around the first complete performance cycle of Mozart’s 27 piano concertos ever to be staged in the UK. Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam makes his debut with Aurora performing Concerto No. 20 in D minor (Saturday 28 September) alongside a commission by Sir James MacMillan, Saxophone Concerto, performed by Amy Dickson. Angela Hewitt plays Concerto No. 22 in Eb major (Saturday 14 December) paired with a new commission by Charlotte Bray in partnership with the First 100 Years, and Louise Farrenc’s overlooked Third Symphony, supported by the ABO Trust’s Sirens programme. Regular Aurora collaborator Tom Poster performs Concerto No. 19 in F major (Saturday 2 November), American pianist Nicholas Angelich makes his Aurora debut in Concerto No. 24 in C minor (Saturday 8 February 2020), Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter also makes her Aurora debut in Concerto No. 23 in A major (Saturday 28 March), and Imogen Cooper performs Concerto No. 25 in C major (Saturday 20 June).

Alongside these concerts sit a rich breadth of repertoire ranging from Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Prokofiev to Copland, Gershwin and Birtwistle. Further guest artists include cellist Natalie Clein and guest conductor Duncan Ward.

Beethoven 250

The 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth is marked throughout the season.

Aurora presents Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony by heart alongside Harrison Birtwistle’s Cortege for 14 musicians and Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A major (Saturday 28 March 2020). A special late-night Lock-In event staged later the same evening also gives the audience a rare opportunity to experience the symphony from inside the heart of the orchestra. Hosted by Jessie Maryon Davies, audience members are invited to roam around the different sections of the orchestra for a unique ‘surround-sound’ experience, as Aurora players perform passages of the symphony from memory. They’ll also have the opportunity to sing, move and even conduct sections of the score. This will be the first time the orchestra brings its interactive Immersed workshop for young people to an adult audience.

Aurora has become known for its pioneering memorised performances of whole symphonies, offering audiences the opportunity to experience orchestral music in a completely new and thrillingly direct way. The orchestra has performed by heart at the BBC Proms every year since 2014 – presenting works including Mozart's 40th and 41st symphonies, Beethoven's Symphonies Nos. Three, Five and Six, Brahms' First symphony and Shostakovich's Ninth.

Late-night Lock-Ins

A series of informal late-night Lock-In events will be curated by Aurora’s Principal Players, including a reimagining of its Far, Far Away storytelling concert for grown-ups (Saturday 28 September), a performance in the round of Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds (Saturday 8 February) and an immersive performance of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony.

Far, Far Away…

The orchestra continues its series of Far, Far Away storytelling concerts for young children and families, featuring adventures with dinosaurs, dragonflies and pirates alongside music by Beethoven, Chopin and Bartók. Children aged 0-5 are invited to join Aurora’s Principal Players to travel back in time 200 million years to the age of the dinosaur, in a concert featuring new chamber arrangements of Beethoven’s music by Arranger-in-Residence Iain Farrington, in an interactive and relaxed setting (Saturday 30 November). Storyteller Patxi del Amo showcases the magical music of Chopin in a playful and inventive concert for young children (Saturday 15, Sunday 16, Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 February 2020), and a magical treasure hunt with Agatha the Pirate is bought to life with a specially-commissioned story from Kate Wakeling and a host of opportunities to take part (Saturday 13, Sunday 14 June and Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 July 2020).


The orchestra’s Immersed programme takes symphonic music out of the concert hall through interactive and immersive performances and workshops around the UK. Immersed harnesses the orchestra’s freedom from printed scores, music stands and chairs to welcome young people physically inside an orchestra, performing from memory, offering participants the unique opportunity to experience live orchestral music close up – for example lying down in the center of the musicians or conducting the orchestra.

Creative Learning

Aurora is passionate about reaching new audiences of all backgrounds and bringing inspiring classical music experiences to people wherever they are. Believing that orchestral music is for everyone, Aurora continues to work with schools, community groups, local authorities and other partners to reach people with the least access to music through Far, Far Away performances and Immersed workshops. It also provides professional development training and resources for teachers, with specially adapted versions for educators working with children with special educational needs. This season Aurora continues to collaborate with organisations such as Fairbeats!, TreeHouse School, Camden Music Service and 11 by 11 Islington.

Further highlights…

Further highlights of the 19-20 season include debut performances at St. David’s Hall in Cardiff (Monday 18 May 2020) and the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham (Wednesday 20 May), as well as return performances at Saffron Hall in Saffron Walden (Tuesday 10 September), The Apex in Bury St Edmunds (Monday 23 March 2020) and St George’s in Bristol (Tuesday 24 March 2020). International performances with Nicola Benedetti and Leonidas Kavakos and concerts at Kölner Philharmonie, La Coursive (La Rochelle, France), Musikfest Bremen, Sommets musicaux de Gstaad (Switzerland), Rheingau Festival (Wiesbaden, Germany) and Heidelberger Frühling Festival (Germany).


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