 Season opens tonight [13 Sep] with star-studded Britten gala, streamed live on Wigmore Hall’s website – the first concert in a season-long celebration of Britten covering all of the composer’s song cycles for voice and piano.

 Season continues tomorrow with a ten-concert Beethoven Festival Weekend – all audio live streamed – launching Wigmore Hall’s Beethoven 250 celebrations, a comprehensive season-long survey including complete cycles by artists including piano sonatas with Jonathan Biss, violin sonatas with James Ehnes, string quartets with the Belcea Quartet, and cello sonatas with Miklós Perényi & Dénes Várjon.

 Other season highlights include focuses on Brahms, Britten, and Bach; a major centenary tribute to Mieczysław Weinberg, including the first year of a full cycle of his 17 quartets; a day of Mahler Lieder, a day of Haydn with Roman Rabinovich, plus the complete Haydn Opus 20 Quartets in one evening with the St Lawrence String Quartet

 Composer in Residence for 2019/20 is Vijay Iyer, New York-based pianist, composer, bandleader, producer and Harvard professor, plus a spotlight on the music of Rebecca Clarke as well as on new works by Freya Waley-Cohen

 Artists in Residence include Belcea Quartet; Kristian Bezuidenhout; Jonathan Biss; Castalian String Quartet; Allan Clayton; Michael Collins; Iestyn Davies; James Ehnes; Ensemble Marsyas; Mahan Esfahani; Angela Hewitt; Stephen Hough; Christiane Karg; L’Arpeggiata; Elisabeth Leonskaja; Mark Padmore, Miklós Perényi & Dénes Várjon; Jonathan Plowright; Rachel Podger; Quatuor Danel; Sir András Schiff; Cédric Tiberghien; Vienna Piano Trio

 25,000 tickets available for younger audience members through Wigmore Hall’s Under 35s Scheme, in partnership with Classic FM

 More streaming of concerts than ever before with almost all Beethoven programming to be made available live and in perpetuity as part of Beethoven 250 and much more

As John Gilhooly’s programming for 2019/20 again affirms, the spirit of Wigmore Hall is exemplified by both continuity and renewal: artists who have enjoyed decades of association with the Hall and artists it has nurtured into the primes of their careers; the indispensable composers of the past and the innovators and improvisers of today; participatory projects for both older people and children; the irreplaceable immediacy of live concerts and their accessibility through digital platforms, bringing them to ever wider audiences via Wigmore Hall’s own streaming service or via partners including the BBC.

John Gilhooly, the Hall’s Artistic & Executive Director said: ‘It is a great privilege to be entrusted with the artistic planning of Wigmore Hall. The 2019/20 Season adheres to our core beliefs – that music changes lives and that we all have a duty to expand audiences, nurture young artistic talent and provide a home for the great artists of our time. Through performances in the Hall, recordings, live-streams and a host of projects with local communities, Wigmore Hall fulfils its passion for bringing great music and artists to as many people as possible, wherever they might be. That would not be possible without our supporters, and I would like to thank them personally for their continued commitment to the Hall.’

September highlights include:

 Opening gala concert to launch the season and the Britten Series, sees four leading singers exploring Britten’s extraordinary range as a song composer, with song cycles dating between 1937 and 1965, which take in poets such as Robert Burns and WH Auden, as well as Italian visual artist Michelangelo (13 September 2019, 7.30pm).

 Ten concerts over two days start the season-long Beethoven 250 celebrations, leading artists take part in the wide-ranging Beethoven Festival Opening Weekend. It includes: o Steven Isserlis and Robert Levin (on fortepiano) opening the Festival Weekend, performing Beethoven cello sonatas and variations (14 September, 11.30am). o The innovative O/Modernt chamber ensemble, directed from the violin by Hugo Ticciati, performs with guest artists over the weekend exploring Beethoven’s convalescence from illness (in his Heiliger Dankgesang), his immortal beloved, and also the influence Beethoven had on Brahms and composers stretching into the 20 th century. (14 September, 2.00pm and 4.30pm; 15 September, 4.30pm).

o A varied programme of Beethoven’s works conceived for unusual combinations of instruments presented by prominent musicians including Michael Collins (clarinet), Janne Thomson (flute), Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Amy Harman (bassoon), Alec Frank- Gemmil (horn), Benjamin Baker (violin), Timothy Ridout (viola), Isang Enders (cello), Jordi Carrasco-Hjelm (double bass) and Aleksander Madžar (piano) (15 September, 7.00pm).

o A late-evening performance to close the weekend by Elisabeth Leonskaja, widely regarded as one of the finest Beethoven interpreters, playing the composer’s final three piano sonatas (15 September, 10.00pm).

 Countertenor Iestyn Davies marks his 40th birthday at Wigmore Hall with his long-term colleagues The English Concert, surveying concertos by Handel. Davies includes arias from L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, commonly interspersed with the concerti, and from Handel’s sole Venetian opera, Agrippina (16 September, 7.30pm).

 Clarinettist Michael Collins begins his Wigmore Hall residency, collaborating with German cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and Irish pianist Michael McHale for a concert offering Beethoven’s early Clarinet Trio and a rarity by Carl Frühling. He precedes his opening concert with a discussion of the evening’s programme (23 September, 7.30pm).  English-American violist and composer Rebecca Clarke is the focus of a programme in which soprano Ailish Tynan, cellist Raphael Wallfisch and pianist John York champion her output alongside those of her younger contemporaries Lili Boulanger and Muriel Herbert, and a piece by Ernst Bloch (25 September, 7.30pm).

 Pianist and Beethoven scholar Jonathan Biss embarks on his complete Beethoven cycle of piano sonatas and extra insight events for audiences, beginning with a discussion of his celebrated Beethoven Coursera lectures on the Piano Sonatas. The following evening he traverses the first decade of Beethoven’s career as a composer of piano sonatas, from his earliest canonical work in the form (composed in 1793-5 and published the following year) to the expansive sonata written in 1803-4 and dedicated to Count Ferdinand von Waldstein (28 September, 3.00pm and 29 September, 7.30pm).


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