The Academy’s entire Autumn season of over 60 concerts will be livestreamed and available for free on the Academy’s YouTube channel and website from 25 September 2020.
Highlights include: Edward Gardner and John Wilson conducting the Academy Symphony Orchestra, concerts from the ‘Bach the European’ series and the Autumn Piano Festival celebrating Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, as well as opera, jazz, musical theatre, instrumental and contemporary music concerts.
The Academy’s Principal, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, said:
‘Performing to audiences lies at the heart of what we do at the Academy. While there’s no substitute for playing in the presence of an audience, we are very excited by the possibilities offered by livestreaming. We have always prided ourselves on being a global community of musicians, and so the opportunity to reach old and new audiences with a more ambitious programme of online content than ever is a thrilling prospect.
‘While we are very much looking forward to welcoming audiences back into our building, we are using this as an opportunity to adapt, learn, and develop new ways of working that will see us emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever.’
Repertoire and ensembles for the season have been carefully planned with the current social distancing guidelines in mind, and will open award-winning Academy spaces, including the Duke’s Hall, Angela Burgess Recital Hall and Susie Sainsbury Theatre, to new audiences worldwide.
The livestream season builds on the hugely successful #RAMplaysON social media campaign, in which staff, students and alumni shared performances during lockdown. #RAMplaysON has reached over five million people with over 1,000 contributions on Instagram alone.
Following each livestream, performances will be available online for one month. The full season will be listed on our website at ram.ac.uk/events from 1 September. Here are the highlights:
Academy Symphony Orchestra
- John Wilson conducts two contrasting mid-20th century works: Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto and Strauss’s Metamorphosen (23 Oct).
- Sir Charles Mackerras Chair of Conducting, Edward Gardner leads the Academy Symphony Orchestra in a contemporary programme featuring John Adams’s Chamber Symphony, Harrison Birtwistle’s In Broken Images, and Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No 1 (27 Nov).
‘Bach the European’ series
- Rachel Podger directs a programme that examines Bach alongside his contemporaries from Central Europe, showcasing his Widerstehe doch der Sünde cantata alongside music by Zelenka and Muffat. Special guest Laurence Cummings joins on harpsichord for Brandenburg Concerto No 5 (4 Oct).
- Students perform an all Bach programme, conducted by The Sixteen’s Eamonn Dougan, which features two cantatas composed in the mid-1720s: Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats and Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder (1 Nov).
Autumn Piano Festival
- Curated by the Academy’s Head of Piano, Joanna MacGregor CBE, the festival marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, beginning with chamber recitals from the Angela Burgess Recital Hall. The day concludes at the Duke’s Hall with a concert of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in D ‘Pastorale’, Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé Suite No 2 arranged by Roques and Tansy Davies’s Nature (13 Oct).
Royal Academy Opera
- Sian Edwards leads a socially distanced production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Christopher Luscombe, known for his recent operatic successes and a specialist in Shakespeare (21 and 22 Nov).
Academy Big Band
- Academy Fellow and saxophone professor, jazz legend Stan Sulzmann, leads the Big Band in a concert featuring his latest compositions, including brand new works composed during lockdown (6 Oct).
- The Big Band perform a concert of hits from the Duke’s Hall, full programme to be announced (12 Nov).
Musical Theatre Company
- Our Musical Theatre students present their winter show of scenes, songs and celebrated musical numbers, full programme to be announced (29 Nov).
- Opening the Autumn season, the Sainsbury Royal Academy Soloists, directed by Clio Gould, perform the world premiere of a new work by Nuno da Rocha in a string concert featuring music by Britten and Shostakovich (25 Sept).
- We mark the 60th birthday of British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage in a day of celebrations that begins with the composer in conversation with broadcaster Paul Morley, followed by a concert from the Academy Manson Ensemble conducted by Christopher Austin. This performance from the Duke’s Hall features Turnage’s Release, Eulogy and Kai and the world premiere of The Beauty of Decay by Grace-Evangeline Mason (30 Oct).
- In the Autumn season our students will perform over 30 world premieres from our 200 Pieces series of new compositions written to celebrate our Bicentenary in 2022. These include new solo works by Jō Kondō, Julian Anderson and Charlotte Bray, and a diverse range of instruments including bassoon, cello, trombone, accordion and organ.
Septura: Ensemble in Residence
- Leading brass group Septura, the Academy’s Ensemble in Residence, perform alongside brass students in a programme of Gabrieli and arrangements of 20th century pieces by Finzi, Prokofiev and Ravel. The concert showcases a new work by composer Lucy Callen (13 Nov).
Academy Chamber Orchestra
- Principal Guest Conductor of the Academy Chamber Orchestra, Trevor Pinnock, leads students in a performance of Mozart’s Symphony No 39 in E flat and Haydn’s Symphony No 83 in G minor. Our last livestream with Pinnock conducting Mozart’s ‘Jupiter’ Symphony received over 50,000 views (6 Nov).