Guildhall School of Music & Drama announces autumn events season

Guildhall School of Music & Drama is pleased to welcome in-person audiences back to events this autumn with concerts, plays, opera, jazz and ResearchWorks on offer for the public to enjoy. Some events will be recorded for online broadcast via the School’s website.

Highlights:

  • American jazz drummer Peter Erskine in a week-long residency 
  • This year’s Guildhall Jazz Festival is presented in association with the EFG London Jazz Festival with guest artists such as Robert Mitchell & True Think; Larry Bartley Trio featuring Tony Kofi; and Fini Bearman, Emma Smith, Natalie Williams, Cherise, Tom Walsh and Nikki Iles
  • Guildhall Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and the Orchestra is joined later in the autumn by pianist Gabriele Strata for an all-Russian programme
  • The Plus-Minus Ensemble and Guildhall School musicians join forces for a concert as part of the Festival of Laurence Crane, celebrating the composer’s 60th birthday, his music and the music he loves. They perform a double bill of works by him and Neil Luck
  • Opera department celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Pauline Viardot, fulfilling her wish of fully orchestrating her chamber opera Cendrillon. The evening opens with Bizet’s one-act Le docteur Miracle
  • Guildhall Jazz Orchestra explore the music of Dizzy Reece, and Josephine Davies directs Guildhall Big Band celebrating individuality, life and music, featuring Davies’ own compositions 
  • Drama department presents three contrasting plays: Julius CaesarEmilia and Anna Karenina

Music

Guildhall Symphony Orchestra & Chorus: Friday 24 September, 7:30pm, Barbican Hall

Guildhall School musicians begin the new academic year with a performance of Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 2 in C minor ‘Resurrection.’ It is the perfect showcase for the combined forces of the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, reunited for the first time since the pandemic. The School is delighted to welcome back Takuo Yuasa to conduct and celebrated Guildhall alumni sopranos Giselle Allen and mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately as the soloists.

A recording of this concert will be available to watch online for free after the performance. The broadcast date will be announced in due course.

Plus-Minus Ensemble: A celebration of Laurence Crane: Friday 19 October, 7:30pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

As part of the Festival of Laurence Crane, celebrating the composer’s 60th birthday, his music and the music he loves, Plus-Minus Ensemble join Guildhall School musicians for an ambitious double bill of works by Laurence Crane and Neil Luck. They perform a variety of Crane’s music arranged for small chamber ensemble such as West Sussex Folk Material, Bobby J and Cobbled Section After Cobbled Section as well as Luck’s Real Telepaths.

Guildhall Chamber Orchestra: Wednesday 27 October, 7pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

Guildhall Chamber Orchestra is conducted by Joshua Weilerstein in a concert which includes music by William Grant, Copland and Andrzej Panufnik. Heather Brooks is the soloist for Roxanna Panufnik’s harp concerto Powers & Dominions

A recording of this concert will be available to watch online for free after the performance. The broadcast date will be announced in due course.

Guildhall Symphony Orchestra: Wednesday 17 November, 7:30pm, Barbican Hall

Guildhall Symphony Orchestra performs a programme of all-Russian works. Pianist Gabriele Strata is the soloist in Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini and the concert also includes Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9 and Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

A recording of this concert will be available to watch online for free after the performance. The broadcast date will be announced in due course.

Masterclasses

A host of prestigious artists visit Guildhall School this autumn to give masterclasses to senior students. These include Dame Imogen Cooper (piano, 4 October); Joshua Weilerstein (vocal, 5 October); Tasmin Little (violin, 25 October); Alan Stepansky (cello, 28 & 29 October). 

Opera

Le docteur Miracle
by Georges Bizet

Cendrillon
by Pauline Viardot

Opera Double Bill: Monday 1, Wednesday 3, Friday 5 and Monday 8 November, 7pm, Silk Street Theatre

Guildhall Opera department celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of the extraordinary mezzo-soprano, pianist, teacher and composer Pauline Viardot with a new staging of her chamber opera Cendrillon – the story of Cinderella

Described by Berlioz as ‘one of the greatest artists of her age,’ Cendrillon premiered in 1904 when Viardot was 83 years old. Her light-hearted retelling of the famous fairy tale blends a variety of musical colours, with sublime melodies and lush harmonies providing the perfect showcase for Guildhall opera singers. 

Originally written to be performed with piano in an intimate space, Viardot always dreamed of orchestrating Cendrillon but in the absence at the time of any hope that an orchestra would perform a work by a female composer – even as one as well-regarded and well-connected as Viardot –  she never did. This production fulfils her desire with a new chamber orchestration by Amy Crankshaw – Guildhall doctoral composer and a graduate of the School’s MA Opera Making & Writing programme, presented in association with the Royal Opera House. 

The evening opens with Bizet’s one-act Le docteur Miracle – a witty tale of romance, disguise and an omelette. Conducted by Dominic Wheeler and directed by Ashley Dean.

Two recordings of this Opera Double Bill, featuring each cast, will be available to watch online for free after the performances. Broadcast dates will be announced in due course.

Junior Guildhall

Junior Guildhall Symphony Orchestra: Saturday 4 December, 5:30pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

The outstanding young musicians of Junior Guildhall Symphony Orchestra and String Ensemble return to Milton Court Concert Hall for a performance under the baton of one of the most dynamic and exciting British conductors on the concert platform today, Julian Clayton.

Jazz

Guildhall Induction Jazz Orchestra & Jazz Choir: Wednesday 22 September, 7pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

Directors Scott Stroman and Clare Wheeler and vocalist Liz Swain join Guildhall jazz musicians for the department’s first concert of the year. The first half of the concert features smaller Jazz Ensembles performing together for the first time after two weeks working on arrangements with Guildhall singing teacher Ines Loubet and Deputy Head of Jazz Stuart Hall.

Before the concert, enjoy performances by Jazz Ensembles formed from the new musicians on the Guildhall Jazz course. These performances culminate a weeklong induction project and is the first opportunity in the academy year for the students to work with Guildhall Jazz tutors and perform together on stage (3:30pm).

A recording of this concert will be available to watch online for free after the performance. The broadcast date will be announced in due course.

Guildhall Big Band with Peter Erskine: Friday 1 October, 7pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

Guildhall School is thrilled to welcome drummer Peter Erskine for a week-long residency, passing on his expertise to Guildhall Jazz musicians, culminating in this special concert with Guildhall Big Band and director Matt Skelton.

Erskine has played the drums since the age of four and is known for his versatility and love of working in different musical contexts. He appears on 700 albums and film scores, and has won two Grammy Awards, plus an Honorary Doctorate from the Berklee School of Music (1992). 50 albums have been released under his own name or as co-leader.

Erskine has played with the Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson Big Bands, Weather Report, Steps Ahead, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Diana Krall, Kenny Wheeler, Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Brecker Brothers, The Yellowjackets, Pat Metheny and Gary Burton, John Scofield, et al. He has been voted ‘Best Jazz Drummer of the Year’ ten times by the readers of Modern Drummer magazine and was elected into the magazine’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

This concert will feature big band arrangements of the music of Weather Report and a career-spanning selection including Oliver Nelson’s Sound Piece for Orchestra, Pete Rugolo’s Artistry in Percussion, Pat Williams’ That’s Rich and Erskine originals arranged by Vince Mendoza, Bill Dobbins and Tim Hagans.

Guildhall Jazz Orchestra – Dizzier and Dizzier: Wednesday 20 October, 7pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

Guildhall Jazz Orchestra and director Scott Stroman are joined by renowned pianist Trevor Watkis and award-winning trumpeter Byron Wallen for a programme of music associated with Kingston-born trumpet player Dizzy Reece.

Described as ‘one of jazz’s best and most under-appreciated trumpeters,’ Reece left Jamaica in 1948 to settle in the UK and associated himself with leading musicians throughout the 1950s including Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott and Victor Feldman. He later moved to the United States to take up a record deal with Blue Note, for whom he recorded four albums. Throughout the rest of his career, he became known for a uniquely blistered yet warm tone on his instrument and shared the stage with Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. The first half of the performance will feature a small ensemble of Guildhall musicians performing a programme of new Dizzy Reece arrangements curated and led by Watkis and featuring Wallen on trumpet.

Guildhall Big Band with Josephine Davies: Life Through Music: Friday 5 November, 7pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

Guildhall Big Band is delighted to welcome special guest director Josephine Davies to lead a concert celebrating individuality, life and music. The first half of the performance consists of an historical survey of key figures in the world of big band including Mary Lou Williams and Melba Liston. The second half features Davies’ own compositions for big band, including a world premiere of Gaya’s Breath written in 2020 and works by musicians who influenced its composition.

Winner of the 2019 Parliamentary Award ‘Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year,’ Davies is a musical artist at the forefront of the UK contemporary music scene, pushing the boundaries of jazz. She is now equally well-known as a composer and her unique voice is a blend of classical, jazz and folk music, infused with the Nordic quality of her Shetland roots. 

Guildhall Autumn Jazz Festival: Monday 15 – Wednesday 17 November

Presented in association with the EFG London Jazz Festival

The Guildhall Autumn Jazz Festival is a three-day festival in partnership with the EFG London Jazz Festival celebrating the wealth of creativity and originality within the Guildhall Jazz community. Featuring current students and alumni, the festival will showcase emerging talent and new voices from the School’s thriving and eclectic jazz department.

Before each evening concert, enjoy free music from student combinations in Milton Court Concert Hall. Full listings available here

Robert Mitchell & True Think: Monday 15 November, 7:30pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

The band True Think is a multi-generational, multi-cultural reflection of several periods of Robert Mitchell’s journey. Pulling on jazz traditions from the deep South through to today’s European scene, hip-hop and adding in a knowledge of modern classical back to baroque. 

The Marta Gornitzka Sextet opens the concert. A current student on the Guildhall Jazz course, Gornitzka, international vocalist, here celebrates her Polish heritage presenting a set of music inspired by Polish poets, composers and songwriters of 20th century. She invites award-winning saxophonist Tom Ridout to join her in adding a modern twist to Polish classics. Imaginative and deeply rooted in jazz, this performance will take you back to discover the history, culture and art of post-war Poland.

Larry Bartley Trio featuring Tony Kofi: Tuesday 16 November, 7:30pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

The Larry Bartley Trio features pianist Bruno Heinen, and drummer/percussionist Rod Youngs, with special guest, Tony Kofi. The group made their debut at Ronnie Scott’s Club in 2016 and have since performed throughout the UK and Europe with a repertoire consisting of a mixture of original compositions written by each member of the band.

A performance by the Milena Granci Sextet opens the concert. Formed during a period of musical introspection, Granci’s project steers away from the conventional jazz aesthetic into a realm inspired by her musical influences that blend contemporary jazz, classical music and other styles. Her compositions explore sensitive, melancholic yet uplifting joyful melodies and display a wide range of musical emotions.

Spotlight on Female Songwriters, Wednesday 17 November, 7:30pm, Silk Street Music Hall

Fini Bearman, Emma Smith, Natalie Williams and Cherise explore songs by their favourite female songwriters, as well as originals. Arranged and directed by Ryan MacKenzie, with special guests Tom Walsh and Nikki Iles. A performance by ImPossibilities opens the concert – a Guildhall School band which creates a sonic amalgam of free jazz, spiritual sounds, roots and folkloric music, hip-hop, nu-soul, spoken word, groove and abstraction. 

Drama

Julius Caesar: 8 performances from Monday 18 October, Milton Court Studio Theatre

After a bloody war with Pompey, Julius Caesar returns to Rome triumphant. Celebrations commence. But while Caesar is lauded and praised by many, a sense of unease and dismay creeps in for others, and plans begin to form to bring him down. How much power is too much, for just one man? Anna Morrissey directs Shakespeare’s epic thriller, exploring what happens when political revolution, imposed authority and the will of the people collide

This production includes violent themes and contains gun shots. 

A recording of Julius Caesar will be available to watch online for free after the run. The broadcast date will be announced in due course. 

Emilia: 8 performances from Monday 18 October, Milton Court Theatre

Why was Emilia Bassano’s story erased from history? Was she the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets? 400 years ago, Emilia wanted her voice to be heard when it wasn’t. Now’s the time to stand up and be counted. Emilia and her sisters transcend centuries with passion, fury, laughter and song in this riotous reclaiming of the life of an extraordinary woman. First performed at Shakespeare’s Globe and then in London’s West End, Karen Tomlin directs Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s critically acclaimed, triple Olivier award-winning play.

Audio Described performance, for blind or visually impaired audiences: Wednesday 20 October. More information available on Guildhall School’s website.

A recording of Emilia will be available to watch online for free after the run. The broadcast date will be announced in due course. 

Anna Karenina: 7 performances from Friday 26 November, Silk Street Theatre

Families are falling apart. Rules are being broken. Chaos is imminent. Against the backdrop of 19th century Russia in the midst of extraordinary change, Anna Karenina explores the complex cost of love on the human soul. Award-winning playwright Marina Carr’s fresh and contemporary take on this classic love story is directed by Kate Wasserberg, Artistic Director of acclaimed theatre company Stockroom (previously Out of Joint).

This production contains themes and/or depictions of suicide, alcoholism, domestic violence, infant mortality and childbirth.

A recording of Anna Karenina will be available to watch online for free after the run. The broadcast date will be announced in due course.

ResearchWorks

Research at Guildhall School explores fundamental questions about the creative arts. It embraces a wide range of disciplines within music and drama including composition, performance, pedagogy, institution studies, historical musicology, music and literature studies, cultural history, electronic music, creative writing and music therapy. Throughout the year, the department runs a regular series of online ResearchWorks events that are open to all. Topics this term include Ethno Research – Understanding youth music gatherings (4 October, 6pm) and Musical Participation and Cultural Production in Diasporic Communities (11 October, 6pm) with more to be announced.

ResearchWorks events take place online and are free to book. Advance booking required.  

Tickets and more information 
For more information on Guildhall School’s autumn season and to book tickets, visit gsmd.ac.uk/autumn2021
Priority booking for Guildhall School members: Monday 9 August, 10am
Public booking: Monday 16 August, 10am

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