The LCO launches its 2014/15 season with Chopin’s evergreen First Piano Concerto. And who better to perform it than the young Austrian pianist Ingolf Wunder (making his UK concerto debut), who carried off the coveted Concerto Prize at the 2010 International Chopin Competition with this very work. The concert opens with Orawa – a lively folk-influenced work by another Polish composer, Wojciech Kilar, best known for film scores such as The Pianist and Dracula. Completing the programme is Dvořák’s joyful Eighth Symphony, which revels in the folk tunes of the composer’s Bohemian homeland.
At the heart of Ashkenazy’s passionate programme lies Elgar’s searing Cello Concerto; written in the aftermath of the First World War, it’s a potent elegy for a lost age. Making his UK concerto debut is the astounding Russian cellist Alexey Stadler.
Like Shostakovich, Ashkenazy experienced life as an artist in the Soviet Union. Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony is an orchestration of his intense Eighth Quartet, written at white heat and dedicated to ‘the victims of fascism and war’.
Sibelius’s Rakastava (The Lover) is a real rarity but no less compelling for all that, abounding in atmosphere.
The iconic Maria João Pires returns to the LCO with one of her favourite concertos – Beethoven’s Fourth.
An ardent nurturer of young talent, Pires has recently launched the Partitura Project – bringing together artists of different generations. As part of the project’s inaugural season, the Armenian Ashot Khachatourian plays Mozart’s carefree Concert Rondo, K.386.
Beethoven knew his Seventh Symphony was special – even by his standards! So did Wagner when he described its irrepressible last movement as the “apotheosis of the dance”.
Concert supported by The David and Claudia Harding Foundation
Initiated by Maria João Pires, the aim of the Partitura Project is to create an altruistic dynamic between artists of different generations and to offer an alternative in a world too often focused on competitiveness. Read more here: http://musicchapel.org/partitura-2/
One of the world’s great musical multi-taskers, the charismatic Jörg Widmann is renowned as a composer, clarinet soloist and conductor. He takes on all three roles in this concert, which features music by another multi-talented musician, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
We open with Widmann conducting the London premiere of his Ikarische Klage – Icarus’s Lament – the ultimate cautionary tale of ambition outstripping ability.
Widmann then turns soloist in Mozart’s sublime Clarinet Concerto, and ends the evening conducting the LCO in Mozart’s ebulliently life- affirming final symphony, the “Jupiter”.
Had the First World War never happened, how different the 20th century musical landscape would have looked. Composers George Butterworth, Cecil Coles and Frederick Septimus Kelly were all killed in action on the battlefields of the Somme. Tonight they’re reunited, with a work by each of them presented as a single, three-movement symphony. Complementing this is the world premiere of a new commission by Duncan Chapman, performed by the LCO and Music Junction Participants, based on the theme of ‘transformation’.
As the battles were raging on the Somme, the Finn Jean Sibelius was struggling with his own demons – alcoholism and depression – while working on his glorious Fifth Symphony, a piece that threw away the rulebook and marked a new beginning in musical history.
Concert supported by MariaMarina Foundation
Music at Queen Mary University of London invites you to explore rare and lesser-known Twentieth Century masterworks of passionate intensity, and to delve deeper into the world of composition and performance.
This multi-dimensional event brings together members of the London Chamber Orchestra and Queen Mary University of London’s Centre for Digital Music, one of the leading music research centres of its kind in the world.
The audience can choose to explore between Arno Babajanian’s romantically pulsating piano trio of 1952, a talk and/or related film. In the second half the audiences come together to hear members of the London Chamber Orchestra with pianist Karim Said in romantic works of Twentieth Century Vienna. The concert ends with Schoenberg’s dramatic portrayal of Napoleon Bonaparte using Byron’s text.
More details to follow.
Booking will open in September.
Part of Inside Out Festival: http://www.insideoutfestival.org.uk/2015/
Schoenberg’s Ode is nothing less than a personal stand against tyranny. It sets a poem written by Lord Byron in 1814, just days after hearing that Napoleon had surrendered his empire gone into exile on the island of Elba. Just as Byron had supported Greece’s struggle for independence, so Schoenberg, exiled in America during the Second World War, wanted to show his allegiance with Europe’s struggles against Hitler.
This is a free, ticketed concert prior to the main LCO concert at 8pm.
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony was written during the bombardment and later occupation of Vienna by Napoleon’s troops; its iconic opening theme representing “fate knocking at the door”. The Fifth Piano Concerto’s nickname of ‘Emperor’ wasn’t Beethoven’s own, yet it quickly caught on, thanks to the work’s heroic and lofty writing. Performing the concerto is Yevgeny Sudbin, hailed by The Telegraph as “one of the greatest pianists of the 21st century”.
In late November, LCO embark on a four day tour of Hong Kong, as part of Musicus Society’s Musicus Fest 2015. Christopher Warren-Green and LCO musicians are joined by Musicus Artistic Director and acclaimed cellist, Trey Lee, in a programme that sees both concert performances and education work. The festival culminates in a final concert performance on the 29th November, with two double concertos in one afternoon: Vivaldi’s Double Cello Concerto, featuring Trey Lee and Elena Cheah, and Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin and Piano by Dong-Suk Kang and Colleen Lee. The programme concludes with a Mozart masterpiece – the much-loved Symphony No. 41, Jupiter.
We’re delighted to announce that LCO’s concert with Alison Balsom will be also performed as part of Saffron Hall’s 2015-16 Season.
Possessing an extraordinarily brilliant technique, a luminous stage presence, and deeply-felt musicality, Alison Balsom has done more than anyone in recent years to demonstrate the trumpet’s popularity as a solo instrument. In this concert Balsom (Gramophone Artist of the Year 2013) explores the grandeur of baroque music. In addition to a work originally written for trumpet by Tartini, she includes arrangements of two lively and popular concertos by Albinoni and Vivaldi. She is accompanied by a superb orchestra with which she has a particularly warm and close relationship.
Alison Balsom is one of those artists who transcends musical boundaries. She also has a keen appetite for exploration and, though the repertoire for the trumpet is not exactly lavish, that certainly doesn’t hold her back. In her inimitable way she has begged, borrowed and stolen music for tonight’s concert, in which she plays and directs, including a vibrant oboe concerto by Albinoni and a triple violin concerto by that irrepressible master of the genre, Vivaldi. And who worries about a little light-fingered behaviour when the results are so scintillating? This concert looks set to be the ultimate winter warmer.
Cherubini and Napoleon crossed paths in Vienna in 1805: the composer had gone there on a visit (meeting Beethoven, who was a great admirer), whereas Napoleon occupied it. In the Overture to ‘Médée’ Cherubini vividly sets the scene for the tragic and bloody tale of Medea. Beethoven wrote his sole Violin Concerto the following year. Initially met with incomprehension, it was revived after Beethoven’s death by a certain Felix Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn described his ‘Italian’ Symphony as “the jolliest piece I have ever done” – not a bad summation for a work that seems to have absorbed the light and energy of a country that bewitched the composer. Making their LCO debut are the gifted American violinist Benjamin Beilman, who was last year a recipient of the prestigious Borletti-Buitoni trust fellowship, and the Italian Riccardo Minasi – himself an accomplished violinist as well as a specialist in period performance.
Napoleon was a regular opera-goer and an admirer of Italian vocal music in particular. He was impressed by Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and famously described The Marriage of Figaro as “the Revolution in action”. Beethoven was vehemently opposed to repression of any kind. He initially dedicated his Third Symphony to Napoleon, whom he saw as a great hero and an upholder of democracy. But when he heard that Napoleon had declared himself Emperor, he angrily scratched out the dedication. The concert opens with ‘La Reine’, one of Haydn’s Paris Symphonies and a favourite of the ill-fated Marie Antoinette.
All ticket holders are invited to join a free Q&A at 18:30 in the main hall with LCO Music Director Christopher Warren-Green, composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad and LCO Education and Outreach Artistic Director Rosemary Warren-Green, ahead of the world premiere of “I Am You, Brave and Strong” at Cadogan Hall that LCO will perform next month on the 6th May. Please note there is no reserved seating for this event.
The final concert of the season features a world premiere in which LCO is joined by participants from Music Junction, the orchestra’s groundbreaking community and outreach programme. Beethoven’s Overture was written for a play by Goethe commemorating the heroic deeds of Count Egmont in his struggle against tyranny; and it’s easy to hear how Haydn’s ‘Military’ Symphony got its nickname, its second movement evoking, according to one reviewer, “the hellish roar of war”. We begin with a real rarity – an overture by Beethoven’s contemporary, Charles-Simon Catel, a popular figure in his time and the go-to composer when rousing military music was needed for state ceremonies.
Free early concert at 7pm in the Main Hall: LCO soloists perform excerpts from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream arranged for string quartet.
“Chamayou’s musically insightful, technically flawless playing can be confused with no-one else’s.” International Record Review, May 2014
What links Mendelssohn and Walton? A love of Shakespeare, whose 400th anniversary falls in 2016. Mendelssohn’s enthusiasm found voice with his overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, written when he was just 16. As a mature composer he returned to the play and added further numbers that recapture his youthful style with uncanny ease.
Similarly bucolic – and demanding the utmost dexterity from pianists – is Mendelssohn’s First Piano Concerto, which channels the spirit of Mozart to entirely personal effect. Walton’s music for Henry V perfectly complements Laurence Olivier’s 1944 film, but it was Christopher Palmer who developed an extended version that melds music and dialogue, bringing the drama fully alive.
Tickets: £40, £30, £20, £10
Haydn famously claimed that he was so cut off by his long tenure at the Esterházy family’s estate in rural Hungary that he was ‘forced to become original’. The ‘Farewell’ Symphony was the composer’s subtle plea to his employer to let the orchestra return home to their families, and perhaps it was the sheer quality of the music that persuaded the Prince to release his orchestra. We find Haydn in far more upbeat mood in the First Cello Concerto.
Unlike Haydn, Beethoven never tied himself to a single patron. His Eighth Symphony is one of his most delightful works, one that the great writer and polemicist George Bernard Shaw dared to declare ‘better than the Seventh’.
Tickets: £40, £30, £20, £10
From early in his career, Beethoven made the piano trio very much his own. The youthful ‘Kakadu’ variations show his genius for taking a banal melody and sending it up with a sequence of brilliant variations.
Beethoven took things a stage further when he set a piano trio against an orchestra in his Triple Concerto. Written a couple of years later, Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony finds him at his most delectably Haydnesque.
Tickets: £40, £30, £20, £10
Concert supported by MariaMarina Foundation
The Shaker movement, with its ethos of hard work combined with an ecstatic form of worship, inspired John Adams’ early minimalist masterpiece Shaker Loops. And Copland uses the famous Shaker hymn ‘Simple Gifts’ in Appalachian Spring, his wartime ballet which heralded a new simplicity and directness of style.
‘Simple Gifts’ also forms the starting point for Paul Edlin’s new work, which will be performed by the young participants of the Music Junction scheme. The soloists in Shostakovich’s outlandishly ebullient First Piano Concerto are also strikingly youthful: the hugely gifted teenagers Daniel Karitonov and Lucienne Renaudin-Vary.
Concert supported by The David and Claudia Harding Foundation
“The Sibelius Violin Concerto is often played, but never quite like this! Kuusisto launched into the music with a straightforward intensity that had listeners leaning forward in their seats.” – Seattle Times, March 2015
Sibelius and Elgar both derived inspiration from their immediate surroundings. Sibelius’s Violin Concerto is imbued with the craggy landscapes of his beloved Finland, while Elgar quotes a Welsh song he’d heard on holiday within his Introduction and Allegro, in which a string quartet is pitted against a string orchestra.
The Bard is the briefest and most perhaps most elusive of Sibelius’s tone-poems, relying on the prominent use of a harp to suggest ancient story-telling. Elgar’s Enigma Variations is rather more specific, nothing less than a series of character sketches depicting the composer’s friends.
Tickets: £40, £30, £20, £10
LCO launches a season of emotions at Cadogan Hall – five concerts exploring human nature and the feelings that sit within us all. The season begins with a musical relationship so twisted with bitterness and envy it ended with one poisoning the other. That’s the myth behind Mozart and Salieri. Is it true? Probably not, but it’s an excellent reason to play this forgotten gem by Salieri alongside Mozart’s timeless, mysterious, revelatory Requiem.
Salieri Symphony in D, Il giorno onomastico
Tickets from £10
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Our ‘season of emotions’ continues with Wanderlust.
Hear the idyllic English countryside in Vaughan William’s Fantasia inspired by Tudor composer Thomas Tallis. Meet a determined traveller from poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson in Songs of Travel. Then experience Dvorak’s great musical love letter to his adopted country, dotted with memories of home.
Tickets from £10.
Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Vaughan Williams Songs of Travel
Dvořák Symphony No. 9, From the New World
Vladimir Ashkenazy conductor
Derek Welton bass-baritone
A Brief History of Emotions
Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Road
Members of the London Chamber Orchestra together with Dr Elena Carrerra, Co-Director of QMUL’s Centre for the History of Emotions, create a path that comes from the beginning of XIX Century to the present day to explain through aesthetic concepts the different ways to express the emotions. From the Empfindsamkeit Music (sensitive style) to postmodernism, this will be an amazing way to explore history of music through the way of perceiving music. Music by Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Ravel, Messiaen and the world premiere of a new work by QMUL’s Composer in Residence, Edward Nesbit.
Tickets available from early January.
Continuing the Orchestra’s season-long journey through emotions in music, it explores the empathy between three great Austrian composers who supported and championed each other’s music.
Haydn’s own nickname for his Symphony No. 64 was Tempora mutantur (Times change) – perhaps inspired by the work’s radical slow movement which breaks musical rules for emotional effect. The good-natured Piano Concerto No. 17 by Haydn’s great friend Mozart is one of his very finest, and is performed in our concert by much-loved British pianist, Freddy Kempf.
From a slightly later era, Schubert made no secret of his love for the music of Mozart and Haydn, and his high-spirited Symphony No. 5 exudes the influence of both his earlier compatriots.
Proceeds from the concert will go to two leading children’s hospices:
Helen & Douglas House (UK) and Momiji House (Japan).
Tickets £10-40 available here
Meet Jack Coulter, artist and synesthete, and hear music through his eyes. While the Orchestra play on stage, watch Jack respond to Mendelssohn’s violin concerto live from his studio. Find out more about the LCO X Jack Coulter project here.
And the rest of the music? Britten, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and music that transports us back to a simpler time – whether it’s Britten and 17th century England, or Prokofiev’s tribute to the Classical age.
Bartók Romanian Folk Dances
Ollie Howell New Commission
Music Junction participants
Oliver Zeffman conductor
Robert Max conductor (Ollie Howell commission)
A trio of dance rhythms and catchy tunes: Bartok’s interpretation of traditional Romanian folk music, Poulenc’s uplifting Sinfonietta, and Argentinian Astor Piazzolla’s famous Libertango – a reinterpretation of his country’s quintessential dance.
Rounding off our season at Cadogan Hall, the youthful energy and enthusiasm of our Music Junction performers will be given full rein in a new commission by award-winning composer and instrumentalist Ollie Howell, mentee of the legendary Quincy Jones.
Tickets from £10.BOOK NOW
30 October 2018, 7.30pm
Mozart originally wrote this as a triple piano concerto, but later rearranged it for two pianos. Listen carefully and you can hear it – the thrill and complexity of the three parts being juggled between just two instruments. Top it all off with one of Mozart’s most popular symphonies, described by one writer as a work of ‘passion, violence, and grief’.BOOK NOW
6 February 2019, 7.30pm
What does Italian baroque music have in common with Argentinian tango? They’re both full of rhythm and dance, both have freedom to embellish and improvise. Hear the two meet as we take one of orchestral music’s most recognisable pieces – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – and reinvent it with a Latin twist, including both violin and accordion soloists.BOOK NOW
6 March 2019, 7pm
Mendelssohn himself banned his fifth symphony from being performed and wanted it destroyed. Which would be a terrible advert for it if he hadn’t been so completely, utterly, wrong. It’s a superbly crafted piece of music: grand, intellectual and remarkably human. Of Mozart’s 27 piano concertos, number 21 is probably both the most well-known and the most technically challenging. And with good reason – written on a symphonic scale, it’s bursting with tunes and opera-like wit.BOOK NOW
9 May 2019, 7.30pm
A youthful take on orchestral music: hear Prokofiev’s childhood classic, Peter and the Wolf, narrated by his own grandson, Gabriel, alongside Gabriel’s acclaimed piece for DJ and orchestra – debuted at the proms in 2011. And, of course, our outreach project Music Junction returns with participants performing a brand new piece written specially for them.BOOK NOW
13 June 2019, 7.30pm
‘Write something cheerful for a change,’ said Dvořák to his teenage pupil and future son-in-law, Josef Suk. His Serenade for Strings is the result – sunny, gentle, and overwhelmingly beautiful. Dvořák loved it.BOOK NOW
Tickets for all concerts start from just £10. If you're a student or under 18 it's just £5.
Cadogan Hall Box Office: 020 7730 4500 or book online here.