Across Manchester and the North, classical music is thriving. There are a number of venues whose classical offering rivals that of any in the country. To name a few, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, The Stoller Hall and the Royal Northern College of Music play host to hundreds of wonderful concerts each year. Also featuring opera and jazz, their programmes draw in a wide range of listeners.
Performing over 100 concerts a year for broadcast on BBC Radio 3, The BBC Philharmonic is a tour de force across Manchester and its neighbouring cities. Equally, The Hallé ranks among the UK’s top symphonic ensembles. Famed for its innovation, Manchester Camerata’s orchestra also celebrates a spectrum of music, and its smaller ensemble pops up in venues ranging from care homes to Northern Quarter bars.
Speaking of smaller ensembles, Manchester Collective is an electrifying new addition to the UK music scene, offering intimate and immersive concerts which aim to break down the barrier between performers and audience. In 2017 they were named The Stoller Hall’s ‘Ensemble in Residence’. Equally adventurous, Psappha is a music ensemble specialising in the performance of works by living composers. They are committed to showcasing the best in contemporary classical music.
Read about all of this and much more in the guide below, in which we preview upcoming events that promise to inspire. Also covering opera and jazz, this guide aims to showcase the very best in classical music in the north.
Here are our picks
The sound of jazz floats across the city for ten days in July, as Manchester Jazz Festival hosts performances across the city, with the central hub in Albert Square brimming with live music until late, street food and, of course, alcohol.
Dmitry Shostakovich lived much of his enigmatic life in the shadow of Stalinist Russia – and turbulence in his homeland led him to keep his magnificent, Mahlerian Fourth Symphony under wraps until Stalin’s death. Before it, conductor Mark Wigglesworth is joined by British baritone Roderick Williams for some of Mahler’s most romantic songs.
A previous winner of both the BBC Young Musician and BBC Young Composer of the Year awards, Mark Simpson is both the soloist and composer of tonight’s world premiere – his Clarinet Concerto. Either side, leading British soprano Elizabeth Watts joins the BBC Philharmonic for three Mozart arias and Mahler’s majestic Fourth Symphony.
One of the UK’s leading arts events, Buxton International Festival is a summertime celebration of opera, music and books. This year’s highlights include the world premiere of a specially-commissioned opera pasticcio, a concert by enchanting vocal group Voces8, and a talk by Nobel Prize-winner Sir Venki Ramakrishnan which will resolve an ancient mystery at the heart of life itself.
BBC Philharmonic and Manchester International Festival mark the 200th anniversary of Peterloo with a world premiere of a major new piece by composer Emily Howard and writer Michael Symmons Roberts. This commission is two-part with ANU presenting an interactive theatrical response on the same day.
The Bridgewater Hall, Lower Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 3WS - Visit now
Home to the Hallé and the BBC Philharmonic orchestras, the Bridgewater Hall attracts some of the biggest names in classical music. Purpose-built to the tune of £42m, the hall was designed around its acoustic needs; it floats on 280 earthquake-proof isolations springs that mute all external noise, perfect for shielding around 250 performances a year from the trams outside.