Classical music in Manchester and Northern cities is thriving. Breaking boundaries and reaching new audiences, the classical music scene has had a real shake up. We preview the standout classical venues and events from across Manchester and the North.
Here are our picks
The BBC Philharmonic opens its new season with a real Italian job, featuring two works influenced by and written in Italy: William Walton’s rhapsodic Cello Concerto, inspired by the postcard-perfect island of Ischia, and Sibelius’s magnificent Second Symphony. To open, Respighi’s cherished tribute to the Eternal City.
A stellar cast of singers joins conductor Omer Meir Wellber, who makes his Bridgewater Hall debut with a concert performance of the first act of Wagner’s mighty Die Walküre. Tonight’s programme also features Mozart’s dazzling ‘Linz’ Symphony, written in just four days for a wealthy Austrian count.
Stravinsky’s homage to his teacher, Russian composer Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, went missing after its 1909 premiere – but it was recently rediscovered, and will be performed in Manchester for the very first time tonight. Following Carolin Widmann’s performance of Mendelssohn’s much-loved E minor Violin Concerto, it’s back to Russia for Tchaikovsky’s dramatic Fifth Symphony.
One of modern music’s most daring and brilliant voices, Kaija Saariaho will be joining us in person for this concert featuring two of her compositions, both written in the last decade. The first half of the programme is dedicated to another superb orchestral colourist: Hector Berlioz.
Modern and contemporary music specialist The Ligeti Quartet presents a one-off concert in Sheffield, featuring two of the 20th Century’s masterpieces: Steve Reich’s Grammy Award-winning Different Trains and George Crumb’s iconic Black Angels. With a diverse programme of works by John Adams, John Zorn and Tanya Tagaq completing the programme, this looks set to be an exciting and unique evening at The Leadmill.
Two years after winning BBC Young Musician, Sheku Kanneh-Mason makes his Bridgewater Hall debut with perhaps the greatest cello concerto of all: Elgar’s reflection on the First World War, performed tonight to mark this month’s centenary of the Armistice. Also this evening, a wartime suite from Ravel and a thrilling ballet by Stravinsky.
This new audiovisual work marks 100 years of votes for women with live video, electronic and acoustic music and Chetham’s Chamber Choir. The concert also features a discussion of the making of Carpe Vitam, plus The Pankhurst Anthem – based on words by Emmeline Pankhurst – and other vocal works, performed by the choir.
To mark 100 years since the Armistice, the BBC Philharmonic reflects on war. Following a work by Rudi Stephan, who died on the Eastern Front, there’s Herbert Howells’s tribute to a fellow composer killed at war, Walton’s haunting Viola Concerto and Shostakovich’s Ninth, written as the Second World War drew to a close.
In the mountain range of piano concertos, Rachmaninov’s Third is the Everest – intense and immense, technically demanding and emotionally overpowering. Few pianists prove equal to the task – but, as his acclaimed performance of the work at the BBC Proms last year made clear, Alexander Gavrylyuk is more than a match for it.
Neil Brand’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ festive classic gives it a dark and atmospheric twist – helped along by Chester Philharmonic Orchestra, Manchester Chamber Choir and actors from Manchester School of Theatre. The leading role of Ebenezer Scrooge is played by Timothy West for this one-off staging.
The BBC Philharmonic, in association with The Bridgewater Hall, presents a very special event marrying sound with vision, bringing classic works by two of the 20th century’s greatest composers to vivid musical and cinematic life.
One of the country’s most acclaimed and recognised trios performs Shostakovich’s Second Piano Trio and Sally Beamish’s Piobaireachd for this visit to The Stoller Hall. The group will also be joined by regular collaborator, clarinettist Robert Plane, for the North West premiere of a new work by Huw Watkins – with the programme completed by Plane’s performance of Boulez’s Dialogue de l’ombre double – accompanied by taped electronics.
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.