Kabilan Raviraj

Psappha 2020/21 Concert Season

Johnny James, Music Editor

Psappha’s 2020–21 season explores the sharpest and smartest sounds in contemporary classical music, presented in (socially-distanced) concert at Hallé St Peter’s and streamed online for free.

The season begins with 3×3 – three concerts of cutting-edge music for scaled-back ensembles of three musicians. Following 1st October’s excellent String Theories comes November’s New Traditions, which will feature truly unique works by Luciano Berio and Helmut Lachenmann alongside a world premiere by Clare Elton. December’s Got Rhythm, meanwhile, will feature Harrison Birtwistle’s typically uncompromising Axe Manual plus two arresting pieces by Kate Whitley and Gordon McPherson.

The second half of the season sees another three-concert series, In Focus, which spotlights instruments not often heard in a concert hall context. For February’s Music for Sitar, Psappha will be joined by sitar virtuoso Jasdeep Singh Degun. Music for Cimbalom, meanwhile, will see Psappha’s own Tim Williams take centre stage, showcasing a singular instrument within the dulcimer family. Closing this mini-series, Music for Accordion will feature world-class accordionist Miloš Milivojević, who will guide us through a variety of music written for this unexpectedly versatile instrument.

Capping off Psappha’s 2020–21 season is Black Milk, a concert in which the ensemble will present the world premiere of a major new work by one of this country’s greatest living composers, Mark-Anthony Turnage. We’ll also be treated to a chamber group classic by Alban Berg and two works by young composers written for Psappha’s Composing For project.

Here are our picks