Courtesy of Joel Chester Fildes

The Hallé Winter Season 2020/21

Johnny James, Music Editor

We are delighted to welcome the Hallé back to the stage for a Winter Season packed with world premieres, Manchester originals, the familiar and the new.

Broadcasting from The Bridgewater Hall and Hallé St Peter’s, nine unique concerts will be streamed in high quality for you to enjoy at home, at your leisure. These will include interviews with conductors, artists and members of the orchestra, who will offer insights into the magnificent music being performed.

The season will open in fittingly celebratory style. Conducted by Sir Mark Elder, the Hallé will perform two glorious works by Wagner and Brahms, and give the world premiere of Fanfare for the Hallé, written especially for the orchestra by Huw Watkins.

The second concert will find the orchestra in a more pensive mood, with a programme that reflects on the poignancy and fragility of human life. Alongside works by Benjamin Britten, Arvo Pärt and Richard Strauss, we’ll hear George Butterworth’s Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad sung by one of this country’s finest baritones, Roderick Williams.

Concert number three will feature poet laureate Simon Armitage, virtuoso saxophonist Jess Gillam and Former Hallé Assistant Conductor Jonathon Heyward. We’ll hear a world premiere by Hannah Kendell, Glazunov’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone and a reading of Armitage’s poem The Event Horizon, which is set in steel at the entrance to the Hallé St Peter’s auditorium.

Then it’s time to settle in for movie night, with Stephen Bell celebrating classical music on the silver screen. Presented by the BBC’s Petroc Trelawny, this concert of Movie Classics includes – amongst many others – Elgar’s Nimrod, Verdi’s The Force of Destiny Overture and Offenbach’s raucous Can-Can from Orpheus in the Underworld.

Next, under the baton of Sir Mark Elder, the Hallé will be joined by virtuoso pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason for Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, which we’ll hear performed alongside a key early work by Richard Strauss and Sibelius’s magnificent Third Symphony.

Paul Lewis, one of the country’s most distinguished artists, directs the following concert from the piano. Featuring a dazzling programme of Mozart and Stravinsky, the programme features Mozart’s early yet astonishingly mature Piano Concerto No.12 and Stravinsky’s bright and sunny Concerto in D.

Under the baton of new Assistant Conductor, Delyana Lazarova, the Hallé will then present Shostakovich’s Dazzling First, 70 years after the orchestra gave the work its UK premiere under Sir Hamilton Harty. It features alongside Aaron Copland’s greatest ballet score, Appalachian Spring, and Grace Bacewicz’ Overture which, composed in a time of fear during the Second World War, blazes with defiance and courage.

Trail-blazing Hallé will feature Debussy’s evergreen dreamscape Prélude à l’apres-midi d’un faune, followed by Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, for which the Hallé will be joined by globally lauded pianist Stephen Hough. We’ll also hear a very exciting world premiere by Huw Watkins: his Second Symphony.

The close of the Hallé’s Winter Season will be marked with a very special event. Sir Mark Elder will conduct a staged performance of Stravinsky’s 1918 masterpiece The Soldier’s Taledirected by Olivier Award-winner Annabel Arden, who is celebrated internationally for her insightful operatic productions.

All nine concerts in the season will be streamed on Vimeo at thehalle.vhx.tv, and tickets can be purchased via the Hallé’s website. You can either book tickets for individual concerts, or book a subscription for the season at a discounted price. Every concert comes with a free digital programme, for additional insights in the music being performed.

Here are our picks

  • 1. The Hallé – Movie Classics

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Movie Classics, online, Until 11 May 2021, from £5 - Book now

    Presented by the BBC’s Petroc Trelawny and conducted by Stephen Bell, the Hallé celebrates classical music on the silver screen.

  • 2. The Hallé – Sibelius’s Third Symphony

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Sibelius's Third Symphony, online, Until 18 June 2021, from £5 - Book now

    The Hallé is joined by virtuoso pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason for Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, presented alongside Sibelius’s magnificent Third Symphony.

  • 3. The Hallé – Paul Lewis performs Mozart

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Paul Lewis performs Mozart, online, Until 25 June 2021, from £5 - Book now

    Broadcasting from Hallé St Peter’s, The Hallé will be joined by Paul Lewis, one of the country’s most distinguished artists, for a dazzling programme in which he directs from the piano.

  • 4. The Hallé – Shostakovich’s Dazzling First

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Shostakovich's Dazzling First, online, Until 1 July 2021, from £5 - Book now

    The Hallé performs a varied programme of Grazyna Bacewicz, Aaron Copland and Dmitri Shostakovich under the baton of new Assistant Conductor, Delyana Lazarova.

  • 5. The Hallé – Trail-blazing Hallé

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Trail-blazing Hallé, online, Until 15 July 2021, from £5 - Book now

    The Hallé is joined by virtuoso pianist Stephen Hough for Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, before the world premiere of Huw Watkins’ Second Symphony.

  • 6. The Hallé – Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, online, 29 April–29 July 2021, from £5 - Book now

    Sir Mark Elder conducts a staged performance of Stravinsky’s 1918 masterpiece The Soldier’s Tale, directed by Olivier Award winner Annabel Arden.