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.

The halfway point 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.

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 Boris Giltburg. We’ll also hear a very exciting world premiere by Huw Watkins: his Second Symphony.

Hallé Artist in Residence, Henning Kraggerud, curates the following concert. The acclaimed violinist and composer has put together a beguiling programme of works mainly by Norwegian compatriots, including his adaptation of Grieg’s Third Violin Sonata to a concerto with small orchestra, which receives its UK premiere at Hallé St Peter’s.

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.

Finally, 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.

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 – Fanfare for the Hallé

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Fanfare for the Hallé, online, Until 3 March 2021, from £5 - Book now

    The first concert in the Hallé’s Winter Season sees Sir Mark Elder conduct two glorious Romantic works plus a world premiere by Huw Watkins.

  • 2. The Hallé – Roderick Williams sings Butterworth

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Roderick Williams sings Butterworth, online, Until 10 March 2021, from £5 - Book now

    The Hallé presents a programme of works that reflect on the poignancy and fragility of human life, including George Butterworth’s Six Songs from A Shropshire Lad, sung by one of this country’s finest baritones, Roderick Williams.

  • 3. The Hallé – The Event Horizon

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - The Event Horizon, online, Until 14 April 2021, from £5 - Book now

    The Hallé is joined by poet laureate Simon Armitage, virtuoso saxophonist Jess Gillam and Former Hallé Assistant Conductor Jonathon Heyward for a concert featuring a world premiere by Hannah Kendall.

  • 4. The Hallé – Movie Classics

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Movie Classics, online, 11 February–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.

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

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale, online, 18 March–18 June 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.

  • 6. The Hallé – Trail-blazing Hallé

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Trail-blazing Hallé, online, 25 March–25 June 2021, from £5 - Book now

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

  • 7. The Hallé – Henning Kraggerud: Artist in Residence

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Henning Kraggerud: Artist in Residence, online, 1 April–1 July 2021, from £5 - Book now

    Hallé Artist in Residence, Henning Kraggerud curates a concert featuring the UK premiere of his adaptation of Grieg’s Third Violin Sonata.

  • 8. The Hallé – Shostakovich’s Dazzling First

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Shostakovich's Dazzling First, online, 15 April–15 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.

  • 9. The Hallé – Sibelius’s Third Symphony

    The Hallé

    The Hallé - Sibelius's Third Symphony, online, 29 April–29 July 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.