Music in Manchester and the North

Chris Horkan, Music Editor

As we get to grips with 2018, Manchester’s top venues have been busy filling their diaries for the year ahead: early highlights come from Nils Frahm, Fever Ray and Castlemania (one for the rock ‘n’ roll fans) at the Albert Hall and Joan as Police Woman at The Stoller Hall – as well as Iron and Wine‘s long-awaiting return, this time to the Bridgewater Hall. We also preview 2018 seasons from the likes of the RNCMBBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata and The Stoller Hall, as well as the intriguing New North and South programme, plus The Hallé and Northern Chamber Orchestra‘s special one-off shows, if classical and jazz are more your bag – plus, why not book early for WRONG FestivalSounds From The Other City, bluedot and Festival No.6? Read on for these recommendations and more…

Here are our picks

  • 1. New North and South at Band on the Wall

    Raghu Dixit courtesy of Band on the Wall

    New North and South at Band on the Wall, Manchester, 20 January–29 April 2018, from £8.00 - Book now

    A three-year programme of co-commissions, exhibitions and intellectual exchange to celebrate shared heritage between the North of England and South Asia, New North and South features 15 events over three months in its 2018 music strand. Highlights include a live soundtrack from Asian Dub Foundation, Nitin Sawhney’s collaboration with theatre company Tara Arts, plus live performances by the likes of percussion ensemble The Dhol Foundation and contemporary Indian folk musician Raghu Dixit.

  • 2. Nils Frahm at Albert Hall

    Nils Frahm at Albert Hall, City Centre, 28 February 2018, from £25.00 - Book now

    German pianist, composer and producer Nils Frahm returns to Albert Hall three years after his last visit. Since then, he has established an innovative annual Piano Day project, and produced film and game soundtracks that have raised his profile even further. Don’t miss out on this much-anticipated return to the live arena.

  • 3. Distractfold Ensemble at the Martin Harris Centre for Music & Drama

    Distractfold Ensemble at Martin Harris Centre for Music & Drama, Manchester, 1 March 2018, free entry - Find Out More

    This free lunchtime concert at Manchester University’s Martin Harris Centre features music composed by the university’s postgraduate composition students, alongside other works. They will be performed by Distractfold, a Manchester-based ensemble of performers, composers and curators.

  • 4. Castlemania at Albert Hall

    Thee Oh Sees by mini van photography

    Castlemania at Albert Hall, City Centre, 1 March 2018, from £27.50 - Book now

    This is a real treat for fans of Californian rock ‘n’ roll, as Albert Hall hosts five members of the Castle Face Records roster in one evening. Featuring headliners Thee Oh Sees plus The Once and Future Band, Kelley Stoltz, Flat Worms and Male Gaze, it promises to be a unique and rewarding night for fans of feedback.

  • 5. Who Runs The World… at RNCM

    RNCM

    Who Runs The World... at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, 5 March 2018, from £22.00 - Book now

    Celebrating the roles of inspirational women in music, Who Runs The World… includes the premiere of a new work by the Camerata former Composer-in-Residence, Laura Bowler. The concert features soloist Tine Thing Helseth and conductor Jessica Cottis.

  • 6. The Hallé: Six O’Clock Classics at The Bridgewater Hall

    The Hallé

    The Hallé: Six O’Clock Classics at The Bridgewater Hall, City Centre, 8 March 2018, from £12.50 - Book now

    A refreshing alternative to your rush hour, this hour-long concert by The Hallé offers a whistle-stop tour through well-known classics from the likes of Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Verdi, Debussy and Sibelius.

  • 7. Matthew Sharp with Northern Chamber Orchestra at Stockport Town Hall

    Image courtesy of Northern Chamber Orchestra

    Matthew Sharp with Northern Chamber Orchestra at Stockport Town Hall, Stockport, 9 March 2018, from £20 - Book now

    Versatile cellist, baritone and animateur Matthew Sharp joins the Northern Chamber Orchestra for this highlight of its 50th anniversary season, featuring Copland’s Appalachian Spring alongside Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations and Schubert’s Erlkönig.

  • 8. RNCM 2018 Season

    Marius Neset by RNCM

    RNCM 2018 Season at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, 21 January–24 March 2018, from £12 - Book now

    Featuring an Arabian adventure, Norwegian jazz courtesy of Marius Neset, 1920s Surrealist short films (and accompanying live scores), plus the RNCM Opera’s major production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and a collaboration between German trumpeter and composer Markus Stockhausen and the RNCM Big Band and Chamber Orchestra, this new season offers plenty to discerning music fans.

  • 9. Fever Ray at Albert Hall

    Fever Ray at Albert Hall, City Centre, 21 March 2018, from £27.50 - Book now

    One of only two UK dates on her first Fever Ray tour since 2010, Karin Dreijer – formerly of The Knife – brings the intense music of her second full-length release, Plunge, to Albert Hall this March.

  • 10. A Total Embrace: The Anniversaries of Leonard Bernstein at The Stoller Hall

    Chetham's

    A Total Embrace: The Anniversaries of Leonard Bernstein at The Stoller Hall, 16 April 2018, from £6 - Book now

    Introduced and presented by Nina Bernstein Simmons, youngest daughter of Leonard Bernstein, this event features a recital of the 27 piano miniatures that make up the American’s ‘Anniversaries’, followed by a rare screening of the 2005 film A Total Embrace – itself a tribute to the late composer.

  • 11. The Tiger Lillies: Corrido de la Sangre at HOME

    Image courtesy of HOME

    The Tiger Lillies: Corrido de la Sangre at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 20 April–5 May 2018, from £10.00 - Book now

    Grammy-nominated punk cabaret trio The Tiger Lillies perform their original music to tell this tale of a Corrido singer and his band, who return from the dead to haunt their killer.

  • 12. Joan As Police Woman at The Stoller Hall

    Joan As Police Woman

    Joan As Police Woman at The Stoller Hall, 24 April 2018, from £20 - Book now

    Touring Damned Devotion, her first solo album since 2014, Brooklyn singer and multi-instrumentalist Joan As Police Woman visits The Stoller Hall this April. Joan has collaborated with the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Antony and the Johnsons and Scissor Sisters over the years, as well as releasing half a dozen albums under her own stage name.

  • 13. WRONG Festival at Liverpool Docklands

    Future of the Left by Sebastian Nevols

    WRONG Festival at The Invisible Wind Factory, 28–29 April 2018, from £20.00 - Book now

    WRONG Festival makes its second outing in Liverpool’s Docklands this April. This celebration of the current rock freakscene features 30 bands – including Future of the Left, Gnod, Mugstar and Damo Suzuki – performing across the Invisible Wind Factory, the North Shore Troubadour and Drop the Dumbulls.

  • 14. Sounds From The Other City 2018 in Salford

    Sounds From the Other City 2017 - Ben Williams

    Sounds From the Other City 2018 at Islington Mill, Chapel Street, 6 May 2018, from £27.75 - Book now

    SFTOC is a true highlight of the Manchester music calendar, as it goes strength to strength in celebrating new music and performances – as well as some of Salford’s lesser-spotted venues. Early bird tickets have already gone – and the event is almost always a completely sell out – so book early. Acts already announced for 2018 include DUDS, Anna Burch, Barbarossa, Pearl City, Spectrum and Have You Ever Seen the Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS?

  • 15. The Stoller Hall 2018 Season

    Chetham's Big Band

    The Stoller Hall 2018 season, 12 January–16 April 2018, from £6 - Book now

    In only its first year, The Stoller Hall at Chetham’s is already making a name for itself as the bright new concert hall on the block. Early in its 2018 season, the hall hosts the likes of Chetham’s alumnus Gwilym Simcock (with the Northern Chamber Orchestra), plus jazz legend Iain Ballamy and the esteemed Endellion String Quartet. With a tribute to Leonard Bernstein hosted by his daughter, plus an outing of intensity by Manchester Collective (new Ensemble in Residence), this looks set to be the year that The Stoller Hall sets itself apart.

  • 16. Vivaldi Rocks at The Stoller Hall

    Bram van Sambeek by Andrew Rankin

    Vivaldi Rocks at The Stoller Hall, 31 May 2018, from £22.00 - Book now

    Hugo Ticciati combines Vivaldi Concertos with arrangements of music by Muse, Metallica and Dream Theatre – demonstrating that the Baroque composer’s work was just as raucous during his lifetime as anything today’s rock stars can offer.

  • 17. BBC Philharmonic 2017/18 Concert Season

    BBC Philharmonic

    BBC Philharmonic 2017/18 Concert Season at The Bridgewater Hall, City Centre, 24 September 2017–9 June 2018 - Visit now

    Millions of listeners enjoy BBC Philharmonic concerts on Radio 3, recorded or broadcast live from the outstanding acoustic of The Bridgewater Hall, making this orchestra one of the most widely heard in the country.

  • 18. bluedot 2018 at Jodrell Bank

    Lovell telescope in cloudy sky

    bluedot festival 2018 at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, 20–22 July 2018, from £159.00 - Book now

    Entering its third year in 2018, bluedot is a festival of discovery located in the shadow of the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics; the iconic space observatory and the heart of our quest for knowledge. Featuring the likes of Jean-Michel Jarre, Brian Eno, Pixies and Orbital in its first two years, as well as science experiments, talks and immersive artwork, we’re anticipating big things from bluedot 2018.

  • 19. Festival No.6 2018 at Portmeirion

    Festival No.6 2018 at Portmeirion, 6–9 September 2018, from £120.00 - Book now

    Welcome to a festival like no other, in the most stunning festival setting in the world. The picturesque Italiante village of Portmeirion is Festival No.6’s home, and was the original inspiration behind its desire to create a completely new type of festival. 2018’s line-up already features Franz Ferdinand, Friendly Fires, Everything Everything, Anna Calvi and Django Django – with plenty more still to be announced.

  • 20. José González performing with The String Theory at Albert Hall

    José González by Malin Johansson

    José González performing with The String Theory at Albert Hall, City Centre, 22 September 2018, from £30.00 - Book now

    Swedish singer and guitarist José González partners up with artist collective and string ensemble The String Theory for a 17-date European tour. Catch the pairing live at Albert Hall in September – one of only four UK dates.

More in Music

Music 24 March 2018, from £15

RNCM Big Band and Chamber Orchestra with Markus Stockhausen at the RNCM

German trumpeter and composer Markus Stockhausen brings the knowledge and experience gained during his a prolific three-decade career to the RNCM, as he works with students to encourage their improvisational skills before joining the Big Band and Chamber Orchestra for this programme of his compositions.

Music 17–25 March 2018, from £21

RNCM Opera: Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck at the RNCM

The RNCM Opera tackles Engelbert Humperdinck’s operatic version of the Brothers Grimm’s early 19th Century fairytale Hansel and Gretel for its major spring production. Expect a tale of transition, redemption and resolution, set to folk music-inspired themes, for a piece that is equal parts dark and magical.

Music 2 March 2018, from £12

The Endellion String Quartet at The Stoller Hall

Now in its 38th year, the Endellion is without doubt one of the world’s most enduring and respected string quartets in the world. With enviable experience together, expect to hear a rare uniformity of thought from its members as they perform pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, Webern and Brahms in The Stoller Hall.

Music 9 June 2018, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Albéniz | Falla at The Bridgewater Hall

For his final Bridgewater Hall concert as the BBC Philharmonic’s Chief Conductor, Juanjo Mena spirits us away to his Spanish homeland with a programme that includes a concert performance of Manuel de Falla’s vibrant,one-hour opera, La vida breve.

Music 14 April 2018, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Tchaikovsky | Shostakovich | Ginastera at The Bridgewater Hall

The poignant but little-heard symphonic ballad The Voyevoda from the pen of Tchaikovsky opens the programme and guest Alban Gerhardt performs Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto

Music 12 May 2018, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Wagner | Wolfgang Rihm | Weber | Beethoven at The Bridgewater Hall

Famed for working double duty as an acclaimed soloist and principal horn of the Berlin Philharmonic, the peerless Stefan Dohr performs the UK premiere of a work written especially for him: Wolfgang Rihm’s Horn Concerto

Music 21 April 2018, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Strauss | Mark Simpson | Shostakovich at The Bridgewater Hall

Three years after the BBC Philharmonic’s world premiere of The Immortal drew rapturous acclaim from critics and audiences, Mark Simpson, the orchestra’s Composer in Association, presents his Cello Concerto performed by Leonard Elschenbroich

Music 19 May 2018, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Szymanowski | Tchaikovsky at The Bridgewater Hall

Tasmin Little performs Karol Szymanowski’s First Violin Concerto. Piercing, passionate, fiery and free, it’s arguably the first modern violin concerto, and makes tremendous demands on any soloist who chooses to take it on.

Music 24 March 2018, from £12.00

BBC Philharmonic: Copland | Korngold | Vaughan Williams

John Wilson is our translator for two journeys into the great wide open: Copland’s Appalachian Spring paints a vivid portrait of rural Pennsylvania, while Vaughan Williams’s wartime Fifth Symphony sings of a troubled England

Culture Guides

Motherlogues Theatre Deli

Theatre

Queer Contact Festival, verbatim performances and sport-art collaborations top our eclectic list of drama, opera and dance this month.

Changing Lives: 200 Years of People and Protest in Sheffield at Weston Park Museum

Exhibitions

Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s packed 2018 programme, 200 years of activism and protest in the Steel City, and the curious history of colour top our latest list of exhibition highlights.

Families

Get ready for some heady cultural adventures this February with our guide to the best things to do right now with kids and book ahead for.

Author Joe Dunthorne. Photo by Angus Muir.

Literature

We have a fun-packed February leading up to a mad-busy March. There’s lots of brand-new work from both established and emerging writers, and plenty of prose and poetry to fill your mornings, afternoons and evenings.

Cinema

It’s Oscar season – we round up the best new and old films showing in cinemas and tell you the best place to watch the awards themselves.

Things to do right now

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Music 12 January–16 April 2018, from £6

The Stoller Hall 2018 Season

Music 24 September 2017–9 June 2018,

BBC Philharmonic 2017/18 Concert Season

Music 9 September 2017–31 May 2018, from £15.00

Manchester Camerata 2017/18 Season

Music 21 January–24 March 2018, from £12

RNCM 2018 Season

Music 20 January–29 April 2018, from £8.00

New North and South at Band on the Wall