Music in Manchester and the North

Chris Horkan, Music Editor

Our music guide boasts diversity and variety galore right now – from legendary Brazilian Tropicália band Os Mutantes at Band on the Wall to Swedish folk titan José González at the Albert Hall – plus the likes of Sheffield Chamber Music Festivalbluedot, Head for the Hills and The Good Life Experience all within striking distance of Manchester. Add in an all-dayer at Halifax’s Piece Hall, headlined by Father John Misty, and adventurous programming by The Stoller Hall, BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata and the RNCM, and things are looking rosy for music fans in the North.

Here are our picks

More in Music

Music 21 July 2018, from £10.00

Minute Taker at Waterside Arts

Minute Taker creates haunting piano songs with multilayered ethereal vocals, distorted electronic beats and otherworldly synthscapes.

Music 20 July 2018, from £10.00

Tankus The Henge at Waterside Arts

Combining wild showmanship and musical dexterity, Tankus the Henge, incorporate the sounds of rock, funk, blues, ska, roots and gypsy rhythms.

Music 21 June 2018, from £16

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo at Band on the Wall

Boasting the status of ‘the oldest active African orchestra’, Benin’s Orchestre Poly-Rythmo continue to record and tour some five decades after its inception. Catch the group – featuring three original members – live this summer.

Music 8 June 2018, from £14

F W Murnau’s Sunrise – 1920s silent film with live accompaniment at the RNCM Concert Hall

F W Murnau’s 1927 romantic drama Sunrise marked both the pinnacle and end of silent film, as it was one of the first films to feature a synchronised musical score and sound effects soundtrack. For this screening, however, award-winning French organist and composer Thierry Escaich will provide the audio accompaniment.

Music 15 June 2018, from £15

Petite messe solennelle by Gioachino Rossini at the RNCM Concert Hall

An ensemble of soloists, choir, two pianos and harmonium will perform Petite Messe Solennelle, one of Rossini’s final pieces, under the baton of Andrew Greenwood. The RNCM ensemble will be joined by Jonathan and Tom Scott for a programme that also features Gottschalk’s version of The William Tell Overture.

Music 20–21 June 2018, FREE

In Focus: Gilbert and Gorb at the RNCM

The RNCM celebrates Anthony Gilbert and Adam Gorb, the college’s only two Heads of Composition during its 50-year history, with this two-day event of talks and concerts – including world premieres from both composers.

Music 28 June 2018, from £15

RNCM Big Band with Bart van Lier at the RNCM Theatre

The RNCM’s Big Band collaborates and performs with legendary jazz improviser Bart van Lier, principal trombonist with the Metropole Orkest, for its major summer concert. As well as work by van Lier, the programme features pieces by Bill Holman, Jerome Kern and Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz.

Music 29 June 2018, from £15.00

RNCM Symphony Orchestra at The Bridgewater Hall

The RNCM Symphony Orchestra returns to The Bridgewater Hall for its annual end-of-year concert. The programme features Ravel’s timeless drama Daphnis et Chloé, plus Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto and Ambroise Thomas’ 1866-penned Mignon Overture, all under the baton of French conductor and violinist Yan Pascal Tortelier.

Music 27 July 2018, from £18

Manchester Jazz Festival: Winstone/Gesing/Venier at the RNCM Concert Hall

Jazz vocalist Norma Winstone visits the RNCM as part of Manchester Jazz Festival this July. To mark the recent release of Descansado – Songs For Films, she will perform personal interpretations of soundtrack music by the likes of Michel Legrand and Ennio Morricone, backed by her trio’s pianist and reed player.

Culture Guides

Women Hold Up Half the Sky by Ekua Bayunu at Alexandra Park, Manchester


The revolutionary fervour of the May ’68 Paris uprising, the seismic impact of the Dutch Golden Age on western art history, and notions of ‘the monstrous’ in 21st century life are just some of the themes explored within this month’s hand-picked selection of must-see exhibitions from across the north.

Theatre in Manchester and The North Guide


Vibrant, varied and fearless – there’s a real wealth of performance on offer in Manchester and the North – we’ve rounded up the best in our theatre guide.

Telling Tales


Silent films, documentaries and revolution! Find out what’s going on in the cinemas of Manchester and the North.


Out of this world free festivals of making, maritime magic in Liverpool and theatrical adventures for all the family this May.

Joanna Walsh. Photo by Lauren Elkin.


From poetry to prose, and taking in non-fiction and creative non-fiction and even theatre-y things along the way, there are book launches and brand-new commissions popping up all over Manchester, Salford and beyond.

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