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 RNCM, BBC 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 Festival, Sounds From The Other City, bluedot and Festival No.6? Read on for these recommendations and more…
Here are our picks
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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