NEW: Our Precious Planet

With BBC Symphony Orchestra and Grégoire Pont

Sat 28 Jan 2023, Barbican Hall, 5pm

Tickets £10 – 16 plus booking fee, Under 26’s £5 & £10 (livestream)

This newly announced family concert celebrates our precious planet, featuring sound and storytelling with Barbican Associate Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dalia Stasevska and artist Grégoire Pont’s drawings projected live alongside the music.

Audiences are invited to marvel at the beauty and fragility of our world and to explore the chaos of the Big Bang and the wonders of Mother Earth, meeting a magnificent array of birds, insects, animals and even a few dinosaurs along the way; and to discover the destruction as human activity goes into overdrive. Dramatic, moving and at times laugh-out loud funny, the underlying question is: what do we want the future of our precious planet to look like?

Artist Grégoire Pont is passionate about using animation to bring classical music to life for young audiences, illustrating live to music in his performance concept of ‘Cinesthetics’.

This performance is designed for children aged 7–11, though younger and older children are very welcome to attend.

Co-produced by the Barbican and BBC SO

Find out more

The following previously announced concerts will now also be livestreamed:

Isata Kanneh-Mason in recital

Mon 10 Oct 2022, Barbican Hall, 7.30pm

Tickets £15 – 50 plus booking fee & £12.50 (livestream)

Brilliant young pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason returns to the Barbican for her first solo recital in the Barbican Hall. Kanneh-Mason has previously performed here with all six of her siblings, and on multiple occasions with cellist brother Sheku, but this time will sit centre-stage in a programme which brings a mature perspective to popular children’s tunes: Mozart’s playful variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Debussy’s and Schumann’s depictions of childhood scenes. Also featured is the London Premiere and ECHO commission, Eleanor Alberga’s piece Cwiceolfor, (an ancient spelling of mercury, an element that fascinated her in her youth).   

Isata Kanneh-Mason is the recipient of the 2021 Leonard Bernstein Award and an ECHO Rising Star in the 2021/22 season.

Produced by the Barbican

Find out more

Australian Chamber Orchestra: Beethoven and Bridgetower

Thu 27 Oct 2022, Milton Court Concert Hall, 7.30pm

Tickets £15 – 40 plus booking fee & £12.50 (livestream)

Australian Chamber Orchestra

Richard Tognetti director & violin

William Barton didgeridoo & voice

William Barton New Work

Thomas Adès Shanty – Over The Sea

Ruth Crawford Seeger Andante for Strings

Leoš Janáček String Quartet No 1, Kreutzer Sonata (arr Tognetti)

George Walker Lyric for Strings

Ludwig van Beethoven Sonata No 9 in A major, Op 47 Bridgetower (arr Tognetti)

The Barbican’s International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Artistic Director Richard Tognetti return this autumn for a three-day residency (27 – 29 October 2022), bringing their trademark virtuosity and artistry in three very different programmes across Milton Court and Barbican Hall that will show off the orchestra at its super-charged best. The first concert, Beethoven and Bridgetower, includes Beethoven’s passionate and iconic Violin Sonata in A major, Op.47. But there’s also drama off-stage in what is arguably Beethoven’s most loved and performed violin sonata: known as the Kreutzer for its dedication to the violinist Rudolphe Kreutzer (who likely never played this titanic work), what has been lost in history is its original dedication to George Bridgetower, a far more accomplished violinist of mixed European and West Indian descent, who performed with the composer at the Sonata’s premiere.  

Legend has it Beethoven was so late to finish the Sonata that the ink was still wet on the page when he and Bridgetower – the latter, not having seen the score before, sight-reading and even improvising a section – took to the stage for an early morning performance. It was a success, and a jubilant Beethoven signed the manuscript in dedication to his friend. However, in its success lay its downfall. While celebrating, Beethoven and Bridgetower spectacularly fell out, and Bridgetower’s name was removed from the dedication, and from history.

With these infamous origins, it is no wonder such an intensely romantic piece not only inspired Tolstoy’s novella of jealousy and murder stemming from a performance of The Kreutzer, but also stirred Janáček’s Kreutzer Sonata as a response to Tolstoy’s story and views on women, pushing the string quartet to its limits and beyond. 

Here, Artistic Director Richard Tognetti and the ACO take both Beethoven’s and Janáček’s masterpieces to another level, expanding them for full orchestra.

Also featured in this opening concert is regular ACO collaborator William Barton who will bring a spellbinding blend of vocals and didgeridoo playing; as well as works by kindred spirits in the form of Thomas Adès, Ruth Crawford Seeger and George Walker, providing a contemporary contrast while embracing the same revolutionary spirit.

This performance is supported by the Australian Government as part of the UK/Australia Season 2021-22

Produced by the Barbican

Find out more

An Anatomy of Melancholy

Thu 27 – Sun 30 Oct 2022, The Pit

Thu 27, 9pm (press performance)

Fri 28, 9pm (also livestreamed)

Sat 29, 4pm (audio described / BSL-interpreted performance) & 9pm

Sun 30, 4pm 

Tickets £35 plus booking fee & £12.50 (livestream)

An Anatomy of Melancholy – a new theatrical creation, which will be performed in the round in the intimate setting of The Pit – is a portrait of a man engaged in a forensic examination of his own sadness. Drawing on the work of Robert Burton (The Anatomy of Melancholy), Sigmund Freud (Mourning and Melancholia), as well as Darian Leader (The New Black) and other contemporary psychoanalysts, it takes inspiration from the notion of art as a consolation. Countertenor Iestyn Davies, lutenist Thomas Dunford and director Netia Jones present this staged performance with live and immersive video projection, featuring some of the most exquisite and heart-rending music ever composed: the songs of melancholy by English Renaissance composer John Dowland.

This world premiere production examines humanity’s relationship with melancholy – both the emotional and the scientific. Performed on stage as protagonist and commentator, the evening will reflect on ideas about mourning and melancholia, scientific and analytic responses to loss and melancholy, its botanical and pharmaceutical remedies, the emotional meeting point between intense beauty and overwhelming sadness, and the recurring idea of the powerful consolation that art can provide.

Produced by the Barbican

Find out more