From Beethoven to the Beano: Southbank Centre and its family of orchestras announce Classical Music Spring/Summer 2023
Alice Sara Ott © Jonas Becker; Beano © Beano Productions; Anne-Sophie Mutter © Bastian Achard
The Southbank Centre, its six Resident Orchestras and wider orchestral partners have today announced Classical Music Spring/Summer 2023, an exciting, varied programme of over a hundred events featuring a wealth of established and emerging artists from the UK and internationally.
- Staggering symphonic works performed by the world’s greatest orchestras including the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Southbank Centre Resident Orchestras Chineke! Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra
- Ambitious new commissions from Resident Orchestra Aurora Orchestra and Artist Residencies featuring the most acclaimed and forward-thinking artists of our time including Abel Selaocoe, Alice Sara Ott, Daniel Pioro, Manchester Collective and Sheku Kanneh-Mason
- The vibrant, varied Contemporary Edit returns with the London Sinfonietta celebrating Sir Harrison Birtwistle and two concerts from Manchester Collective featuring collaborators Sean Shibe and Alice Zawadzki
- Keyboard recitals from renowned pianists including Mitsuko Uchida, Maurizio Pollini, Alexandre Kantorow, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy, plus harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, Kristian Bezuidenhout on the fortepiano with Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and more organ recitals in the Royal Festival Hall including Olivier Latry
- Anne-Sophie Mutter performs as part of the intimate Chamber Music strand also featuring Southbank Centre Resident Artists
- An engaging family programme brings the magic of childhood storytelling to the stage, including a cutting-edge digital production of the Beano presented in partnership with the BBC Concert Orchestra, CBBC, and Beano Productions
- One of classical music’s biggest awards nights, Royal Philharmonic Society Awards 2023 will be hosted at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for the first time
Toks Dada, Head of Classical Music at the Southbank Centre, said: “Our successful Opening Weekend for Autumn/Winter 2022/23 – during which we welcomed over 10,000 people across our spaces, many of whom visited Southbank Centre for the very first time – demonstrated that it is possible to celebrate the tradition of classical music whilst reflecting the artform today. And, with our Spring/Summer 2023 programme, we are continuing to fulfil this responsibility.
With our unrivalled family of six Resident Orchestras and international orchestras, we are continuing to bring the greatest symphonic repertoire to our stages whilst also presenting new large-scale experiences to reach new people including a new score by Mason Bates’ alongside an animated film for young people and a new double concerto written and performed by Abel Selaocoe and Seckou Keita. Building on their incredible performances in Autumn/Winter, we are pleased to see the return of Resident Artists Abel Selaocoe, Manchester Collective, and Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Resident Artist Daniel Pioro will also return whilst we welcome new Resident Artist Alice Sara Ott. Between them, they embrace the full spectrum of classical music – making concerto appearances with our Resident Orchestras, adding freshness to our glorious chamber music offer, premiering new work commissioned by Southbank Centre, and bringing a range of collaborators from classical music and beyond to show the true versatility of this wonderful artform. In addition to our Resident Artists, we welcome major international stars with keyboard and chamber music recitals including Mitsuko Uchida, Olivier Latry, and Anne-Sophie Mutter.
And, together with our family of orchestras, we continue to provide audiences with a unique way of building their concert package – the ability to pick and mix across the programme, irrespective of the orchestra, strand or series. We are incredibly proud of the breadth of our programme as we continue to show that classical music is for everyone.”
Mark Ball, Artistic Director at the Southbank Centre, added: “With our Spring/Summer programme, we continue to champion classical music for the 21st century, with a programme infused with the excitement of new work, new ideas and inventive and accessible formats to appeal to new, younger audiences. Our family of Resident Orchestras all play their role too, each providing a profound role in championing Classical Music at the Southbank Centre and beyond. From the huge symphonic works performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra, the unique historicism of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the celebration of diversity and difference by Chineke! Orchestra to the London Sinfonietta’s commitment to contemporary voices and Aurora Orchestra’s immersive productions, the Southbank Centre remains a vibrant and vital home for Classical Music.”
Further details about the Southbank Centre’s Spring / Summer Classical Music season follow below. Tickets will be available on Thursday 20 October via https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on
Staggering symphonic works
Opening Spring/Summer 2023, the mighty Mahler Chamber Orchestra with virtuoso pianist and director Mitsuko Uchida will take to the stage for a mix of Mozart and Schoenberg (1 February, RFH). Also visiting the Southbank Centre, Gramophone’s Orchestra of the Year, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, returns to the Royal Festival Hall under the baton of Iván Fischer, with Mahler Symphony No.9 (17 May, RFH) following two critically acclaimed shows earlier this year.
Audiences can expect other large-scale symphonic performances from the Southbank Centre’s Resident Orchestras such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Damnation of Faust by Berlioz (4 February, RFH), the Philharmonia Orchestra with Paavo Järvi conducting Mahler’s Symphony No.3 (16 March, RFH) and one of the newest additions to the group of Resident Orchestras, Chineke! Orchestra, who will perform two concerts featuring the works of Florence Price, Symphony No.1 in E minor (9 March, QEH) and Symphony No.3 in C Minor (24 June, QEH). The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra features throughout the season with its Journey of Discovery programme, including conductor Vasily Petrenko and soloist Truls Mørk performing works by Elgar, Dukas and Tchiakovsky with (23 April, RFH).
Artist Residences and new commissions
Alongside large scale symphonic works from visiting and Resident Orchestras, the Southbank Centre continues to support artists through its Artist Residencies, providing the space, time and resources to realise their creative ambitions.
Joining for Spring/Summer 2023, new Resident Artist Alice Sara Ott will make her season debut, taking inspiration from a traditional Schubertiade by mixing Schubert’s Trout Quintet with songs by Beethoven, Schubert and Vaughan Williams alongside an international ensemble of voice and strings including baritone Benjamin Appl (19 March, QEH). With the backing of Thomas Reif, Sebastian Klinger and Sebastian Manz, Ott will also perform Messiaen’s mystical Quartet for the End of Time (22 June, PR). Ott’s residency will continue in Classical Music 2023/24 with more shows to be announced.
After a thrilling start to his residency in Autumn/Winter 2022/23, which included a sold-out performance of his debut album, Abel Selaocoe will perform with Dudù Kouate, Kit Downes and others in Abel Selaocoe and Friends: Mokete wa Badimo (24 February, QEH). Concluding his eclectic residency, Selaocoe will also appear with kora player Seckou Keita, alongside Resident Orchestra Chineke! Orchestra, premiering a brand new co-commission from the Southbank Centre, composed and performed by the pair (12 May, RFH).
Continuing the exciting collaborations featuring the Southbank Centre’s Resident Orchestras together with Southbank Centre Resident Artists, in a concert of two contrasting halves, Daniel Pioro and a range of collaborators will perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons alongside acclaimed author Michael Morpurgo, who will perform newly written texts between the seasons (21 May, QEH). Pioro will then be joined by Resident Orchestra London Sinfonietta to perform Gérard Grisey’s Vortex Temporum. With Icelandic record label Bedroom Community, Pioro presents a unique Southbank Centre commission, inspired by the Southbank Centre’s iconic Brutalist architecture, written and performed by Pioro, Liam Byrne, Valgeir Sigurðsson and joined on stage by Studio Collective Ensemble (24 March, PR).
As well as supporting the artists of today, the Southbank Centre is also supporting the next generation of artists. In collaboration with the Royal Academy of Music, the Southbank Centre is working with Pioro on a new initiative, Future Artists, to explore new ways of producing music whilst mentoring students from the Academy, culminating in a joint performance next Spring (24 February, PR).
Another exciting return for Spring/Summer, Sheku Kanneh-Mason continues his work with the Philharmonia Orchestra as a Featured Artist. He is the soloist in Bloch’s Schelomo and plays Villa-Lobos in a free performance with the Philharmonia Cellos (26 February, RFH) and he performs with Nicola Benedetti and Benjamin Grosvenor in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto (8 June, RFH). There will also be a special, intimate evening with the Philharmonia Chamber Players where Kanneh-Mason will perform Brahms’ String Sextet No.1 in B flat and his own arrangements of works by Bach (26 April, QEH).
The Contemporary Edit strand remains a hotbed of talent, championing some of the most exciting names in classical music who are imagining new frontiers for the genre.
Consistently celebrating contemporary classical music in all its forms, the London Sinfonietta makes its Spring/Summer debut with a night dedicated to the music of the late Sir Harrison Birtwistle, accompanied by the Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble (5 March, QEH). The orchestra will also perform ambitious repertoire of Julius Eastman, Mira Calix and Steve Reich’s Reich / Richter with Mnoj Kamps conducting (6 April, RFH) while also hosting a celebration of new voices in 21st-century music including Dai Fujikura, Tania León alongside György Ligeti (25 May, QEH).
On Saturday 25 March, the Southbank Centre, in collaboration with several of its Resident Orchestras, will showcase new work from established and emerging voices in contemporary classical music. The London Philharmonic Orchestra will give the UK premiere of Heiner Goebbels’ A House of Call, which he describes as a cross-cultural ‘imaginary notebook’, highlighting stories of people from different cultures in their own words and language (25 March, RFH). Meanwhile, Aurora Orchestra will premiere a new commission by composer Héloïse Werner (25 March, QEH).
Resident Artist Manchester Collective returns for two spectacular London premieres: Bag of Bones (4 February, QEH) with award-winning vocalist, violinist, songwriter and composer Alice Zawadzki and Rosewood (13 May, QEH) with Scottish star guitarist Sean Shibe, featuring brand-new commissions from Kelly Moran and Emily Hall. Over three nights, The Belfast Ensemble will stage Conor Mitchell’s Abomination: a DUP Opera (5-7 May, QEH). Centering on the scandalous live radio interview given by DUP MP Iris Robinson, when she referred to homosexuality as an ‘abomination’, the opera looks at how the interview became a catalyst for the Northern Irish equality debate and its legacy in Irish queer history.
Finally, the Contemporary Edit includes the Philharmonia Orchestra’s free-to-attend Music of Today events with a specially curated evening by Featured Composer Anna Clyne, which includes the world premiere of a Philharmonia Orchestra commission by Grace Evangeline-Mason alongside work by Clarice Assad, Nathalie Joachim and Anna Clyne (23 March, PR).
Keyboard Recitals in every shape and size
Another highlight of Spring/Summer 2023 will be the range of keyboard recitals. On Wednesday 5 April, there will be a site-wide evening celebrating the versatility and variety of the keyboard with Mitsuko Uchida performing Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas (5 April, RFH), the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with Kristian Bezuidenhout on the fortepiano (5 April, QEH) and Mahan Esfahani staging an ambitious marriage of harpsichord and electronics (5 April, PR). The recitals also include performances from Maurizio Pollini (17 March, RFH), Alexandre Kantorow (8 March, QEH), Frederico Colli (23 February, QEH), Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s night of piano fantasies (28 April, QEH), piano duo Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy (10 May, QEH) and Ingrid Fliter (24 May, QEH). Meanwhile, performances by Robert Quinney (3 March, RFH) and Olivier Latry, with unique repertoire of adapted works by Wagner (31 May, RFH), will unleash the full power of the Royal Festival Hall’s organ.
Intimate Chamber Music performances
Continuing the Chamber Music ethos of collaboration illustrated by Pioro’s performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Grisey’s Vortex Temporum (21 May, QEH), Ott’s gatherings of friends (19 March, QEH, and 22 June, PR), and Kanneh-Mason’s residency featuring Philharmonia Chamber Players (26 April, QEH), international star Anne-Sophie Mutter will be joined by Maximilian Hornung and Lambert Orkis with repertoire including Sebastian Currier’s Ghost Trio, which Mutter first premiered in 2019, as well as works by Beethoven, Clara Schumann and Brahms (4 June, RFH).
Creating new ways to experience classical music
Pushing the boundaries of what classical music can be, and where it can take place, Resident Orchestra Aurora Orchestra teams up with iconic electronic music venue Printworks and multidisciplinary artist Nwando Ebizie to host a special event bringing audiences physically inside Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (23 March, Printworks). Aurora also presents the same symphony in a different context at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (25 March, QEH), as part of a programme featuring guest soloist Jan Lisiecki and a new work by Héloïse Werner. Back by popular demand, Unclassified Live with the BBC Concert Orchestra will feature new music by Hinako Omori, Cate Le Bon and Qasim Naqvi (19 May, QEH).
Continuing its commitment to audiences of the future, the Southbank Centre along with its Resident Orchestras has produced an engaging and educational series of shows for families and young people, inspired by the stories that children know and love. The Philharmonia Orchestra presents Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes (12 February, RFH). Over the course of a weekend, the Southbank Centre site will be animated with young people: the National Youth Orchestra returns with its trademark vitality and infectious spirit (15 April, RFH), while the Southbank Centre teams up with composer Mason Bates for an animated exploration of the orchestra,The Making of the Orchestra (16 April, RFH) featuring Resident Orchestra Aurora Orchestra. Elsewhere, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment travels to the stars in Whizz Zoom to the Moon! (23 April, RFH); Aurora Orchestra will premiere a new musical setting of The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse by Martin Suckling (4 March, QEH); the London Philharmonic Orchestra hosts its much loved FUNharmonics series with Before the Firebird (13 May, RFH); and the Philharmonia Orchestra with Resident Artist Sheku Kanneh-Mason invite audiences to experience a special project in the Clore Ballroom (4 June, RFH).
Meanwhile, a truly unique collaboration between the Southbank Centre, the BBC Concert Orchestra, CBBC, and Beano Productions will bring to life the classic comic, Beano, with music by composer Gavin Higgins, featuring percussionist Colin Currie and pioneering digital technology recreating the world of Beano inside the concert hall (3 June, RFH).
MORE FROM THE SOUTHBANK CENTRE RESIDENT ORCHESTRAS:
Aurora Orchestra creates vibrant musical adventures that share a passion for orchestral music with the broadest possible audience. It has pioneered a new form of ‘Orchestral Theatre’, combining world-class performance with innovative presentation and cross-art form collaboration to create powerful new ways of experiencing and participating in orchestral music. Working in partnership with the Southbank Centre, Aurora has recently launched a major new music education platform, Aurora Orchestra Learning, aimed at supporting high-quality music teaching in early years, Key Stage 1 and Special Educational Needs settings.
Chineke! is thrilled to be rounding off its first full season as a Resident Orchestra at the Southbank Centre with two concerts featuring glorious pieces by Black composers. In addition to the performance with conductor Andrew Grams and Elena Urioste (9 March, QEH), Chineke! will be joined by Stewart Goodyear, performing his Callaloo for Piano & Orchestra as well as Coleridge-Taylor’s Othello Suite.
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s main season theme A Place to Call home continues, looking at what it means to have a place of safety; it explores kinship, inclusion and belonging on the one hand, and exclusion, racism and political instability on the other. The LPO gives the UK premiere of Tania León’s Pulitzer Prize winning Stride which incorporates Black music traditions from the US and the Caribbean into a Western orchestral fabric (31 March, RFH). The season closes with Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass (6 May, RFH).
The London Sinfonietta continues its long tradition of innovation this season with celebrations of past masters including Xenakis, Birtwistle and Ligeti, alongside the composers who represent the future of contemporary music. The orchestra continues to bring world-class performances and music education to all with the London Sinfonietta Channel, and opportunities for young people and early career musicians and composers.
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
From February to June, the OAE continues Songs of Travel, its season exploring the Enlightenment’s fascination with travel and discovery. In Handel Around The World (1 February, QEH) Ian Bostridge features in a programme of globe-trotting operatic arias; Václav Luks makes his Southbank Centre debut in Bach’s Mass in B minor (19 March, RFH) with soloists Julia Doyle, Anna Devin, Hugo Hymas and Roderick Williams; and we explore the journeys of Mozart, CPE Bach and JC Bach as they left home to find their own musical voices in Mozart on the Road with guests soloists Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano, Part 1, 5 April, QEH) and Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello, Part 2, 18 May, QEH). The season ends with John Wilson conducting two performances of Gilbert & Sullivan’s thorny 1884 comic opera Princess Ida (7-8 June, QEH) with soprano Louise Alder in the title role.
In the second half of the 2022/23 season, Principal Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali conducts two Stravinsky ballets, The Firebird (18 May) and Petrushka (21 May), plus music by Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Strauss. The Philharmonia’s Featured Artist Sheku Kanneh-Mason joins the Orchestra as soloist (26 Feb, RFH), collaborates with Philharmonia musicians in chamber music recitals, brings together young string players from across London in a Learning & Engagement project, and takes part in Insights events. Featured Composer Anna Clyne‘s music can be heard in several concerts, including the UK premiere of her Clarinet Concerto Weathered performed by Martin Fröst (23 March, RFH), and a free Music of Today concert curated by her (23 March, PR). Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonia’s former Principal Conductor, returns for the first time as Conductor Laureate, in an evening of Wagner with Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel (26 Mar, RFH). Pianist Stephen Hough and violinists Esther Yoo and Randall Goosby are among the other world-class soloists featured in the season. The Philharmonia will also perform Scriabin’s Prometheus: The Poem of Fire with the original lighting instructions specified in the score (11 May, RFH).