Guildhall School of Music & Drama announces spring events season 2023

This spring, Guildhall School of Music & Drama presents a varied programme of events for the public to enjoy, including concerts, drama productions, opera and jazz.

Highlights include:

  • Music: Guildhall Symphony Orchestra performs music by Mahler and Humperdinck under the baton of Roberto González-Monjas.
  • Drama: Four stage productions, including a new interpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and plays by Janice Okoh, Clare Barron and Martin Crimp.
  • Drama Solos: Final-year Guildhall actors present a series of self-written and directed shorts in The Mountains We Climb.
  • Opera: Jake Heggie’s powerful opera Dead Man Walking, directed by Martin Lloyd-Evans and conducted by Dominic Wheeler.
  • Jazz: Four performances celebrating the American Songbook, drummer Art Blakey, the modern masters of jazz and music by Mark-Anthony Turnage and John Scofield.
  • London Schools Symphony Orchestra: Two world premieres feature alongside music by Rachmaninov and Sibelius.

Details of the spring season’s events can be found below.


Guildhall String Ensemble

Friday 20 January, 7pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

In a programme highlighting the works of American and British composers, the Guildhall String Ensemble returns to the Milton Court stage under the direction of violinist Jonathan Morton. Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro and Tippett’s Concerto for Double String Orchestra are showcased alongside works by Caroline Shaw, Jessie Montgomery and George Walker in an evening celebrating the breadth of string composition and performance over the last century.

Guildhall Symphony Orchestra

Wednesday 1 March, 7.30pm, Barbican Hall

Conductor Roberto González-Monjas returns to conduct the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra for the first time since March 2020 with performances of his self-devised Suite from Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Mahler’s invigorating Symphony No 1 nicknamed the ‘Titan’.


Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Friday 3 – Tuesday 14 February, Milton Court Studio Theatre

Guildhall School alumnus Ashley Zhangazha returns to direct a new contemporary take on Shakespeare’s well-known tragedy, Macbeth. Focusing on the power-play between Lord and Lady Macbeth, Ashley Zhangazha’s fresh interpretation of one of the world’s best-known plays explores power, humanity and the supernatural, and the role of fate versus self-determination.

The Gift by Janice Okoh

Monday 6 – Thursday 16 February, Milton Court Studio Theatre

Award winning theatre-maker Ola Ince will direct Janice Okoh’s powerful work The Gift, which follows the narratives of Sarah Bonetta, an African girl adopted by Queen Victoria, on the eve of her return to Africa; and Sarah, a middle-class woman living in a Cheshire village, who receives a visit from her well-meaning neighbours. Janice Okoh’s work carefully examines imperialism, cross-racial adoption, cultural appropriation – and tea.

Dance Nation by Clare Barron

Monday 13 – Saturday 18 February, Milton Court Theatre

Dance Nation depicts the angst and the ecstasy of a troupe of pre-teens, a mixture of the frightened and the feral, thrust into a world of cut-throat dance competition. Directed by Paul Foster, this ferocious exploration of youth and ambition will see an army of competitive dancers preparing to take on the world, one routine at a time.

Attempts on Her Life by Martin Crimp

Friday 24 – Wednesday 29 March, Silk Street Theatre

A highly original and ambitious work, Martin Crimp’s Attempts on Her Life is a theatrical rollercoaster of twentieth-century obsessions. Emma Baggott returns to direct this work, which is described as both hilarious and shocking, featuring an intriguing array of nameless characters who attempt to invent the perfect story to encapsulate our time. 

The Mountains We Climb

Wednesday 29 – Friday 31 March, The Pit, Barbican

A collection of short, stand-alone solo performance works, written, directed and performed by final-year Guildhall actors. Elayce Ismail oversees as Dramaturg.


Dead Man Walking

Monday 27 February – Monday 6 March, Silk Street Theatre

Exploring questions of faith, redemption and justice, Dead Man Walking by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Terrence McNally has been heralded as of the most powerful and thought-provoking operas of recent decades. Based on the memoir of the same name by Sister Helen Prejean, it tells the true story of a nun’s journey as a spiritual advisor to a convicted murderer on death row. Martin Lloyd-Evans directs and Dominic Wheeler conducts this Guildhall School production.


Guildhall Studio Orchestra performs Scorched

Wednesday 11 January, 7pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

Scott Stroman directs Scorched, a collaboration between composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and guitarist John Scofield. The album’s title is a derivative of ‘Scofield Orchestrated’ – though the work goes beyond simple arrangement. Rather it is the synthesis of two composers’ highly individual but ultimately compatible musical worlds.

Guildhall Jazz Orchestra: Modern Masters

Thursday 16 February, 7.30pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

Guildhall Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Scott Stroman, present an eclectic programme of contemporary big band repertoire, including arrangements and compositions by Guildhall students.

Guildhall Studio Orchestra: The Unsung Voices of the Great American Songbook

Thursday 30 March, 7pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

Directed by Sam Gale, the Guildhall Studio Orchestra and American Songbook Company present a tribute to the unsung composers, arrangers and lyricists responsible for the creation of the Great American Songbook. Their programme celebrates some of the most influential American popular songs, musical theatre and jazz standards of the early twentieth century.

Guildhall Big Band celebrate Art Blakey

Friday 31 March, 7.30pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

The Guildhall Big Band, directed by Matt Skelton, pays tribute to drummer and bandleader Art Blakey in this season-closing concert. Performing arrangements by Scott Stroman, the programme is reflective of Blakey as a driving force during the bebop era, and his work with Monk, Bird and Dizzy to name but a few.

Children and Young People

London Schools Symphony Orchestra
Tuesday 10 January, 7.30pm, Barbican Hall

Dominic Wheeler conducts the LSSO in two world premieres of concertinos by alumni from the Centre for Young Musicians: Danyal Dhondy’s If We Shadows, featuring cello soloist Lucas Robson, and Joshua Borin’s At Every Turn with oboe soloist Amy Roberts. Bookending the concert is Sibelius’ evocative and personal tone-poem En Saga and Rachmaninov’s Symphony No 3, performed in the composer’s 150th-anniversary year.

Junior Guildhall Symphony Orchestra & String Ensemble
Saturday 25 March, 6pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

Julian Clayton conducts Junior Guildhall musicians in Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances, Vaughan Williams’ Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus, Khachaturian’s Spartacus Suite No 2 and Lalo’s Cello Concerto. Soloist Ellen Baumring-Gledhill, former winner of Junior Guildhall’s prestigious Lutine Prize and a string category finalist of the 2020 BBC Young Musician competition, joins for this performance.