• Four livestreamed concerts at London’s Southbank Centre, where the Philharmonia is Resident Orchestra, represents the Orchestra’s first performances on the Royal Festival Hall stage since 15 March 2020
  • Paid-for livestreamed concerts featuring Principal Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen [pictured], Principal Conductor Designate Santtu-Matias Rouvali, conductors Elim Chan and Pablo Heras-Casado, violinists Nicola Benedetti and Sergey Khachatryan, and soprano Julia Bullock
  • Additional BBC Radio 3 broadcast of concerts conducted by Rouvali (26 Oct) and Salonen (29 Oct) as a key part of the Southbank Centre’s Inside Out series
  • New free-to-air Philharmonia Sessions,filmed and recorded at Battersea Arts Centre and premiered on YouTube, featuring conductors Esa-Pekka SalonenJakub Hrůša, cellist Alisa Weilerstein and Stephen Fry as narrator
  • Newly programmed sessions follow tonight’s Philharmonia Session (17 September, 7pm, YouTube), featuring Nicola Benedetti performing The Lark Ascending and Paavo Järvi conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No.1
  • Autumn programme follows exceptional success of the Philharmonia Sessions format this summer, with 100,000+ viewers from all over the world tuning in for performances designed specifically for online audiences

The Philharmonia Orchestra today announces its full programme for October and November 2020: six online performances in two strands, encompassing livestreamed concerts, pre-recorded performances and radio broadcasts, as the Orchestra continues to build out its new digital performance schedule.

Philharmonia Sessions

The Philharmonia Sessions – a series of critically acclaimed free, pre-recorded digital performances, conceived and created especially for an online audience – will continue with two new releases, following three films this summer that have reached six-figure audiences in the UK and around the world, and drawn critical acclaim.

The next Philharmonia Sessions feature Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting Beethoven’s ballet score, The Creatures of Prometheus (24 November), in a dramatic format filmed at Battersea Arts Centre with Stephen Fry narrating a new script by Gerard McBurney. The project is adapted from the programme that Salonen would have opened with for the Philharmonia’s 2020/21 London Season.

Jakub Hrůša and cellist Alisa Weilerstein follow on 5 November, in an all-Dvořák programme featuring his Rondo and Silent Woods for cello and orchestra. Both Philharmonia Sessions will be premiered, free-to-view, on the Philharmonia’s YouTube channel.

Live from Royal Festival Hall

In October the Philharmonia Orchestra will perform on the Royal Festival Hall stage for the first time since 15 March 2020, in the first of four livestreamed concerts as part of the Southbank Centre’s autumn Inside Out series.

Featuring artists including conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Elim Chan and Pablo Heras-Casado, soprano Julia Bullock andviolinists Sergey Khachatryan and Nicola Benedetti, the four concerts will also be the Orchestra’s first paid-for, ticketed performances since before the COVID-19 lockdown. The live concerts will be streamed directly by the Philharmonia in the UK and via IDAGIO’s Global Concert Hall outside the UK.

Principal Conductor Designate Santtu-Matias Rouvali opens the series on 26 October with a programme of American music: Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring; Steve Reich’s Music for Pieces of Wood (with Rouvali as one of the five percussionists); Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks and Dances in the Canebrakes by Florence Price (1887-1953), an African-American composer whose works have been rediscovered in the last few years, as profiled by Alex Ross in the New Yorker.

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts Britten’s Les Illuminations (with soprano Julia Bullock) and Ravel’s Mother Goose (complete ballet) for the second concert on 29 October. Both Rouvali and Salonen’s concerts will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 alongside the audio-visual live stream.

On 12 November Elim Chan, who would have conducted the Philharmonia at Edinburgh International Festival this summer, leads a programme including Jessie Montgomery’s Strum and Sergey Khachatryan performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. In the final concert on 30 November, Nicola Benedetti returns in an all-Beethoven programme with conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and the Second Symphony as part of Beethoven 250 celebrations.

About the Philharmonia’s programme

Although the Philharmonia cannot yet perform for live audiences with this phase of activity, the Orchestra has begun to perform to socially-distanced audiences this autumn, at Garsington Opera’s production of Beethoven’s Fidelio, and plans are being developed for performances for live audiences at venues across the UK.

Alexander Van Ingen, Chief Executive of the Philharmonia, said: “We are thrilled with the success of our online Philharmonia Sessions series, and excited to announce a strong programme of concerts for the autumn. We are proud to have been the first UK symphony orchestra to create exceptional digital content this summer, freely available to an international audience, and now the first UK orchestra to return to live opera performance in partnership with Garsington Opera. Thanks to the generosity of the Philharmonia family of supporters, we have been able to weather the storm and continue to present superb performances for an audience across the country, and I am immensely grateful to our players for their dedication and brilliance as we adapt to new ways of presenting great music and continue to develop our performances across the UK.”

Access to the arts is a fundamental right. As such, the Philharmonia’s autumn season provides a mix of both free and ticketed online concerts so that everyone can experience the joy of classical music. The Philharmonia Sessions are free and for everyone, streamed via the Philharmonia’s YouTube channel. The Live from Royal Festival Hall series is ticketed with digital seats available for as little as £9.

This programme, along with the Orchestra’s ability to plan with ambition for the future is only made possible thanks to the vital support of Friends and Donors. During both the Philharmonia Sessions and Live from Royal Festival Hall series, the Philharmonia will ask those that can to make a donation in support of the Orchestra’s work and national reach.

At a time when the Orchestra cannot play live for audiences in its residency venues across the UK, supporters’ donations will keep the Philharmonia playing and secure the future of the Orchestra. For more information on how to support the Philharmonia please visit the website or contact development@philharmonia.co.uk.