Royal Academy of Music welcomes in-person audiences from November, featuring more than 50 performances and 10 masterclasses

  • Concerts in September and October livestreamed for free on YouTube
  • Booking is essential for in-person performances from November, with many concerts available for free
  • Mark Elder conducts Sibelius, and the Bach series continues with performances of the St John Passion and Christmas Oratorio
  • Royal Academy Opera double bill of Puccini and Ravel, and a Musical Theatre Company showcase celebrating Jerry Herman
  • 29 performances from the ongoing 200 PIECES series, 200 new solo works composed to celebrate the Academy’s Bicentenary in 2022

A full autumn term of performances at the Academy begins with livestreams in September and October. From November, staff and students are looking forward to having guests back in the building for the first time in over 18 months, for events including the Autumn Piano Festival, symphonic concerts, jazz, opera and musical theatre. Many performances in the second half of term are free to attend, with booking required via the website from 15 September.

Performances in September and October will be livestreamed for free on YouTube, building on the success of our online concerts which, in the last year, have reached a global audience of over 200,000 people.

Curated by Head of Piano, Joanna MacGregor, this year’s Autumn Piano Festival is titled The Art of Transcription (3 Nov, free). This theme is examined across five recitals, which include performances of piano transcriptions of music by Strauss, Wagner, Mahler and Rachmaninov. MacGregor performs a lecture-recital of her own transcriptions of early music from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, contrasted with treatments of jazz pieces by Mary Lou Williams, Piazzolla and Nina Simone (3.30pm). The festival ends with a performance of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale in a new version transcribed by Academy pianists and featuring actors from Drama Centre London (5pm).

We are pleased to be joined again by Sir Mark Elder, the Academy’s Barbirolli Chair of Conducting, who directs an all-Sibelius programme (5 Nov, 1pm, £8). Scholar, conductor, and Visiting Professor of Historical Performance Philippe Herreweghe returns to the Academy to conduct Bach’s St John Passion (7 Nov, 11.30am, £20). Towards the end of term, Iain Ledingham conducts a performance of parts 1, 2 and 6 from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (5 Dec, 12 noon, £20). All three concerts take place in the historic Duke’s Hall at the Academy’s Marylebone Road home.

Last year Tamara Stefanovich was appointed as Visiting Professor of Chamber Music and, for her first engagement in post, has programmed a Chamber Music Festival of modern repertoire, held over four events in the Duke’s Hall (9-10 Nov, free). The concerts spotlight music by Kurtág, Ligeti and Bartók, alongside four premieres from our 200 PIECES series of solo compositions written to celebrate the upcoming Academy Bicentenary in 2022. Further highlights from our 200 PIECES series in this period include world premieres of music by Brett Dean, Gwilym Simcock and Roxanna Panufnik.

The Academy’s contemporary music group, the Manson Ensemble, performs a programme featuring the world premiere of The Ancient Yew by Academy PhD student Louise Drewett, alongside music by Kaija Saariaho, Lisa Illean and Gavin Higgins (19 Nov, 6.30pm, free). We are also pleased to be resuming the side-by-side concerts in which Academy students perform with professional ensembles. This term our instrumentalists are working with the Nash Ensemble at Wigmore Hall (13 Nov, 1pm, £5) and at the Duke’s Hall with Brass Ensemble in Residence Septura (26 Nov, 1pm, £8).

The Jazz Department hosts the award-winning saxophonist and composer Jason Yarde, who leads the Academy Big Band in a concert featuring his music, conducted by Head of Jazz, Nick Smart (12 Nov, 8pm, £12).

Royal Academy Opera welcomes audiences back to the Susie Sainsbury Theatre for a double bill production of Ravel’s L’heure espagnole and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi (23-26 Nov, 7pm, £35). These complementary one-act operas are directed by Stephen Barlow and conducted by Alice Farnham.

The Musical Theatre Company presents two showstopping performances of ‘Hello Jerry!’ A Celebration of Herman in the Susie Sainsbury Theatre, (6 Dec, 2.30pm and 7.30pm, £15). This showcase of music by Broadway composer Jerry Herman, best known for his musicals Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles, wraps up the autumn term in style.

The Academy is particularly delighted to welcome back some of the world’s best musicians for a series of 10 masterclasses throughout November and December including Ning Feng, Simone Lamsma, Adrian Brendel and James Ehnes. These are open to the public, with tickets priced at £5.

Prior to our in-person events, during September and October the Academy will livestream over 25 performances, including a ‘Bach the European’ series concert directed by Rachel Podger (10 October, 12 noon), Edward Gardner conducting symphonic music by Joseph Howard and Tippett (15 October, 1pm), and ensemble repertoire led by Lorenza Borrani, Jörgen van Rijen and Clio Gould. These performances will be available to watch for free via the Academy YouTube channel.