Opera superstar Joyce DiDonato’s My Favourite Things
opens a season that includes:

Nicolas Altstaedt, Jamie Barton, Lucy Crowe, Jacqui Dankworth, Randall Goosby, Jake Heggie, Paul Lewis, Steven Osborne, Courtney Pine, András Schiff & Kathryn Tickell

BBC Concert & Symphony Orchestras, Britten Sinfonia, il pomo d’oro & London Philharmonic Orchestra

Harry Christophers, Mark Elder, Edward Gardner & Dalia Stasevska

English Touring Opera, La Serenissima & The Sixteen

Saffron Hall today announced the first half of its 2021/22 season with a feast of world-class artists and ensembles encompassing classical, jazz and folk in the award-winning concert hall built in the grounds of a state secondary school.

Angela Dixon, Chief Executive of Saffron Hall, said:
“The past eighteen months have been challenging for everyone, but it’s a testament to Saffron Hall’s staff and supporters that we are able to announce such a such a line-up of great artists and ensembles. We have been open throughout the pandemic, but we are looking forward to welcoming our audiences back to the atmosphere and joy of a full hall.”

Opera singers don’t come any starrier than American mezzo Joyce DiDonato who opens the season with My Favourite Things, a selection of baroque arias accompanied by her regular performing and recording partner, the period instrument ensemble il pomo d’oro under the direction of conductor/leader Zefira Valova [18 September].

Both of Saffron Hall’s Resident Orchestras – the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Britten Sinfonia return to perform twice this autumn. The LPO and its new Principal Conductor Edward Gardner perform Lili Boulanger’s D’un matin de printemps alongside Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 and Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto with Nicolas Altstaedt [2 October]. Sir Mark Elder then conducts Sir James MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio with Lucy Crowe and Roderick Williams the day after the work’s UK premiere [5 December]. Britten Sinfonia pair Mozart’s Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments with Mark Simpson’s Geysir, a 2013 work written as a direct response to Mozart’s music [10 October], before returning to perform Handel’s Messiah with conductor David Watkin, leader Thomas Gould and the Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge [18 December].

Other visiting orchestras include BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductor Dalia Stasevska performing William L Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony and Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto with Elena Urioste [19 November], and the BBC Concert Orchestra get 2022 off to a celebratory start with their New Year’s concert [2 January]. 

Three star pianists appear at Saffron Hall: Sir András Schiff gives a solo recital [10 November], and Paul Lewis and Steven Osborne present a four-hands recital of French repertoire following their acclaimed recording [28 November].

Violinist Randall Goosby performs a Young Artist Concert with pianist Jonathan Ware in a programme exploring music written by Black composers such as Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Florence Price [3 October]. Young Artist, Guitarist Michael Butten presents a programme of British works from the two Elizabethan ages [24 October].

Offering a new insight into the work of Beethoven, cellist Matthew Barley and pianists Ivana Gavrić and Tim West improvise in and around Beethoven’s sonatas, revealing a different perspective to one of the world’s most well-known composers [24 October].

Vocal music remains central to Saffron Hall’s programming and highlights include Jamie Barton’s recital with composer and pianist Jake Heggie,which includes works by Schubert, Florence Price, Brahms and Heggie himself [3 December]. Handel’s opera Amadigi is fully staged by English Touring Opera and The Old Street Band [30 & 31 October] and his Coronation Anthems are performed by Harry Christophers and The Sixteen [7 November].

Award-winning period instrument ensemble La Serenissima and director Adrian Chandler present an all-Vivaldi programme alongside soloists Claire Booth, Renata Pokupić and Jess Dandy [23 October].

Local talent is celebrated with performances by the Saffron Walden Choral Society performing Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem [13 November] and the Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra whoopen their new season with the world premiere of Der Trommler, a new work by Jacob Bride [27 November].

Jazz and Folk 
The unchallenged king of British jazz saxophone, Courtney Pine,returns to continue Saffron Hall’s jazz programming with a celebration of Afro-Caribbean musical heritage, that includes influences from merengue, ska, mento and calypso, inspired by Pine’s 2012 hit album House of Legends [26 November].

The jazz orchestra and Big Band sound is set to ring round the Hall as Jacqui Dankworth & Her Orchestra present numbers inspired by the music of the stage and silver screen [1 October], while the Glenn Miller Orchestra delights with original Miller arrangements from the 1940s [21 November]. The BBC Big Band brings ‘A Swinging Christmas’ conducted by Barry Forgie with singer Emer McParland [11 December].

Folk musician Kathryn Tickell is joined by The Darkening for a programme rooted in the tales and melody of Northumberland [16 October]. 

Thoughts & Talks 
Saffron Hall’s insightful‘Thoughts & Talks’series continues this season, opening with Amanda Owen, shepherdess and bestselling authorSharing stories from her book Adventures of the Yorkshire Shepherdess, audiences will get a unique insight into Owen’s life[17 October]. Michael Portillo – broadcaster, writer and political commentator – takes to the stage to share anecdotes and unrivalled insights [21 October].

Family Christmas Show
This year Saffron Hall will present their first ever pantomime. Families will be able to enjoy a magical Christmas production of The Wizard of Oz with a live band and professional cast [22-29 December].

Take Part 
There are plenty of opportunities to get involved this Autumn. Highlights include The Benedetti Sessions – with sessions for local primary schools, as well as opportunities for over 200 young string players. Together in Sound, offering music therapy for people with dementia and their companions in partnership with Cambridge Institute of Music Therapy Research at Anglia Ruskin University, resumes face to face sessions following 18 months of online activity. Saffron Hall’s creative community, Come Together, will collaborate with visiting artists and Saffron Walden Museum to unlock local stories through music, movement, words and performance.

Booking for autumn 2021/22 events opens Monday 23 August at 10:30am. For more information and to book tickets please visit the Saffron Hall website.