Preview: The Barbican Classical Music Season 2013-14

Image by M@.

The Barbican has announced the bill for its 2013-14 classical music season.From Monteverdi to Benjamin Britten, baroque opera to the very best of the contemporary classical music scene, we’re spoilt for choice.

At the core, as always, are the Centre’s resident and associate orchestras, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The programme also includes the Academy of Ancient Music, Britten Sinfonia, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam.

Highlights from the season include:

  • Principal conductor Valery Gergiev of the LSO tackles Berlioz in autumn 2013 and Scriabin in spring 2014. Yuja Wang gives three concerts with the orchestra and a solo piano recital in February 2014. This 25-year-old pianist combines spontaneity and fearlessness with discipline and maturity; a celebrated star in the music world and winner of countless awards, her international schedule mean she’s rarely in London, so catch her while she’s here.
  • Sakari Oramo leads the BBC Symphony Orchestra in six major performances, opening with a world premiere of a new work by Tristan Murail and Mahler’s epic Symphony No 1 (2 November), and closes with two concerts in May featuring contemporary violin concertos. For those who think louder is better, this incredible orchestra of over 80 players will fill the night with crescendos, excitement and goosebumps on par with any rock concert.
  • The Academy of Ancient Music celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2013, and its London appearances for the season will be exclusively at the Barbican. Highlights include a performance of L’Orfeo, marking the start of AAM’s three-year cycle of Monteverdi’s operas, and performances of Haydn and Mozart at Milton Court Concert Hall, the exciting new 608-seat venue open from September.
  • Maxim Vengerov, a concert violinist from Russia, features throughout the season in various guises: as a soloist and director with the Polish Chamber Orchestra (18 November), as a recitalist (10 January) and chamber musician (17 January), and as a soloist in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (28 February). One of the most celebrated violinists in the world, witness the brilliance of this musical prodigy who started playing aged 5 and practiced 7 hours a day.
  • In November 2013 the Barbican will celebrate Britten’s centenary with a two-week festival. With Britten Sinfonia playing a key role, the festival includes an exquisite staging of Curlew River, dance set to Britten’s music performed by Richard Alston Dance Company, and a performance of Albert Herring by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
  • The BBC Symphony Orchestra’s monthly Total Immersion days are a chance to hear the best of new and emerging music, with concerts, talks and other events. In a first for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, a single work will get the Total Immersion treatment: from 22 September, Stravinsky’s Rites of Spring, this year marking the centenary of the work’s riotous first performance in Paris, will be explored throughout a day of events. If you’ve ever wanted to get your teeth into this cult ballet (an 80’s band even adopted the name) this is the perfect opportunity.
  • Not to be outshone is the ECHO Rising Stars series, which showcases exceptional young artists from around the world. Each year a small number of young artists are nominated by their home country and given the prestigious opportunity to perform in a tour of the major concert halls of Europe. This year the showcase includes a German jazz trio, a Hungarian pianist, a Greek clarinettist and a French string quartet. This is a wonderful opportunity to catch artists who will be shaping the musical landscape of the future.

The season opens this September. Tickets are now on sale to Barbican members, with the general public release on 4 February.

By Tamara Vos

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