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Barbican's Classical Music Spring highlights calendar (Jan -Jun 2023)





  • National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain kick-starts the new year with a performance of Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, Anna Clyne's mesmerising RIFT and Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra, conducted by Alexandre Bloch (4 Jan)
  • Contemporary quartet The Hermes Experiment collaborates with composer and turntablist Shiva Feshareki in a concert dedicated to the memory of artist and composer Mira Calix. The programme includes Oliver Leith’s Uh huh, Yeah, Stevie Wishart’s Eurostar – a journey between cities in sound, Mira Calix’s DMe, Jethro Cooke & The Hermes Experiment’s Metropolis and the premiere performance of a new Barbican co-commissioned work by Shiva Feshareki,  a cosmic dance of energy between acoustic and electronic sound, whirling and gliding around Milton Court. (26 Jan).
  • The beauty and fragility of our world are explored in a family concert of sound and storytelling, with the drawings of artist Grégoire Pont projected live alongside thrilling music from the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dalia Stasevska. (28 Jan)



  • Academy of Ancient Music performs JS Bach’s intellectual, technical and emotional tour de force, The Musical Offering BWV1079, written for King Frederick the Great of Prussia (3 Feb).
  • Britten Sinfonia brings a Delius rarity to Milton Court, recreating the composer’s colourful incidental music for James Elroy Flecker’s hit play Hassan. Posthumously staged in the West End in 1923, both play – and music – subsequently faded from view. Delius’s music is coupled with a new commission from Australian/Egyptian oud player and composer Joseph Tawadros and unusually, Vivaldi arranged for oud and strings. (10 Feb). 
  • Piano recital: Chopin piano competition winner Seong-Jin Cho plays a programme of Baroque dance music and the Romantic composers inspired by it, including works by Handel, Brahms, Schumann and Sofia Gubaidulina (13 Feb)
  • Barbican Artist Spotlight showcases the convention-breaking Moldovan violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. As well as a masterclass at Guildhall School of Music & Drama (15 Feb) and a recital, with pianist Joonas Ahonen (17 Feb), she joins the LSO for a performance of Ligeti’s complex Violin Concerto (16 Feb)
  • ECHO Rising Stars: German percussionist Vanessa Porter makes her London debut with a wide-ranging, high-octane journey through the contemporary percussion repertoire (16 Feb)
  • Soprano Nadine Benjamin is joined by Michael Harper (narrator) and Elizabeth de Brito (co-curator) on an uplifting journey through rarely heard historical and contemporary songs from America, Britain, the Caribbean and Europe, celebrating the richness and joy of black and mixed race stories and experiences (21 Feb)
  • The English Concert directed by Harry Bicket reconstructs Handel’s historic 1749 benefit concert for London’s Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity, of which Handel and Hogarth were supporters (28 Feb).



  • ECHO Rising Star Cristina Gómez Godoy brings the oboe into the spotlight,showing off its unique timbre in a wide-ranging programme, including a new ECHO commission by Charlotte Bray.(10 Mar)
  • Triangles made from rebar (steel rods used in concrete construction), weather-driven bells and harps, and pianos prepared with single use plastic waste take root amongst the 1,500 species of plants in the Barbican Conservatory in a new performance installation by Nonclassical reflecting on the climate crisis (12 Mar).
  • Pianist Evgeny Kissin gives a recital of music by Bach, Debussy, Mozart and Rachmaninov (15 Mar) 
  • Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla conducts City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in her first London concert as Principal Guest Conductor, including Vilde Frang in Elgar’s Violin Concerto (16 Mar)
  • Tenor Stuart Skelton joins BBC SO as the eponymous hero in Iain Bell’s retelling of the Old English epic, Beowulf (world premiere - (17 Mar).
  • LSO features in the first ever screening with a live orchestra of Arthur Bliss’s score to HG Wells/Alexander Korda’s 1936 science fiction film Things to Come. (26 Mar).
  • Arcangelo performs Handel’s Theodora, with Louise Alder in the title role (29 Mar).
  • Ian McEwan, best-selling author of Atonement, On Chesil Beach and Enduring Love, joins BBC Symphony Orchestra in a one-off event weaving readings from his own work with music that resonates with his words. (31 Mar).



  • ECHO Rising Stars: the Aris Quartett explores the emotional, dramatic and intellectual range of the string two masterpieces by Haydn and Mendelssohn and a new work that probes the neurology of music by Misato Mochizuki (7 Apr).
  • As part of a Spring 23 Barbican Artist spotlight, violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja explores the image of women - from saints to sinners - across 900 years of music, in Maria Mater Meretrix, a musical mosaic devised with singer Anna Prohaska. (16 Apr).
  • Gustavo Dudamel conducts his first UK concert as Music Director of L’Orchestre de l'Opéra national de Paris who make their UK debut with music by Messiaen, Haydn, Ravel and Richard Strauss. (22 Apr).



  • In poet Carol Ann Duffy’s 1999 poetry collection, The World’s Wife, the women behind the great men of history and legend set the record straight. Composer Tom Green’s opera of the same name, with libretto by Duffy, references neglected work by female composers. The Ragazze Quartet is joined by transgender opera singer, baritone Lucia Lucas for this staged performance. (2 May, with livestream).
  • UK premieres of two works by Kaija Saariaho - Saarikoski Songs, with soprano Anu Komsi, and Reconnaissance, with the BBC Singers - as part of BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Total Immersion day exploring the music of the Finnish composer, led by her compatriot, BBC SO Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo. (Note: NEW DATE: 7 May).
  • Laurence Cummings directs Academy of Ancient Music [AAM] and soloists including Sophie Juncker and Anna Dennis in Handel’s allegorical exploration of mortality: The Triumph of Time and Disillusionment (11 May). 
  • Piano recital: Hélène Grimaud plays three transcendental and powerful solo piano masterpieces: JS Bach/Ferruccio Busoni’s Chaconne, Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No 30 and Robert Schumann’s Kreisleriana (18 May)
  • BBC Singers perform Rachmaninov’s Vespers interwoven with music from different African traditions around the theme of evening and dusk with cellist Abel Selaocoe (19 May).
  • In the month of Charles III’s coronation, Britten Sinfonia revisits notable British music premieres from 1953, the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, including works by Maconchy, Walton and Tippett, alongside a new work by Joseph Phibbs (24 May).
  • The LSO and pianist Yuja Wang give the UK premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 3. (25 May)



  • Sir Simon Rattle in his final concerts as Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra before assuming the role of Conductor Emeritus, conducts some of his personal favourites and the world premiere of a new work by 96-year-old composer Betsy Jolas. (14 & 15 June).
  • Piano recital: Daniil Trifonov in a programme of musical fantasies, including works by Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Ravel, Schumann and Scriabin (16 June)
  • French orchestra, Les Siécles, makes its Barbican debut conducted by François-Xavier Roth in a programme of evocative 19th & 20th century French music (20 June).
  • In the 70th anniversary year of the first documented ascent of Everest, BBC Symphony Orchestra [BBC SO] gives the UK premiere of Joby Talbot’s opera EVEREST based on the 1996 mountaineering disaster in which eight climbers died when a sudden storm engulfed the summit of Mount Everest (23 June).
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin directs New York’s The Met Orchestra in its first UK appearance in over 20 years, with a stellar trio of soloists - Joyce DiDonato, Renée Fleming and Russell Thomas - in evocative music with a Shakespearean flavour (29 Jun).