The Barbican announces its 2018/19 classical music season

Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla conducting the CBSO

The Barbican announces its 2018/19 classical music season.

At the core of its ambitious programme are the Centre’s Resident Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, Associate Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the Barbican Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia alongside the Barbican’s own-curated concert series, Barbican Presents. The Australian Chamber Orchestra returns as the Barbican’s newly appointed International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court. Throughout the season, Barbican programmes will be supported by creative learning work and through close collaborations with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Highlights of the 2018/19 Barbican classical music season feature:

Pioneering collaborations and special projects:

  • Director Peter Sellars returns with two contrasting staged productions, continuing and expanding on previous Barbican and LSO collaborations: a performance of Lassus’s a cappella Renaissance masterpiece Lagrime di San Pietro featuring the Los Angeles Masterchorale with conductor Grant Gershon; and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen with the LSO conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and featuring Gerald Finley, Lucy Crowe, Willard White, Sophie Burgos and Peter Hoare
  • To open their season the BBC SO join forces with Professor Brian Cox and conductor Ben Gernon to take a fresh musical and visual look at The Planets, 100 years since the landmark work received its premiere
  • A semi-staged performance of Purcell‘s Dido & Aeneas with the Academy of Ancient Music, concluding a three-year Purcell opera cycle, co-presented with the Barbican
  • Save the date: Sound Unbound returns in May 2019 in what will be the third iteration of the Barbican Classical Weekender, which gives audiences the chance to explore new sounds and rediscover familiar ones, from medieval to modern, in a relaxed festival environment
  • Marin Alsop conducts the LSO in two performances of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, on the same stage where Bernstein himself conducted the orchestra in this work in 1989
  • In the year that marks 100 years since the successful Parliamentary appeal for universal suffrage, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performs Ethel Smyth’s Mass in D, commemorating a composer who was herself a key member of the women’s suffrage movement.
  • Other Worlds – the London Contemporary Orchestra and Choir with conductor Robert Ames present the UK premiere of Giacinto Scelsi’s Uaxuctum: The legend of the Maya city, destroyed by themselves for religious reason, a piece depicting the end of an ancient civilization; alongside a performance of John Luther Adam’s apocalyptic piece Become Ocean, which is inspired by the Alaskan landscape and the composer’s preoccupation with climate change
  • Jóhann Jóhannsson: Last and First Men – a new multimedia work by the Oscar-nominated Icelandic composer, combining film – with narration by Tilda Swinton – and music, with the score performed live by the LSO and conductor Daníel Bjarnason
  • Enda Walsh and Donnacha Dennehy’s The Second Violinist – the Barbican presents the UK premiere of this modern opera telling the foreboding story of a life falling apart. Produced by Landmark Productions and National Irish Opera
  • Darbar Festival – the iconic festival of Indian classical music comes to the Barbican for the first time in Oct 2018

Premieres and new commissions:

  • Sir Harrison Birtwistle: Fanfare (world premiere) co-commissioned by the Barbican and the LSO for Sir Simon Rattle to open the LSO season and a new work (world premiere), a Barbican and LSO co-commission to be performed in May 2019
  • UK premiere of Alain Altinoglu’s arrangement of a suite from Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, performed by the BBC SO and conducted by Sir Andrew Davis
  • Die Stadt ohne Juden/The City Without Jews (1924): A Dystopian Prophecy of Intolerance – a live screening of the restored silent film directed by H K Breslauer with a new score by Olga Neuwirth (UK premiere), co-commissioned by the Barbican
  • Roderick Williams, Milton Court Artist-in-Residence programmes for the baritone’s residency will include the world premiere of a new song cycle by Ryan Wigglesworth as well as the UK premieres of a new work by Williams himself and by composer Bob Chilcott performed by the BBC Singers
  • Sunleif Rasmussen: Quadroforone (world premiere, commissioned by the Barbican) and a new work by Anahita Abbasi (UK premiere), both performed by harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani
  • BBC SO present world premieres by Richard Causton, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Gavin Higgins and Paweł Szymański, and a number of UK premieres by Thomas Larcher
  • The LSO gives world premiere performances of works by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Sir James MacMillan, and two young composers who have been part of the Orchestra’s new music development programmes, Liam Mattison and Donghoon Shin

For the Fallen: Marking the First World War Centenary:

100 years since the guns fell silent, For the Fallen looks to a future haunted and shaped by the past, with a series of concerts by living composers that bridge the century between that moment and now.

  • 4 Nov 2018 - The LSO gives the world premiere of the orchestral version of Sir James MacMillan’s All the Hills and Vales Along, a work which sets poetry by WWI poet Charles Sorley who was killed in action in 1915
  • 9 Nov 2018 - Britten Sinfonia gives the world premiere of a new orchestral version of Nico Muhly’s poignant The Last Letter, settings of last letters to loved ones sent by soldiers on both sides of the conflict.
  • 10 Nov 2018 – The BBC SO’s Total Immersion: In Remembrance World War 1 will feature talks and music inspired by the First World War, culminating in a performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera The Silver Tassie based on a play by Seán O’Casey
  • 11 Nov 2018 - The BBC Singers and their new Chief Conductor Sofi Jeannin perform two new contemplative works: a Barbican and RIAS Kammerchor co-commission for Roderick Williams; and, to coincide with the centenary of Wilfred Owen’s death, Bob Chilcott’s setting Move him into the sun

Composer and Artist Focuses:

  • The BBC SO presents Total Immersion days dedicated to exploring the musical life and works of composers György Ligeti (2 Mar) and the Boulanger sisters – Lili and Nadia (6 Apr)
  • Diana Damrau sings Strauss – in recital with pianist Helmut Deutsch; in the Four Last Songs with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Mariss Jansons, and in the closing scene of Capriccio with the LSO under Gianandrea Noseda
  • Daniil Trifonov features in an LSO Artist Portrait performing with the Orchestra and in recital

Milton Court – programme and residencies:

  • Australian Chamber Orchestra and Richard Tognetti return in their first season as Barbican International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court
  • Baritone Roderick Williams will be the third Milton Court Artist-in-Residence
  • The BBC Singers offer a series of concerts including two performances with the Academy of Ancient Music of works by Lully and Rameau with Chief Conductor Sofi Jeannin, supported by the Aakash Odera Company (19 Oct) and Handel’s Israel in Egypt (10 May).
  • Two concerts by the Casals Quartet, including Hungariana, a day curated by creative director Gerard McBurney featuring three concerts of music by the towering trio of Hungarian composers Bartók, Ligeti and Kurtág
  • Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor and the Doric Quartet will appear at Milton Court in Feb and May 2019, in programmes featuring Chopin’s two piano concertos in the chamber versions

Visiting orchestras and ensembles:

  • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Ádám Fischer
  • Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra with conductor Mariss Jansons
  • Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with conductor Sir Antonio Pappano
  • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Music Director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla
  • Il Pomo d’Oro with conductor Maxim Emelyanychev
  • Collegium Vocale Gent with conductor Philippe Herreweghe
  • Les Arts Florissants with conductor William Christie
  • Le Concert Spirituel with conductor Hervé Niquet

Huw Humphreys, Head of Music at the Barbican, said: We are thrilled to launch our 2018/19 season, and what a season it promises to be! Alongside the programmes of our Resident and Associate orchestras and ensembles, we will feature visiting orchestras ranging from the Vienna Philharmonic to the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the stellar roll-call of guest artists includes William Christie, Diana Damrau, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and Yo-Yo Ma. Our joint seasons offer a vast array of newly commissioned work, imaginative collaborations and some of the best-loved works in the classical repertoire while our third Barbican Classical Weekender, Sound Unbound, will surprise and delight audiences in equal measure. I can't wait to embark on this new musical journey with our audiences and partners this autumn.

The 2018/19 classical music season opens in September 2018. Online and postal booking will open to Barbican Members Plus from 25 January 2018, Barbican Members on 29 January 2018 and to the general public on 2 February 2018. All telephone and in person booking will open on 21 February 2018. Detailed listings for the season can be found here:

Season Highlights from the Barbican, LSO, BBC SO, AAM, Britten Sinfonia and Guildhall School of Music & Drama:

Barbican Presents

Barbican Presents is the Centre’s own-curated classical music season, featuring the very best national and international artists.

As part of the Barbican’s 2018 Season, The Art of Change, Austrian contemporary music ensemble PHACE and conductor Nacho de Paz present the UK premiere of the Barbican co-commissioned Die Stadt ohne Juden/The City without Jews (1924): A Dystopian Prophecy of Intolerance, a live screening of the restored silent film directed by H K Breslauer with a new score by Olga Neuwirth for amplified ensemble and electronics, co-commissioned by the Barbican. This satirical dystopia shows the cultural and economic impoverishment of a city that succumbs to intolerance and expels its Jewish population. This Austrian expressionist film is disturbingly prescient in its depiction of the murderous anti-semitism in Vienna in the wake of the First World War. The political message of the film is more sharply articulated in this newly restored version.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra and music director Richard Tognetti arrive for their first season as International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court, presenting three very different concerts: Mozart’s last three symphonies; Mountain – a much praised collaboration with film-maker Jennifer Peedom – and a concert including music by Sufjan Stevens, Beethoven and Bartók, which also features rising Australian superstar soprano Nicole Car and musicians from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, who will be working with the ACO during their residency.

Diana Damrau sings Strauss sees the soprano in three concerts interpreting Strauss (in recital with pianist Helmut Deutsch, in the Four Last Songs with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Mariss Jansons and in the closing scene of Capriccio with the LSO under Gianandrea Noseda).

Two of Mahler’s greatest symphonies are performed by the mighty Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Ádám Fischer (Mahler Symphony No. 9) and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with conductor Sir Antonio Pappano (Mahler Symphony No. 6). Featured UK orchestras include the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus with Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla conducting a programme including Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and the London Contemporary Orchestra and Choir with conductor Robert Ames in a programme including the UK premiere of Giacinto Scelsi’s Uaxuctum: The legend of the Maya city, destroyed by themselves for religious reason (1969), a piece depicting the end of an ancient civilization; alongside a performance of John Luther Adams’ apocalyptic piece Become Ocean (2013), which is inspired by the Alaskan landscape and the composer’s preoccupation with climate change.

Further visits from international orchestras include four performances by featured Baroque Ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro, and conductor Maxim Emelyanychev, including two Handel operas with outstanding casts: Serse with Franco Fagioli in the title role and Agrippina with Joyce DiDonato leading the cast. The opera performances are complemented by concerts that put Handel in the instrumental context of his contemporaries: a concert featuring JS Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor with violinist Shunske Sato at St Giles Cripplegate and a concert including works by Platti, Durante, Tartini, Hasse, Corelli and Boccherini featuring former ECHO Rising Star cellist Edgar Moreau. 2018/19 also sees a rare UK performance by renowned French Baroque ensemble Le Concert Spirituel and conductor Hervé Niquet in a programme featuring Berlioz’s seldom performed Tristia, marking the 150th anniversary of the composer’s death. The programme also includes two Requiems composed to commemorate Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

Darbar Festival of Indian classical music comes to the Barbican for the first time, with featured artists including Parveen Sultana, Shahid Parvez, Meeta Pandit, Lalgudi GJR Krishnan & Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, Malladi Brothers, Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar, Sanju Sahai and Soumik Datta.

A semi-staged performance of Purcell‘s Dido & Aeneas with the Academy of Ancient Music concludes the three-year Purcell opera cycle, co-presented by the Barbican, following performances of The Fairy Queen in 2016 and King Arthur in 2017. Director Peter Sellars returns to the Barbican with two contrasting staged productions: A performance of Lassus’s a cappella Renaissance masterpiece Lagrime di San Pietro featuring Los Angeles Masterchorale with conductor Grant Gershon; and Janáček’s opera The Cunning Little Vixen with the LSO conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

Major Bach programmes in 2018/19 include St John Passion with Les Arts Florissants, who are returning with music director William Christie and a performance of the Mass in B minor with Collegium Vocale Gent under conductor Philippe Herreweghe.

Baritone Roderick Williams will be the third Milton Court Artist-in-Residence, featured in three concerts as composer, performer and teacher: A new specially commissioned work to commemorate World War 1 will be performed by the BBC Singers in November 2018. The residency then continues in Feb 2019 with the singer performing two concerts, with the programmes featuring Hugo Wolf’s An Italian Songbook and Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel as well as the world premiere of a newly commissioned song cycle by Ryan Wigglesworth in the final recital.

Featured Barbican chamber concerts include performances by the Leonidas Kavakos/Yo-Yo Ma/ Emmanuel Ax trio; the Emerson String Quartet and Lisa Batiashvili/Gautier Capuçon/Jean-Yves Thibaudet trio. The Casals Quartet will appear in two Milton Court dates in Feb 2019; the latter date – Hungariana: Bartók /Ligeti/ Kurtág – is a whole day curated by Gerard McBurney focusing on these Hungarian composers, and including pianist Tamara Stefanovich. Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor will appear with the Doric Quartet (in programmes featuring Chopin’s two piano concertos in the chamber versions) and in recital.

2018/19 also features a great line-up of celebrity recitals including pianists Evgeny Kissin; Arcadi Volodos; Khatia Buniatishvili and Murray Perahia; cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason accompanied on piano by his sister Isata Kanneh-Mason; violinist Joshua Bell; harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani with a programme to include excerpts from John Cage’s 'HPSCHD', the world premiere of the Barbican commissioned piece Quadroforone by Sunleif Rasmussen as well as the UK premiere of a new work by Anahita Abbasi. Featured artists in song recitals next season include tenor Ian Bostridge accompanied by pianist Sir Antonio Pappano in ‘Requiem’, a programme that reflects on the pity of war and the tragic loss of those called up from the fields to fight; a recital by soprano Measha Brueggergosman featuring a programme of some of the greatest French art songs and a recital by mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená and pianist Yefim Bronfman in a programme of Brahms, Mussorgsky, Shostakovich and Bartók.

The ECHO Rising Stars series returns to LSO St Luke’s, including a lunchtime recital by Barbican-nominated trombonist Peter Moore, LSO Principal Trombone.

Last and First Men is a new multimedia work by Oscar-nominated Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, combining film – featuring narration by Tilda Swinton – and music, with the score performed live by the LSO under conductor Daníel Bjarnason.

London Symphony Orchestra

The London Symphony Orchestra and its Music Director Sir Simon Rattle open their 2018/19 season at the Barbican with a bold programme affirming a continuing commitment to British music new and old on 16 Sep 2018 in the Barbican

Hall. The concert features a world premiere by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, a defining figure in British music since the 1950s, Mark-Anthony Turnage’s 1995 work Dispelling the Fears, Holst’s masterpiece Egdon Heath, and Britten’s Spring Symphony. It is the first concert in an ambitious 51-concert season which runs to the end of Jun 2019 and explores in a broad defining concept the roots, origins and the future of music. Simon Rattle conducts 16 concerts which explore the impact that different cultural traditions have had on music, from Eastern European folk music, through the British folk traditions in Grainger and Vaughan Williams, and on to the extraordinary impact of jazz. Gianandrea Noseda explores Russian identity in music, whilst continuing his cycle of Shostakovich’s symphonies, and conducts a Strauss programme featuring the soprano Diana Damrau in the final act of his last opera Capriccio. François-Xavier Roth looks at the extraordinary spread of music traditions from Europe at the turn of the 20th Century, and in one concert, three composers from the central European tradition who were each in the vanguard of modern music in their time, Haydn, Bartók and Ligeti. Roth also heads up the third edition of LSO Futures, the Orchestra’s new music festival which is centred around the young composers taking part in the LSO’s new music development programmes, and also features David Lang’s Public Domain, written for 1000 community voices and performed in the Barbican foyers. Michael Tilson Thomas, and Sir Mark Elder each explore American identity with music by the maverick Charles Ives, and Sir John Eliot Gardiner continues his Schumann retrospective with his completely fresh take on Romanticism. Verdi and Puccini are brought together with Ponchielli when Sir Antonio Pappano conducts non-operatic works by these three operatic giants and Barbara Hannigan is conductor and soprano in a programme featuring Berg’s Lulu Suite and music from Gershwin’s musical Girl Crazy alongside works by Haydn and Ligeti. Hannigan is also the soloist in Hans Abrahamsen’s Let me tell you, which is conducted by Simon Rattle in Jan 2019. The 15th Donatella Flick Conducting Competition will take place in Nov 2018 when conductors aged 30 and under compete for a cash prize and the position of Assistant Conductor with the LSO. The Competition’s final round, featuring violinist Vadim Repim, will be live-streamed from the Barbican for the first time on and YouTube. Bernard Haitink celebrates his 90th birthday conducting the LSO in Mahler and Bruckner in Dec 2018 and the LSO’s concerts marking the Leonard Bernstein Centenary come to a close in Dec, when Marin Alsop conducts two performances of Bernstein’s Candide, on the same stage where Bernstein himself conducted the work in 1989 with the LSO. The LSO’s Half Six Fix series which presents short, early-evening concerts will continue with four concerts this season, and there is a wealth of activity at LSO St Luke’s, the Orchestra’s music education and community centre. The season ends in Jun 2019, with the return of the artistic partnership of Simon Rattle and the director Peter Sellars with two staged performances of Janáček’s opera The Cunning Little Vixen.

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Opening the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s 2018/19 season with a (big) bang, conductor Ben Gernon and Professor Brian Cox join the orchestra to present Holst’s The Planets, 100 years to the day since the piece was first performed. The BBC SO’s Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo leads the orchestra in performances of landmark works, including Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 and Dvorák’s Symphony No.7. A number of key centenaries are marked, including the end of the First World War, the 100th anniversary of Polish Independence and the 100th anniversary of the death of Debussy. The BBC Symphony Chorus celebrates its 90th birthday with performances including Ethel Smyth’s rarely performed Mass in D, Bach’s Mass in B minor, Osavlado Golijov’s Oceana, Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ and works by Lili and Nadia Boulanger. The BBC SO’s acclaimed Total Immersion days return; the first exploring the centenary of WW1 including a performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera The Silver Tassie – based on a play about the First World War written by Seán O’Casey and David Lang’s Memorial Ground – performed in the Barbican foyers with members of the BBC Symphony Chorus and community choirs. Two further Total Immersion days focus on the music of György Ligeti (2 Mar) and the Boulanger sisters (6 Apr).The BBC SO’s commitment to new music and rarely-performed works continues with performances of works by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Thomas Larcher and Michael Tippett among others, while Stravinsky’s recently discovered Funeral Song, Op. 5 is performed following its world premiere earlier this year. The orchestra will also give the UK premiere of Alain Altinoglu’s arrangement of a suite from Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, conducted by BBC SO Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis. BBC SO Günter Wand Conducting Chair Semyon Bychkov returns, and there are debuts from some of the most exciting young conductors and instrumentalists performing today, including conductors Karina Canellakis, Cristian Macelaru, Joana Carneiro, pianist Pavel Kolesnikov and violinist Lisa Batiashvili. Former Principal Guest Conductor David Robertson conducts Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1, and three Principal members of the orchestra step forward as instrumental soloists, including the world premiere of Gavin Higgins’ Trombone Concerto performed by BBC SO Principal Trombonist Helen Vollam. Shostakovich Symphonies 1, 4, 5, 9 and 11 all feature during the season. The BBC Singers return to Milton Court for a series of four concerts, two of which will be led by their new Chief Conductor Sofi Jeannin. They also host three early evening concerts complementing the BBC SO’s programme that follows, as well as appearing with the BBC SO in the Barbican Hall and at Total Immersion days.

Academy of Ancient Music
Following the success of The Fairy Queen and King Arthur, the Academy of Ancient Music (AAM) opens its new season with Dido and Aeneas, completing a semi-staged Purcell opera cycle in co-production with the Barbican. Distinguished soloists including Christine Rice join forces with the Choir of AAM to perform this celebrated opera. AAM joins the BBC Singers, led by their new conductor Sofi Jeannin, for a programme of stellar music by Rameau and Lully in October, and again later in the season for Handel’s Israel in Egypt under the baton of Gergely Madaras. Superstar violinist Nigel Kennedy makes his AAM debut alongside Music Director Richard Egarr, performing Bach’s works for violin in a concert also featuring Thomas Gould in the Double Violin Concerto. Renowned clarinettist Michael Collins makes his AAM debut as soloist and director in a programme including Mozart’s much-loved Clarinet Concerto, playing a period instrument for the first time. Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major, a rediscovered masterpiece, is performed by Nicolas Altstaedt directing from the cello. Dutch virtuoso recorder player Lucie Horsch joins AAM for concertos by Bach and Vivaldi in a programme also featuring Bach harpsichord concertos with AAM’s Music Director, Richard Egarr. AAM and Richard Egarr present Handel’s rarely performed, outstanding Brockes-Passion on the 300th anniversary of the work’s premiere; a Good Friday performance from a terrific cast led by effervescent soprano Louise Alder. In association with The Grange Festival, AAM present Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in concert. Fresh from a new production, a cast of Europe’s brightest young artists will interpret this compelling tale of deceit and forgiveness.

Britten Sinfonia

Britten Sinfonia’s 2018/19 season as Associate Ensemble at the Barbican offers an outstanding line-up of guest musicians, conductors and composers, with concerts that draw intriguing lines between a wide array of music from across four centuries.

Two major Symphony Cycles provide the backbone to Britten Sinfonia’s 2018/19 Barbican Season. Britten Sinfonia and Sir Mark Elder’s four-year Brahms Symphony Cycle, which opened to widespread acclaim in 2017, offers a more intimate reading of Brahms’s symphonic work, in the spirit of how Brahms intended the works to be heard. The focus in 2019 is on Brahms’s Second Symphony. Tracing a line from Romanticism to 20th century evocations of poetry, love and nature, the symphony is performed alongside Delius’s rarely heard North Country Sketches, and Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Barbican Hall, 17 Jan 2019). Thomas Adès/Britten Sinfonia’s Beethoven Symphony Cycle reaches its conclusion in 2019 with Symphonies 7, 8 and 9. The symphonies are juxtaposed with works by Irish composer - and Beethoven devotee - Gerald Barry. Barry’s The Eternal Recurrence (a setting of Nietzsche for voice and orchestra) and Dead March (where melodies behave “as if everything is possible”) are the featured works in 2019 (Barbican Hall, 21 & 26 May 2019).

As part of the Barbican’s For the Fallen: Marking the First World War Centenary, Britten Sinfonia gives the world premiere of a new orchestral version of Nico Muhly’s poignant The Last Letter, settings of letters sent between soldiers on both sides of the conflict and their loved ones. The Western Playland, Ivor Gurney’s exquisite settings of poetry from AE Housman’s A Shropshire Lad, and compelling writings by Gurney and others who were profoundly affected by their experiences both on the battlefield and the home front complete a gripping programme of music and words (Milton Court Concert Hall – 9 Nov 2018).

Further season highlights include a Christmas performance of Handel’s Messiah with a stellar line-up of British singers, including Sophie Bevan, Iestyn Davies, Allan Clayton and Roderick Williams (Barbican Hall, 19 Dec 2018). Britten Sinfonia collaborates with Independent Opera on A Sheen of Dew on Flowers, a new cantata by Joby Talbot, settings of love poetry from across the ages, commissioned by Independent Opera (Barbican Hall, 11 Apr 2019) and teams up with Opera Rara and an international cast for a forgotten treat, exotically set in Ancient India: Donizetti’s daring Il Paria [The Outcast], conducted by Sir Mark Elder (Barbican Hall, 8 Jun 2019).

Guildhall School of Music & Drama

The Guildhall School and Barbican collaboration continues this season, beginning with the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performing Verdi’s Requiem with James Blair conducting and chorus master David Vinden (27 Sep 2018). The Orchestra returns to the Barbican Hall twice more: on 28 Nov 2018 with conductor Takuo Yuasa to perform a programme which includes Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring; and on 19 Mar 2019 for which repertoire and personnel are to be announced nearer the time.

Guildhall School musicians return with concerts as part of the BBC Symphony Orchestra Total Immersion days: In Remembrance World War 1 on 10 Nov 2018; Ligeti on 2 Mar 2019; and the Boulanger sisters on 6 Apr 2019. They also join the Australian Chamber Orchestra - who commence a three-year residency as International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court in partnership with the Barbican - with ACO’s director Richard Tognetti and Australian soprano Nicole Car in a programme of Bach, Beethoven and Bartók on 24 Oct 2018.

The LSO Platforms: Guildhall Artists concerts feature throughout the season, allowing senior musicians from the School to take to the stage before nine LSO concerts for performances of complementary repertoire: 14 Oct 2018; 1 Nov 2018; 13 & 20 Jan 2019; 14, 21 & 31 Mar 2019; 25 Apr 2019; and 30 May 2019. They also take part in three LSO Discovery Free Lunchtime concerts on 19 Oct 2018; 15 Feb 2019 and 17 May 2019 and join the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle in a concert of Bruckner on 20 Jun 2019.

Pianist Sa Chen returns as part of the Faculty Recital Series on 14 Nov 2018 whilst 2019 sees the turn of the singers in the Gold Medal: the final of the Guildhall School’s most prestigious prize takes place on 10 May 2019.

The 2018-19 season features:

Singers including Louise Alder, Sophie Bevan, Mary Bevan, Ian Bostridge, Measha Brueggergosman, Nicole Car, Karen Cargill, Allan Clayton, Alice Coote, Lucy Crowe, Diana Damrau, Iestyn Davies, Isabelle Druet, Franco Fagioli, Marcus Farnsworth, Gerald Finley, Nora Fischer, Barbara Hannigan, Peter Hoare, Elisabeth Kulman, Rowan Pierce, Brenda Rae, Christine Rice, Ashley Riches, Dorothea Röschmann, Matthew Rose, Carolyn Sampson, Albina Shagimuratova, Stuart Skelton, Nicky Spence, Sir John Tomlinson, Ailish Tynan, Carlo Vistoli, Elizabeth Watts, Roderick Williams.

Instrumentalists including Emanuel Ax, Lisa Batiashvili, Nicola Benedetti, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Yefim Bronfman, Katia Buniatishvili, Gautier Capuçon, Seong-Jin Cho, Michael Collins, Alexandra Dariescu, Soumik Datta, Jeremy Denk, Helmut Deutsch, James Ehnes, Mahan Esfahani, Isabelle Faust, Janina Fialkowska, Martin Fröst, Kirill Gerstein, Thomas Gould, Benjamin Grosvenor, Augustin Hadelich, Nicholas Hodges, Lucie Horsch, Steven Isserlis, Janine Jansen, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Leonidas Kavakos, Nigel Kennedy, Evgeny Kissin, Pavel Kolesnikov, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Yo Yo Ma, Alice Sara Ott, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Sanju Sahai, Shunske Sato, Tamara Stefanovich, Christian Tetzlaff, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Richard Tognetti, Daniil Trifonov, Simon Trpčeski, Alexei Volodin, Arcadi Volodos, Ashley Wass, Igor Yuzefovich.

Conductors including Thomas Adès, Marin Alsop, Harry Bicket, Martyn Brabbins, John Butt, Semyon Bychkov, Karina Canellakis, Joana Carneiro, William Christie, Sir Andrew Davis, Richard Egarr, Sir Mark Elder, Ádám Fischer, James Gaffigan, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Edward Gardner, Ben Gernon, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Sofi Jeannin, Kristjan Järvi, Lothar Koenigs, Cristian Macelaru, Michal Nesterowicz, Gianandrea Noseda, Sakari Oramo, Sir Antonio Pappano, Rafael Payare, Sir Simon Rattle, François-Xavier Roth, Michael Tilson Thomas, Alexander Vedernikov, Ryan Wigglesworth, Nikolaj Znaider.


Barbican Box Office: 0845 120 7550

Notes to Editors

For any further information, images or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Sabine Kindel, Senior Communications Manager – Music
t - +44 (0)20 7382 7090 / +44 (0)7917 535 711
e –

London Symphony Orchestra:
Kenny Morrison, Hatcham Communications

t - +44 (0)20 7207 9481

e –

BBC Symphony Orchestra:

Camilla Dervan, Communications Manager

t – +44 (0)20 7765 4714

e –

Academy of Ancient Music:

Elizabeth Townsend, WildKat PR

t - +44 (0)20 3422 3344

e -

Britten Sinfonia:

Sophie Cohen
t - +44 (0)20 7482 3466 / +44 (0)7711 551 787

e -

Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Rebecca Driver

t - +44 (0)20 7247 1894

e –

About the Barbican

A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.1 million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, Cinemas One, Two and Three, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory, conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.

The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia, Associate Producer Serious, and Artistic Partner Create. Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue Entertainment, Cheek by Jowl, Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark Company. The Los Angeles Philharmonic are the Barbican’s International Orchestral Partner, the Australian Chamber Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble.

About the London Symphony Orchestra
The LSO was established in 1904 and has a unique ethos. As a musical collective, it is built on artistic ownership and partnership. With an inimitable signature sound, the LSO’s mission is to bring the greatest music to the greatest number of people. The LSO has been the Resident Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in the City of London since it opened in 1982. Giving 70 symphonic concerts there every year. Through LSO Discovery, it is a pioneer of music education, offering musical experiences to 60,000 people every year. With the formation of its own recording label LSO Live in 1999 the LSO pioneered a revolution in recording live orchestral music. The LSO strives to embrace new digital technologies – having successfully moved into digital film, Blu-Ray Audio, downloads and streaming – and it continues to innovate with platforms such as LSO Play, a web-based video player that allows people to observe the Orchestra from different angles. The LSO is also a highly successful creative enterprise, with 75% of all funding self-generated.

About the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
At the heart of British music for over 80 years, the BBC Symphony Orchestra performs an exciting, distinctive and wide-ranging season of concerts at the Barbican in its role as Associate Orchestra, offering everything from works at the heart of classical music to world premieres from today’s finest composers. The BBC SO provides the backbone of the BBC Proms, performing around a dozen concerts each year, including the First and Last Nights. It performs throughout the world, and works regularly with its Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo, Semyon Bychkov, its Günter Wand Conducting Chair and Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis. Strongly committed to twentieth-century and contemporary music, it has given recent premieres of works by Harrison Birtwistle, Betsy Jolas, George Walker and Raymond Yui. Central to its life are recordings made for BBC Radio 3 during sessions at its studios in Maida Vale, London, some of which are free for the public to attend. The vast majority of its concerts are broadcast on BBC Radio 3, streamed live online, and a number are televised, giving it the highest broadcast profile of any UK orchestra. The BBC Symphony Chorus celebrate their 90th birthday throughout the 18/19 season with works including Ethel Smyth’s rarely performed Mass in D, J.S. Bach’s Mass in B minor, and Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ. As one of the UK’s finest amateur choirs, the BBC Symphony Chorus performs a wide range of challenging repertoire, much of which is broadcast on BBC Radio 3. They are the resident choir of the BBC Proms giving a number of performances each year including the world famous Last Night of the Proms. Among ongoing learning projects are the BBC SO Plus Family scheme, which introduces families to live classical music, BBC SO Family Orchestra and Chorus, Total Immersion composer events, and work in local schools.

The Academy of Ancient Music, under the direction of Richard Egarr, engages audiences across the world with historically informed performances of baroque and classical music. Creativity and spontaneity in performance is grounded in both scholarship and a constant exploration of music in its broadest cultural context. International in its outlook after more than forty years performing and recording, the AAM is established both in London and Cambridge as Associate Ensemble at London’s Barbican Centre, and Orchestra in Residence at the University of Cambridge. In 2017, AAM became Orchestra in Residence at the Grange Festival and Chiltern Arts, and Robert Levin was appointed as the orchestra’s inaugural Hogwood Fellow. Founded in 1973 by the late Christopher Hogwood and originally established as a recording orchestra, the AAM has an unrivalled catalogue of more than 300 CDs with phenomenal global outreach, and has achieved countless accolades including Brit, Gramophone, Edison and MIDEM awards. As part of AAM’s commitment in bringing lesser-known works to life, its in-house label AAM Records include both JS Bach’s St Matthew and St John Passions in their original versions, and most recently a set of sonatas by Dario Castello, a contemporary of Monteverdi. In 2010 AAM launched its education and participation scheme, AAMplify. With partnerships in Cambridge, London, Manchester and Cardiff, the orchestra’s outreach programme benefits large numbers of children and young people each year, and has ambitious future plans.

About Britten Sinfonia
Britten Sinfonia
is one of the world’s most celebrated and pioneering ensembles, renowned for the quality of its performances and an intelligent approach to concert programming that is centred on the development of its players. Unusually it does not have a principal conductor or director but chooses to collaborate with a range of the finest international guest artists from across the musical spectrum as suited to each particular project. Founded in 1992, the orchestra is inspired by the ethos of Benjamin Britten through world-class performances of the highest quality, illuminating and distinctive programmes where the old meets the new, and projects in the local community as well as in the world’s finest halls. Britten Sinfonia is Associate Ensemble at London’s Barbican Centre, Resident Orchestra at Saffron Hall, has long-standing residencies in Cambridge (where it is the University’s Ensemble-in Residence) and Norwich and makes regular guest appearances at UK festivals including the BBC Proms. Its blossoming international profile has recently included acclaimed tours to India and China. Britten Sinfonia is a BBC Radio 3 broadcast partner, and records regularly for Harmonia Mundi and Hyperion.

About the Guildhall School of Music & Drama
The Guildhall School is a vibrant, international community of young musicians, actors and theatre technicians in the heart of the City of London. Twice-rated No.1 specialist institution in the UK by the Guardian University Guide, and recently selected as one of the top ten institutions for performing arts in the world (QS World University Rankings 2016), the School is a global leader of creative and professional practice which promotes innovation, experiment and research, with over 900 students in higher education, drawn from nearly 60 countries around the world. It is also the UK’s leading provider of specialist music training at the under-18 level with nearly 2,500 students in Junior Guildhall and Centre for Young Musicians. The School is widely recognised for the quality of its teaching and its graduates, and its new building, Milton Court which opened in September 2013, offers state-of-the-art facilities to match the talent within its walls, ensuring that students enter their chosen profession at the highest level. Milton Court is part of the unique Guildhall School/Barbican partnership delivering world-class arts and learning.