Wednesday 27 February 2019

Beethoven, Bridget Riley and Ravi Shankar: the Southbank Centre's 2019/20 season

Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
The Southbank Centre's recently announced 2019/20 season naturally has a strong concentration on Beethoven as part of the Beethoven250 celebrations, but alongside this there are contemporary musical responses to the Bridget Riley retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, a celebration of Ravi Shankar's centenary, the complete works of Edgar Varese, and premieres from Philip Venables, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Nico Muhly, Thomas Ades, Georg Friedrich Haas, Sally Beamish, Luke Bedford, Roxanna Panufnik, Jorg Widmann and more.

The Beethoven celebrations include Marin Alsop conducting the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and 400 performers in Beyond Beethoven, as part of an international mass-participation exploration of Beethoven's Choral Symphony. Another aspect of the exploration of scale is the re-creation of Beethoven's 1808 benefit concert, which took place in a freezing cold hall and lasted four hours and included the premieres of Symphonies five and six, the Fourth Piano Concerto and the Choral Fantasy, along with the concert aria Ah Perfido and movements from the Mass in C. The Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen will be re-creating the 1808 programme, though no doubt the hall's heating will be turned on for the modern audience..

The London Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing all of Beethoven's symphonies as part of its year-long Visions 2020 series, which places Beethoven alongside composers from 100 and 200 years after him. Whilst the Aurora Orchestra will be performing Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 from memory.

The Hayward Gallery's Bridget Riley retrospective will be complemented with performances of music responding to Riley's work, including Steve Reich's Drumming (which received its European premiere in the gallery in 1972), a new work from Georg Haas, music by Eliane Radigue and the London Contemporary Orchestra in Michael Gordon's Rushes for seven bassoons, and a recital from guitarist Sean Shibe exploring music from the lute to the electric guitar.

Ravi Shankar's centenary is marked by his daughter, Anoushka Shankar, becoming Associate Artist, the London Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing Shankar's final work, the opera Sukanya, Shankar's Symphony receives a performance, and there will be an exhibition of material from the family collection.

Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, will be presenting the complete music by Edgar Varese over a single weekend. Edward Gardner will be conducting Bergen Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra in Britten's Peter Grimes with Stuart Skelton in the title role.

Music Theatre Wales and the London Sinfonietta will premiere Philip Venables' new music-theatre piece Denis & Katya. Southbank Sinfonia performs music by Anna Meredith and Nicole Lizee. Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia premiere Mark-Anthony Turnage's Horn Concerto, marking the start of the orchestra's 75th anniversary. And George Benjamin conducts the orchestra in a programme of his music.  The London Philharmonic Orchestra will give the European premiere of Nico Muhly's organ concerto, and the UK premiere of Thomas Ades' piano concerto.

Full details from the Southbank Centre website.

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