B:Music have announce its 2023/24 Birmingham Classical Series at Town Hall and Symphony Hall, packed with superb orchestras, world class soloists and unmissable programmes. The new season will showcase some of the pinnacles of orchestral music as well as newer discoveries.
There will be a host of world class soloists, orchestras and conductors taking to Birmingham’s finest stages and, as always, B:Music continues its mission to reach new audiences across the West Midlands and beyond for the Symphony Orchestra of India, Sunday morning concerts with coffee and cake, and international household names such as Lang Lang performing on the world-famous Symphony Hall stage.
Nick Reed, Chief Executive said: “We’re delighted to present another full season of great orchestras, acclaimed soloists and exciting rising stars. As you’d expect, there are thrilling musical experiences on a grand scale – and they don’t get much bigger than Tan Dun’s action-packed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon played by the China Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra – but there are also more intimate and informal performances to enjoy.
“We hope this will be a season to remember. Whether at Symphony Hall, Town Hall or in the Jennifer Blackwell Performance Space, the B:Music team looks forward to welcoming our classical music audiences into our stunning spaces.” One of the world’s great figures in modern classical music, pianist Lang Lang comes to Symphony Hall in one of just a handful of UK dates this autumn (27 October).
Lang Lang is an artist who has had a profound effect as a pianist, educator and philanthropist, as well as an influential ambassador for the arts. He has given concerts the world over, played for billions of viewers at the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing and is a recent star of Channel 4’s ‘The Piano’, through all of which his charisma and artistry shone through.
This is an incredible opportunity to hear this magical performer live on stage. Bach’s magnificent Goldberg Variations were reputedly composed to soothe the insomniac Count Kyserlingk in his sleepless nights, and Bach crafts 30 variations on a beautiful aria to create a timeless masterpiece.
A wide array of leading soloists will perform in the new season including acclaimed British pianist and one of the all-time great performers of Franz Schubert’s music, Paul Lewis, who will perform Schubert’s final piano sonatas in Town Hall over the next year, taking in the joy and happiness to the tragedy and despair of Schubert’s short life (5 December and 11 April). The Belgian Sonoro Quartet (15 October) have been making waves throughout Europe with a busy schedule of over 40 concerts a year, coupled with a host of radio broadcasts and competition successes, not least, recognition at the Bartók World Competition for string quartets.
They will play in the Jennifer Blackwell Performance Space in the first of six ECHO (European Concert Hall Organisation) Rising Stars concerts. Their programme entitled Reflections looks to the past and the ‘father of the string quartet’ with Haydn’s radiant Sunrise quartet, and to the future with a new commission from the Belgian composer Annelies van Parys. The six ECHO Rising Stars Sunday recitals feature outstanding artists handpicked by the directors of Europe’s most prestigious concert halls.
Each musician or group embarks on an international concert tour of halls in the ECHO network, and B:Music venues Symphony Hall and Town Hall have been there since the series began in 1995. The other superb musicians who feature in the series are Mathis Stier (3 December), Sebastian Heindl (4 February), Axelle Fanyo (25 February), Sean Shibe (24 March) and Julia Púsker (28 April).
The Symphony Orchestra of India make a welcome return to Symphony Hall with a programme including Strauss’ rousing Rosenkavalier Suite and Stravinsky’s orchestral showcase Petrushka (1 December). With Zakir Hussain performing his new Triple Concerto, this is a chance to hear an outstanding evening of music at the very accessible price of £10 per ticket.
The Czech National Symphony Orchestra returns to Symphony Hall with the orchestra’s Principal Conductor Steven Mercurio and soloist Mark Bebbington, a musician of the rarest refinement and maturity, to perform one of the most popular piano concertos in the entire repertoire, Beethoven’s pivotal Emporer Concerto (21 May). With its mighty orchestral and piano writing, and with a sublime slow movement that plunges into the rhythmic energy of the rondo finale, this is Beethoven at his finest.
Symphony Hall is thrilled to welcome the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine as part of its biggest UK tour to date (24 October). One of the most distinguished European orchestras, it has achieved worldwide recognition through its many international tours, which include Europe, the US, Australia, and Asia.
This visit is particularly important, following the tragic invasion of Ukraine by Russia and ongoing war. With hostilities expected to continue for some time, it is vital the rich musical culture of Ukraine is continued to be supported. The Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra returns to Symphony Hall with a programme including Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2, the work that propelled Rachmaninov to stardom and has remained one of today’s most loved concertos (15 February).
Some of the most vivid and magical orchestral portrayals of fairy tales and stories are woven through this concert, providing the perfect showcase for the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra. Other highlights of the 2023/24 season include a performance by the China Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra (11 March) who open their sumptuous programme with a cello concerto created from the soundtrack of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, blending Chinese ceremonial and classical music, Western and Eastern instruments, in an action-packed drama.