The Southbank Centre and its family of six Resident Orchestras have announced its Autumn/Winter 2023/24 programme. Continuing to bring the greatest symphonic, chamber music, and recital repertoire to the stages while championing classical music for the 21st century by presenting new works and unique experiences, the Autumn/Winter programme features a host of established and emerging talent.
New artist residencies from Patricia Kopatchinskaja, including a dramatic music theatre production of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and chamber music featuring international collaborators, and Randall Goosby, exploring Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, interspersed with spoken word including original poems inspired by folk songs and spirituals in the Purcell Room, with a return for Manchester Collective
Monumental choral works in the Opening Weekend from the Philharmonia Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra including Verdi’s Requiem and Mahler’s Symphony No.2 conducted by Principal Conductors Santtu-Matias Rouvali and Edward Gardner, kicking off a programme of major symphonic repertoire
Significant projects in the Contemporary Edit including Ligeti 100, marking György Ligeti’s centenary, featuring Pierre-Laurent Aimard in recital, and in concerto with London Sinfonietta; Aurora Orchestra perform a new orchestration of Manu Delago’s music, and new commissions and premiere performances throughout the year for Jasmin Kent Rodgman and Elaine Mitchener
Ambitious new experiences from returning Resident Artists Manchester Collective with a classical club night of music from titans of minimalism including Steve Reich and Philip Glass, an immersive surround-sound installation by Peter Gregson, and Paraorchestra’s The Anatomy of the Orchestra: Drone Refractions, in addition to The Multi-Story Orchestra’s RPS award-winning The Endz
Inspiring concerts exploring the full history of classical music from Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, who stage a new community opera featuring young people from Camden, and Chineke! Orchestra with Joan Armatrading; plus international guest Michael Barenboim leading the West-Eastern Divan Ensemble
Piano recitals including Víkingur Ólafsson with Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Benjamin Grovesnor, Imogen Cooper, and Katia and Marielle Labèque, and chamber music from our Resident Artists with guests Reto Bieri, Polina Leschenko, and Zhu Wang, in addition to The Bevan Family Consort including Sophie and Mary Bevan, and Michael Collins joined by close collaborators
Toks Dada, Head of Classical Music at the Southbank Centre, said: “Classical music is an incredible, centuries-long story. As we share that story with audiences today, we’re creating as many ways for as many different people as possible to experience this wonderful art form. We once again open Autumn/Winter 2023/24 with an exciting weekend that encapsulates the incredible breadth of classical music today, building on the success of our first Opening Weekend last year – during which we welcomed over 10,000 people across our spaces, many of whom visited the Southbank Centre for the very first time.
Our Resident Artists Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Randall Goosby and recent RPS Award winners Manchester Collective are finding new ways to showcase work from the great classical music tradition, using their vision and artistic excellence to breathe new life into these works. Meanwhile, with our Resident Orchestras, we continue our commitment to celebrating the classical music canon, expanding it by championing unheard work and new commissions, whilst also collaborating on ambitious projects. With this programme, we’re ensuring that classical music finds its way into the hearts of more people.”
Mark Ball, Artistic Director at the Southbank Centre, added: “This new season represents our commitment to presenting monumental works by our Resident Orchestras alongside projects that embrace innovation and point to the future. Whilst we must continue to celebrate the extraordinary classical canon, I’m particularly excited that throughout this season we are presenting new works in new formats to new audiences and supporting artists who will define classical music for future generations to be bold and ambitious.”
Classical music is an integral part of the Southbank Centre, and the Opening Weekend will celebrate the full breadth of the art form today.
The weekend will feature two major choral works, with Resident Orchestra the Philharmonia Orchestra, performing Verdi’s Requiem (21 Sept, RFH), and Resident Orchestra the London Philharmonic Orchestra performing Mahler’s Symphony No.2 with soprano Sally Matthews, mezzo-soprano Christine Rice and the London Philharmonic Choir (23 Sept, RFH). Former Southbank Centre Resident Artist and star of 2022/23, Víkingur Olafsson, arrives in London launching his global Goldberg Variations tour (22 Sept, RFH). Returning Resident Artists, Manchester Collective, make their season debut with a double bill beginning with Different Trains, featuring work by Barber, Steve Reich, Cassandra Miller and a world premiere by Jasmin Kent Rodgman co-commissioned by the Southbank Centre and Manchester Collective (22 Sept, QEH). They will then move into the Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer for a classical-inspired club night featuring music from titans of minimalism including Steve Reich and Philip Glass.
The Opening Weekend will also feature organist Carol Williams in Mad Rush (23 Sept, RFH) with a programme of organ classics, jazz arrangements, and Williams’ own compositions, The Multi-Story Orchestra performing its RPS award-winning The Endz (23 Sept, QEH) telling the story of two friends torn apart by gang violence in London, and a new version of its immersive Living Programme Notes (24 Sept, Clore Ballroom) providing a deep dive into classical music for young people and their families. The Philharmonia Orchestra appears a second time during the weekend with a programme including Shostakovich’s Concerto for piano, trumpet & strings featuring pianist Seong-Jin Cho and the Philharmonia’s Principal Trumpet Jason Evans (24 Sept, RFH). The Hermes Experiment make their Opening Weekend debut (24 Sept, PUR), including a new work by composer Elaine Mitchener, commissioned by the Southbank Centre. Lastly, violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, one of the new Resident Artists for 2023/24, will close the weekend (24 Sept, QEH) with her international trio featuring clarinettist Reto Bieri, and pianist Polina Leschenko, with a programme including a new work composed by Kopatchinskaja herself.
Continuing to support established and emerging artists, the Southbank Centre’s artist residency programme provides a valuable platform for musicians to explore their craft and creativity. In addition to her Opening Weekend appearance, Patricia Kopatchinskaja will perform Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire over two nights (2-3 Dec, PUR) in a special theatrical staging of the work. Fellow violinist Randall Goosby also joins as a Resident Artist for 2023/24. His first performance includes pianist Zhu Wang (13 Oct, QEH), with whom he collaborated on his debut album, Roots. The pair return in the New Year alongside violist/narrator Jameel Martin and cellist Eddie Pogossian for a literary inspired concert ahead of the T. S. Eliot Prize, also held at the Southbank Centre, where they will perform works by Coleridge-Taylor, Perkinson and Previn interspersed with spoken word including original poems inspired by folk songs and spirituals (14 Jan, PUR). Finally, in addition to their appearance in the Opening Weekend, Manchester Collective will present LAD, an arrangement of Julia Wolfe’s LAD originally for nine bagpipes, alongside works by Bach and Steve Reich (27 Oct, PUR).
Further concerts, including appearances alongside Southbank Centre Resident Orchestras, and new Resident Artists will be announced later this year as part of Spring/Summer 2024.
Captivating concerts of symphonic works
In addition to their large scale Opening Weekend concert, the London Philharmonic Orchestra is joined by a slew of guest conductors and soloists including Anna Lapwood in Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No.3 with Julian Joseph performing his own improvisatory solos in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (22 Nov, RFH). Other highlights include welcoming new Composer-in-Residence Tania León, Principal Guest Conductor Karina Canellakis conducting Shostakovich’s Symphony No.8 (28 Oct, RFH), and Anja Bihlmaier conducting the overture of Wagner’s Flying Dutchman (27 Jan, RFH). The Philharmonia Orchestra has two Featured Artists this season, violinist Nicola Benedetti and soprano Julia Bullock. Nicola Benedetti joins under the helm of Christian Macelaru for an evening of Brahms, Nico Muhly and Rachmaninov (1 Oct, RFH). As part of the Philharmonia’s series Let Freedom Ring: Celebrating the Sounds of America, Benedetti returns with Principal Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali (9 November, RFH) with a programme of Duke Ellington, Gershwin, and Wynton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto, violinist and conductor Leonidas Kavakos performs Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Dvořák’s Symphony No.8 (5 Nov, RFH) and Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts Mitsuko Uchida in his first return since stepping down as Principal Conductor (25 Jan, RFH).
Chineke! Orchestra makes its first appearance of Autumn/Winter 2023/24 with an evening of Haydn, Bologne, Beethoven (15 Oct, QEH) before returning with singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading for the world premiere of her Symphony No.1 (24 Nov, QEH). The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment appears at the Southbank Centre with a concert framed by symphonies from the beginning and end of Haydn’s career, tracing his passage from young trailblazer to one of the greatest composers in the world (25 Oct, QEH), as part of a theme around beginnings and endings, examining our notions of catalogues, completeness and musical stories. In addition, BBC Concert Orchestra perform Sibelius’ Symphony No.7 alongside Nyman and Lopez (12 Oct, QEH), while Royal Philharmonic Orchestra appear with their Music Director Vasily Petrenko presenting a programme including Elgar’s Symphony No.1 (29 Oct, RFH).
The West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, led by Michael Barenboim, will return to the Southbank Centre with repertoire by Carter, Mendelssohn and Beethoven (11 Nov, QEH). The ensemble draws upon players of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, founded in 1999 by Daniel Barenboim and the late Palestinian literary scholar Edward W. Said to promote coexistence and intercultural dialogue. An equal number of Israeli and Arab musicians form the base of the ensemble, together with members from Turkey, Iran and Spain.
New work and major 20th century figures in the ‘Contemporary Edit’
Alongside performances from The Hermes Experiment and Resident Artists Manchester Collective, the Contemporary Edit continues to champion new work of the 21st century alongside major voices of the 20th century in classical music. A day-long celebration of György Ligeti will see pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard perform a solo recital of Ligeti’s Etudes, his Chromatische Phantasie and Musica Ricercata (14 Oct, QEH) before Aimard joins Resident Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, in the evening to perform Ligeti’s Piano Concerto (14 Oct, QEH). In addition to concerts, there will also be a series of free talks and events exploring Ligeti and his work (14 Oct, QEH Foyer). The following month, the London Sinfonietta hosts 21st Century Voices featuring extracts of Henze’s Voices song cycle, originally commissioned by the group in 1973, with new protest songs and new commissions from Tanya Auclair, Anna Korsun, Riikka Talvitie, Charles Uzor, Tyshawn Sorey and Mariam Rezaei (25 Nov, QEH). Resident Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra, will collaborate with acclaimed Austrian percussionist Manu Delago in a brand-new orchestration of his 2021 album Environ Me, dubbed Environ Us, with animations by Ola Szmida (11 Oct, QEH). The Philharmonia Orchestra’s hugely popular free Music of Today events continue, including a concert featuring the music of Canadian composer Ana Sokolović (19 Oct, PUR). To close the Contemporary Edit, Resident Orchestra London Sinfonietta marks its 56th anniversary with a special concert featuring a mix of new commissions and classic chamber repertoire written specially for the ensemble over the years (24 Jan, PUR).
Beyond the Opening Weekend with Manchester Collective and The Multi-Story Orchestra, Autumn/Winter 2023/24 features a wealth of eye-opening ways to experience classical music. In another exciting double bill, the Carducci Quartet perform all four of Peter Gregson’s Quartets accompanied by Gregson himself on electronics (4 Nov, PUR) before Gregson, on cello, and the quartet are bolstered by additional string players in the Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer for a 360-degree surround sound experience (4 Nov, QEH Foyer). Part sound installation, part immersive concert, Paraorchestra will present The Anatomy of the Orchestra: Drone Refractions where audiences will be able to walk amongst the players creating their own unique mix during the performance including reconfigurations of John Cage’s Seventy-Four and Pauline Oliveros’ The Last Time (26 Jan, CBR).
For families, in addition to The Multi-Story Orchestra’s next instalment of Living Programme Notes during our Opening Weekend (24 Sept, Clore Ballroom) and later in the year (26 Nov, QEH Foyer), the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s FUNharmonics event explores Stravinsky’s Firebird (29 Oct, RFH) while the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s OAE Tots concerts return (14 Jan, RFH) as well as a special community opera (17 Jan, QEH). A reworking of The Fairy Queen, combining Purcell’s 1692 work with an original score by James Redwood and libretto by Hazel Gould (the team behind OAE’s community opera, The Moon Hares, from 2022), the piece is designed to be performed in any location. For its London performance, it will include performers from Acland Burghley School, Camden and around the UK.
Intimate chamber music and piano recitals
In addition to performances by Resident Artists Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Randall Goosby, The Bevan Family Consort including Sophie and Mary Bevan perform sacred choral music (26 Nov, QEH), and clarinettist Michael Collins is joined by pianist Andreas Haefliger and the Talich Quartet for a concert of late Brahms works (13 Jan, QEH). Meanwhile, breathtaking piano recitals will see the likes of Benjamin Grovesnor performing works by Bach, Gubaidulina, Liszt and Chopin (18 Oct, QEH) and Imogen Cooper with repertoire featuring Bartók, Dowland and Thomas Adès’ Darknesse Visible, based on the Elizabethan lute song by John Dowland, In Darknesse Let Me Dwell (1 Dec, QEH) while Katia and Marielle Labèque close Autumn/Winter 2023/24 with a programme of works for four hands and piano duo by Debussy, Schubert, Ravel and Philip Glass (28 Jan, RFH).