The Barbican Announces Its Classical Music Season 2011-2012

Barbican Centre today announced its 2011-12 Classical Music season. At the core of the unrivalled programme are the Centre’s Resident and Associate Orchestras, the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, complemented by the first residencies of three Barbican International Associates: Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. The season – with an immense range of repertoire performed by leading international and national artists – begins in September 2011 and includes five world premieres, one European premiere and 23 UK premieres. Tickets go on sale online to Barbican members from Monday 24 January, and to the general public on Monday 31 January. The detailed listings can be seen here:

o London Symphony Orchestra – Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky series with Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev; completion of the Nielsen symphony and Beethoven piano concerto cycles with Sir Colin Davis and Mitsuko Uchida; complete Beethoven piano sonatas cycle at LSO St Luke’s; UBS Soundscapes: LSO artist portrait of Anne-Sophie Mutter; celebrations of Sofia Gubaidulina’s 80th, Steve Reich’s 75th birthday and a weekend centred around Honneger’s Jeanne d’Arc au Bucher with Marin Alsop
o BBC Symphony Orchestra – Complete Sibelius symphony cycle combined with contemporary Finnish music with conductors including Sakari Oramo, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Neeme Järvi; Dvorák’s The Jacobin with Jirí Belohlávek, Total Immersion days for Brett Dean, Arvo Pärt and Jonathan Harvey
o Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly – first International Associate residency with a Beethoven Symphony cycle and five UK premieres
o New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert – first International Associate residency with soloists Joyce DiDonato and Lang Lang; UK premiere of Barbican co-commissioned Polaris by Thomas Adès; Young People’s Concert with narrator Jamie Bernstein
o Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam – first International Associate residency with conductors Mariss Jansons, Bernard Haitink and Nikolaus Harnoncourt
o Awakenings: The Kronos Quartet in Residence
o Present Voices series featuring UK premieres of operas by Jonathan Harvey (Wagner Dream) and Philip Glass (Einstein on the Beach), and a European premiere by Gerald Barry (The Importance of Being Earnest)
o English-language oratorios Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Britten’s War Requiem, Handel’s Saul, Tippett’s A Child of our Time, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s The Seasons and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius
o Operas in concert Dvorák’s The Jacobin (BBC SO), Wagner’s Parsifal (Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra), Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito (Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie), Weber’s Der Freischütz (LSO)
o Singers including Dmitri Hvorostovski, Olga Borodina, Andreas Scholl, Renée Fleming, Simon Keenlyside, Gerald Finley, Anne Sofie von Otter, Ian Bostridge and Karita Mattila
o Pianists including Martha Argerich, Yefim Bronfman, Leif Ove Andsnes, Maria João Pires, Evgeny Kissin, Nelson Freire, Yuja Wang and Murray Perahia
o Violinists including Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos, Sarah Chang, Christian Tetzlaff, Nikolaj Znaider, Carolin Widmann, Gil Shaham, Daniel Hope, Isabelle Faust, Renaud Capuçon and Leila Josefowicz
o Conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Marin Alsop, Michael Tilson Thomas, Antonio Pappano, Kristjan Järvi, Oliver Knussen, Robin Ticciati, Gianandrea Noseda, Semyon Bychkov, Daniel Harding, Pierre Boulez, David Robertson, Edward Gardner, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Sir Andrew Davis, Yuri Temirkanov, André Previn and Tõnu Kaljuste

The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly’s first International Associate residency at the Barbican (25 October-3 November 2011) is built around a complete Beethoven symphony cycle, whilst in each of the five concerts the symphonies are combined with the UK premiere of a new work that responds to Beethoven’s music. Symphonies No 2 and 5 are performed together with a new work by Carlo Boccadoro, Symphonies No 1 and 7 with a new work by Steffen Schleiermacher, Symphonies No 8 and 3 with a new work by Colin Matthews, Symphonies No 4 and 6 with a new work by Bruno Mantovani, and Symphony No 9 with a new work by Friedrich Cerha.
The London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Colin Davis begin a complete Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle with Mitsuko Uchida on 26 May 2011 with a performance of the 2nd Piano Concerto. Coupled with Nielsen’s Symphonies, the series continues on 2 June with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 1, and into the 2011/12 season with performances in October and December. In addition to the concertos, a complete cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas is performed at LSO St Luke’s on each Thursday from 8 September – 24 November at 1pm by current and former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists Barry Douglas, Llyr Williams, Khatia Buniatishvili, Nicholas Angelich, Shai Wosner, and Elisabeth Leonskaja.

Two further complete symphony cycles of the season come from Finland and Denmark. The BBC Symphony Orchestra performs all the Sibelius symphonies with a distinguished line-up of conductors including Neeme Järvi, Sakari Oramo and Jukka-Pekka Saraste. The symphonies are often complemented by contemporary Finnish music including Kaija Saariaho’s Leino Songs (with soprano Anu Komsi), Englund’s Ciacon: Hommage to Jean Sibelius and UK premieres of Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Towards the Horizon and Kalevi Aho’s Trombone Concerto. The cycle spans six concerts between 28 October 2011 and 10 May 2012. The BBC Symphony Orchestra also explores some of Sibelius’ songs and rarely performed incidental music to Belshazzar’s Feast in a concert conducted by Edward Gardner on 10 December.

Sir Colin Davis began his Nielsen symphony cycle with the LSO in 2009 and continues it from 2 October. Performed alongside Mitsuko Uchida’s Beethoven Piano Concertos, Sir Colin conducts the Orchestra in Nielsen’s Symphonies in October and December 2011. LSO Principal Flute Gareth Davis plays the Nielsen Flute Concerto on 9 November and LSO Principals perform the Nielsen Wind Quintet at LSO St Luke’s on 8 November in a UBS Soundscapes: Eclectica concert entitled The North alongside Norwegian ice percussionist Terje Isungset.
On 30 May 2012, acclaimed Finnish artists Esa-Pekka Salonen and Karita Mattila present a project showcasing contemporary Nordic music. Salonen conducts the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in a programme that includes the world premiere of a new violin sonata by Magnus Lindberg, the UK premiere of a new orchestral work by Salonen and the UK premiere of his violin concerto, performed by Leila Josefowicz.

Since Handel first forged the English-language oratorio out of elements of French classical drama, Italian opera, German Protestant oratorios and English anthems, it has held an enduring appeal to composers. Notable for often putting the chorus, rather than the soloists, at centre stage, the art form has been championed not only by English composers Elgar, Britten and Tippett, but also by Mendelssohn and Haydn, turning it into one of the richest strands of all choral music.
Opening the Barbican’s season of English-language oratorios the LSO and Sir Colin Davis give two performances of Britten’s War Requiem (9 & 11 October 2011) with a cast of singers that includes Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside and Sabina Cvilak. On 22 November 2011 The Sixteen and Harry Christophers perform one of Handel’s finest oratorio works, Saul, with singers Christopher Purves, Sarah Connolly, Sophie Bevan, Robert Murray and Elizabeth Atherton. Gerald Finley joins the BBC SO, conducted by Edward Gardner, for a performance of Walton’s opulent Belshazzar’s Feast on 10 December 2011. Possibly the most famous of all oratorios, Handel’s Messiah has become a Christmas institution. On 14 December 2011, the Academy of Ancient Music performs the work with Sarah Fox, Anna Stephany, Andrew Kennedy and Stephan Loges, with Richard Egarr conducting.
Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort & Players perform Haydn’s secular oratorio The Seasons (14 January 2012) with Christiane Karg, Allan Clayton and Christopher Purves. Choosing to dispense with a narrator, Mendelssohn’s Elijah passes the dramatic action to the characters. On 7 March 2012, Andreas Delfs conducts the Britten Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia Voices with Simon Keenlyside, Lucy Crowe, Anna Stephany and Andrew Kennedy. Michael Tippett’s A Child of our Time arose from the horrors of the Second World War and its message that we must acknowledge our own dark qualities and not project them onto the Other is still urgent and powerful. The BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Chorus are joined by Sir Andrew Davis on 23 March for a performance with soloists Nicole Cabell, Karen Cargill, Matthew Rose and Toby Spence. Although Elgar never termed The Dream of Gerontius an oratorio it bears many of the traits of the genre, not least in its scoring, for orchestra, chorus and soloists. The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform the work (commissioned by and premiered at the Birmingham Music Festival in 1900) on 14 April 2012 with Sarah Connolly, Toby Spence, James Rutherford, conducted by Andris Nelsons.

Valery Gergiev began his cycle of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies with the LSO on 18 January 2011 and continues it with performances in March, May, September and November. On 21 September the 2011/12 LSO season launches with an all-Tchaikovsky gala programme featuring winners from the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition held in July 2011, in the first major concert to be held outside Russia with the winners under the new direction of Valery Gergiev. On 30 November Gergiev conducts the LSO and Anne-Sophie Mutter in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and he conducts Symphony No 6 Pathétique on 23 February 2012. Gergiev returns to Tchaikovsky on 15 July when Renée Fleming sings the Letter Scene from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in a concert which also includes the Overture to Romeo and Juliet.
The LSO and Gergiev begin an exploration of the music of Igor Stravinsky in May 2011. 11 May sees performances of Stravinsky’s Mass and The Firebird (complete ballet), alongside his violin concerto with soloist Leonidas Kavakos. On 13 May, Gergiev conducts the LSO Chamber Orchestra in semi-staged performances of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale and his one act opera Renard. The Rite of Spring and Stravinsky’s mammoth opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex are performed on 15 May. On 17 May the LSO Chamber Orchestra performs a chamber programme of Stravinsky’s jazz-inspired works at LSO St Luke’s. The Orchestra continues Gergiev’s Stravinsky in the 2012/13 season.
Gergiev celebrates the 80th birthday of his compatriot Sofia Gubaidulina in November 2011 with the LSO. On 24 November the Orchestra is joined by bayan (accordion) player Geir Draugsvoll for the UK Premiere of Gubaidulina’s concerto for the instrument, Fachwerk. The LSO and Gergiev are joined by Anne-Sophie Mutter on 27 November for a performance of Gubaidulina’s In tempus praesens for violin and orchestra. The work is dedicated to Mutter and she performed the UK premiere with the LSO in 2007.

CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL – Total Immersion, Present Voices, Kronos Quartet residency
The BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Total Immersion days, devoted to outstanding living composers, focus in 2012 on Jonathan Harvey (28-29 January), Brett Dean (17 March) and Arvo Pärt (28 April). Total Immersion features talks, films and encounters with the composers themselves as well as a range of performances – from small scale chamber works to full blown orchestral concerts and opera – designed to show the full gamut of the composers’ output. Particular highlights for Jonathan Harvey include his seminal work for orchestra and electronics Madonna of Winter and Spring, the London premiere of his recent Messages for chorus and orchestra and the long-awaited UK premiere of his opera Wagner Dream. For Brett Dean highlights include the award-winning violin concerto The Lost Art of Letter Writing and the UK premiere of his latest large-scale work for orchestra, Fire Music (a BBC co-commission), while the Arvo Pärt day offers a rare chance to explore some of his early symphonies alongside his more recent music, including the Berliner Messe and Nunc Dimitus, which show how much his style has changed.
The Barbican’s biennial series of new opera Present Voices features two UK premieres and one European premiere in 2012. Connecting up to the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Total Immersion day, Present Voices begins with the UK premiere of Jonathan Harvey’s third opera Wagner Dream (29 January 2012), which was first performed in 2007. The work is set in the final moments of Wagner’s life. At the heart of it is the clash of two cultures, recalling Wagner’s ideas about writing an opera about Buddhism. The European premiere of Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest (based on the text by Oscar Wilde, co-commissioned by the Barbican together with the Los Angeles Philharmonic) takes place on 26 April 2012. The work’s world premiere is in Los Angeles on 7 April 2011. Following the success of his one-act opera La Plus Forte, which had its UK premiere at the Barbican in June 2010 (LSO conducted by Thomas Adès), the Irish composer’s fifth opera is performed at the Barbican by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, conducted by Thomas Adès. The cast includes the remarkable Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan who featured in La Plus Forte to great critical acclaim. Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach is widely credited as one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20th century and launched its creators Robert Wilson and Philip Glass to international success when it was first produced at the Metropolitan Opera in 1976. The opera will be reconstructed for a major international tour that includes the first UK performances in the Barbican Theatre 4-13 May 2012.
The Kronos Quartet is known for pursuing a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. The ensemble’s residency Awakenings in January 2012 includes a concert at the Hackney Empire entitled Made in America, featuring music by Bryce Dessner, Missy Mazzoli, Terry Riley and Michael Gordon, as well as a staged version of Black Angels by George Crumb. “Awakening: A Musical Meditation on the Anniversary of 9/11”, a special programme marking the anniversary of the events of 9/11, is a musical meditation with works from several countries, including the title composition from longtime Kronos collaborator, Uzbek composer Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky. Other composers featured on the programme include Argentines Osvaldo Golijov and Oscar-winner Gustavo Santaolalla (from the film Darkness 9/11), Americans Michael Gordon and Terry Riley, Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen and Canadian composer John Oswald. Further programme highlights are works from Iraq, India and Sweden. The third concert is called Early Music and will include arrangements of music by Hildegard von Bingen, Alfred Schnittke, Henry Purcell and Rahul Dev Burman.

Release issued by: Barbican press office


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