Philharmonia announce their 2018/2019 season

We are spoilt in the UK and, truth be told, in London. Multiple orchestras, multiple venues, and lots of tempting delights.

There were three other season announcements yesterday – one from the London Sinfonietta who tempt us with a production of Stockhausen’s Donnerstag next year, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment who mark Armistice Day 100 years after the end of the First World War with a performance of Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem, the other from (don’t let on to the LPO) my favourites, the Philharmonia.

A complete package

Topline for me is the Philharmonia’s bold concert ticket offer. More quick-buy discounts offering up-close seats in the Festival Hall – ringside seats are a guaranteed way to get the most impact from a concert hall experience especially for newcomers. Ticket prices for 18 years and under are reduced to a flat rate of £8 (£6 concessions).

The Philharmonia are also staging concerts with new production lighting and including free programmes for the Philharmonia’s London concerts. That suggests someone at the Philharmonia is thinking about the complete package. I like that.


Artistically, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s words in today’s press release are a feisty call-to-arms: “We at the Philharmonia have a lively response for anyone who thinks that an orchestra is no longer a vital cultural force.”


Firm favourites

Camilla Nylund is the soprano soloist in Erwartung (27 Sep) and Salonen conducts Verklärte Nacht (30 Sep)

In October, a chance to see Rafael Payare (currently Ulster Orchestra Principal Conductor) conduct in London. I hear great things about him. I’ve seen him in rehearsals. Interested to see him work with the Philharmonia. Programme includes Tchaikowsky Piano Concerto No.1 and Sibelius 2.

In November, Also Leif Ove Andsnes – a must-see in part because fellow classical music blogger Fran Wilson is a particular far of The Leif and because of that I’ve got rather absorbed by his back-catalogue of recordings. I’ve never seen him live. He’s playing Brahms Piano Concerto No.1.

In March 2019 Xian Zhang conducts Brahms Violin Concerto and Shostakovich 5.

And my must-see if 90-year-old Herbert Blomstedt conducting Beethoven 6 and Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique (11 April 2019) and Beethoven’s Eroica (14 April 2019).

Thought-provoking introductions

Truls Mørk is the soloist in Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Cello Concerto, which is paired with Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra

Virtuoso Wu Wei plays the Sheng – an ancient Chinese wind instrument in a newly commissioned work by Ondřej Adámek.

Two new works including Peter Eötvös’s Multiversum (7 Feb) explores the nature of the universe, and Geoffrey Gordon’s new
concerto (20 Jan) featuring the Philharmonia’s Principal Bass Clarinet, Laurent Ben Slimane.

Beyond the concert hall, there’s a sonic installation collaboration with De Montfort University in the Purcell Room, an enhanced VR experience including the opportunity for up to six people to see and hear the VR recordings as a communal experience, plus it brings its schools concert programme Orchestra Unwrapped to the Southbank Centre on 29 November, adding to the already 31K pupils who have experienced it since the scheme’s launch in 2011.

Discover the complete listing for the Philharmonia’s 2018/19 season: September 2018 | October | November | December | January 2019 | February | March | April | May 2019 | June

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