Music: Big bands, Benedetti and Beethoven’s 250th birthday: TRCH announce 2019-2020 Nottingham Classics season

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Nicola Benedetti - Simon Fowler 2

After another successful season, with several acclaimed performances cheered to the rafters by packed houses, the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall Nottingham (TRCH) announces its 2019-2020 Nottingham Classics season.

The new season has Beethoven’s big anniversary year at the heart of its series, with four major concerts in 2020. It begins with Sir Mark Elder conducting Nottingham Classics’ resident orchestra, the Hallé, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on Saturday 29 February. The BBC Philharmonic’s new Chief Conductor, Omer Meir Wellber, makes his first Nottingham appearance with Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony on Friday 24 April, and Leeds International Piano Competition winner, the prodigiously talented young American, Eric Lu, makes his Nottingham debut with Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto on Thursday 11 June. One of the most enticing concerts in the season brings violinist Nicola Benedetti back to the Royal Concert Hall to perform with the Aurora Orchestra, also making their first appearance in Nottingham. They will be reprising their acclaimed BBC Proms performance in which they played Beethoven’s groundbreaking Third Symphony, the “Eroica”, entirely from memory. BBC Radio 3 presenter, Tom Service, will join conductor Nicholas Collon in an entertaining and interactive guide to the symphony, which promises audience participation.

Making the best use of the Royal Concert Hall’s world famous acoustic, the 2019-2020 season also includes several impressively scaled orchestral and choral classics. Mahler’s massive Third Symphony – more than 100 minutes long – gets a rare outing on Saturday 9 May, performed by the Hallé.  The enormous National Youth Orchestra will pack its 160 players onto the stage on Monday 6 January for Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony, a powerful musical dramatisation of the massacre at the Tsar’s winter palace in 1905, a pivotal event in the build up to the Russian Revolution of 1917. Sinfonia Viva performs Mozart’s darkly compelling Requiem, written in the last days of the composer’s life, on Friday 1 November, with Nottingham Harmonic Choir.

Leading international orchestras once again add their distinctive sounds to the season. The Moscow Philharmonic opens the season with larger-than-life maestro Yuri Simonov conducting a programme of Tchaikovsky, Khachaturian and Rachmaninov, whose fleet-footed 4thPiano Concerto is performed by popular British pianist, Peter Donohoe. Former BBC Young Musicians winner Laura Van der Heijdenmakes her Nottingham Classics debut with the Prague Symphony Orchestra, whilst the dazzling French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzetjoins his compatriot conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier for the first visit to the city by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

Neil Bennison, Music Programmer for the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall said, “Every Nottingham Classics season has its own character and this one has some really rich blends of music to enjoy. Popular favourites like Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony rub shoulders with rare gems like Martinu’s 1st Cello Concerto, and perennial favourites like Bruch’s 1st Violin Concerto will come up newly minted in the hands of mesmerising virtuosos like Canadian violinist, James Ehnes, who is coming to us for the first time. Beethoven obviously gives us a strong focus in the second half of the season, and there are some historic moments to savour, such as Tasmin Little’s final Nottingham performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (11 March) before she retires from performing at the end of the year.”

Nottingham Classics’ popular Sunday Morning Piano Series also looks in good shape with arguably its strongest line-up since it began in 2010. Chinese sensation, Ji Liu begins the season with a typically varied programme, whilst last year’s BBC Young Musicians winner,Lauren Zhang makes an eagerly anticipated first appearance with a recital of Schubert and Rachmaninov. The 2015 Leeds International Piano Competition winner, Anna Tsybuleva makes her Nottingham debut and acclaimed British pianist Tom Poster wraps up the series with music by Schumann, Grieg and Chopin.

Details of all Nottingham Classics concerts can be found at trch.co.uk/nottinghamclassics. General booking is now open with seats available from £11 – £37. Booking by phone (0115 989 5555) and in person is available from 9am to 8.30pm, Monday to Saturday, and 24 hours online at trch.co.uk.

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