Brett Dean is Composer in Residence 2019/20 at both Orchestre National de Lyon and Dresden Philharmonic
In 2019/20, Brett Dean holds concurrent titles of Composer in Residence at Orchestre National de Lyon and Dresden Philharmonic.
Both orchestras will feature Dean’s music widely across their seasons, with Lyon continuing into their 2020/21 season.
Lyon and Dresden are the latest in a long string of residencies for Dean. They consolidate the many strands of his unique artistic career as composer, conductor and viola player.
This week Siobhán Stagg and Karl-Heinz Steffens bring Dean’s arrangement of Debussy Ariettes oublieés to the stage for two performances at Auditorium de Lyon. Later this month the Dresden Philharmonic performs Dean’s Amphitheatre at the Kulturpalast.
Both orchestras have commissioned Dean’s new Piano Concerto Gneixendorf Music, A Winter's Journey, written for Jonathan Biss. The work will receive its German premiere on 14 and 15 March 2020, and French premiere in the 2020/21 season, having had its world premiere with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in February 2020.
Dean will also join the musicians of the Dresden Philharmonic for a concert of his chamber music on 8 June 2020, while Orchestre National de Lyon and Nicholas Collon present the French premiere of Dean's Shadow Music on 13 June 2020.
Nicholas Collon and Aurora Orchestra perform 'Symphonie Fantastique' staged and from memory – Berlioz as never experienced before!
Nicholas Collon and Aurora Orchestra performed Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique staged and from memory to riotous applause in London and also in Bremen, where their unique take on the work closed the Bremer Musikfest.
In the first half they accompanied Leonidas Kavakos in a glorious performance of the Beethoven violin concerto, their first collaboration with Kavakos. This was the second of two Intermusica-brokered concerts at major festivals in Germany, following the Rheingau Festival (with Nicola Benedetti) the week before. Audiences at Snape Proms and Saffron Walden were similarly enraptured.
“The playing had tremendous zest and, in the quieter passages, a pellucid beauty. Clearly these musicians had learnt Berlioz’ surreal masterpiece not just by heart, but with heart... I loved every minute.” The Times, 5 stars
“Berlioz’s music – and the man himself – was brought to colourful life in a rip-roaring performance... There were many memorable visual moments: the four glittering harps in the ballroom movement, which ended in a whirl of lights reflected from half a dozen glitterballs; then the musicians were fireflies beneath a glowing moon, lights illuminating from their wrists; and the Witches’ Sabbath had them in sinister paper masks, the stage lit blood red. Yet nothing upstaged the music, with Collon driving the tempos and encouraging characterful playing from wind and brass. The performance was as vivid to the ear as it was to the eye.” The Guardian
“Nicholas Collon seamlessly combined drama, emotion and structure. His breathtaking success was also due to the orchestra, who reacted with seismographic sensitivity to his gestures and laid at his feet a rich palette of dynamics and colours.” Kreiszeitung.de
All in the space of 7 days: International Touring team brings four major orchestras to the leading summer music festivals
Intermusica’s International Touring team will be kept busy this week as they bring two world-class orchestras to the BBC Proms: the Czech Philharmonic and NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover. In the same 7-day stretch, the team will tour the Oslo Philharmonic and Aurora Orchestra to Europe for the last of the 2019 summer festival performances.
Taking the recent British Airways strikes in their stride, the team welcome the Czech Philharmonic to London on Tuesday 10 September to perform their first Prom in five years, with Chief Conductor and Music Director Semyon Bychkov. Fittingly, the Orchestra will present a mixed programme of Czech-Russian repertoire including Smetana’s well-known Overture and three dances from his comic opera The Bartered Bride, and Shostakovich’s war-inspired Symphony No.8, described by the composer as a ‘poem of suffering’.
Three days later, Andrew Manze will arrive in London with the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover to give their debut BBC Proms concert. Their programme includes Bach, Handel and Beethoven, culminating in Beethoven’s revolutionary Fifth Symphony. It was announced earlier this year that Manze’s contract with the NDR, as Chief Conductor, would be extended until 2023, such is his successful rapport with the players and local audiences. Click here to watch Manze talk about the forthcoming Prom.
While Manze and the NDR enjoy the spotlight at the Royal Albert Hall, the Touring team is magically splitting themselves into three to coordinate two other tours on the very same day: the Oslo Philharmonic in Bucharest, and Aurora Orchestra in Bremen.
The Oslo Philharmonic, who celebrate their centenary this year, travel to Bucharest's Enescu Festival for concerts of Norwegian music, including the premier of Øyvind Torvund Symphonic Poem No.1: Forest Morning, and Greig Piano Concerto with Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes. Their second performance, on Saturday 14 September, is part of the festival’s 'Great Orchestras of the World' series; here they will perform Enescu Sinfonia Concertante for cello and orchestra with cellist Johannes Moser, and Tchaikovsky Symphony No.5.
Meanwhile in Germany, Aurora Orchestra appear in the finale of Musikfest Bremen. Led by founder and Principal Conductor Nicholas Collon, they will perform Beethoven Violin Concerto with Leonidas Kavakos alongside an ambitious memorised performance of Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, the latest in a series of remarkable performances in which Collon and the players eschew all scores. It is the first time that Kavakos will work with this innovative orchestra and promises to be an exhilarating conclusion to an intense week of global music-making.
Nicholas Collon announced as Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra from September 2021
The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra have today announced that Nicholas Collon will become their next Chief Conductor from September 2021. He will conduct a minimum of 10 weeks per season for an initial contract of three years, with an option of two additional years.
Collon succeeds Hannu Lintu and will be the first non-Finnish conductor to take on the role; other previous incumbents include Paavo Berglund, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Sakari Oramo. Collon takes on this new position in addition to his ongoing roles as Founder and Principal Conductor of Aurora Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne. He remains Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor at the Residentie Orkest in The Hague until his current contract expires at the end of July 2021.
Collon next performs with the Finnish Radio Symphony on 17 May 2019, conducting a programme of Julian Anderson Fantasias, Ravel Piano Concerto in G major with soloist Fazil Say and Berlioz Symphonie fantastique. All of the orchestra's concerts are streamed live and are available to watch online, including Collon's visit in 2017 which featured Prokofiev Symphony No.5. Click here to watch the concert.
Guesting highlights of Collon’s 2018/19 season so far have included the Orchestre National de France, Oslo Philharmonic and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony. On 11 and 12 May he makes his North American orchestra debut, conducting the Toronto Symphony in a programme of Mozart, Beethoven and Elgar.
Intermusica at the 125th BBC Proms
The BBC have announced the programme for the 125th BBC Proms, launching eight weeks of music-making of the highest quality, over 80 concerts and a host of world premieres. The festival also marks 150 years since the birth of Proms founder Sir Henry Wood and the 50th anniversary of the moon landings. As ever, Intermusica is well represented at the festival, with 24 artists taking part and our International Touring team bringing two world-class orchestras to the London stage. All concerts will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and several will be televised on BBC Four. See below for full details.
Mark Wigglesworth is joined by Nicola Benedetti and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain on 25 July. Wigglesworth conducts the London premiere of Lera Auerbach Icarus (2011) followed by Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet Suite. The concert will be televised on BBC Four on 28 July.
Simon Halsey and his numerous choirs feature throughout the Proms. On 29 July, the BBC Proms Youth Choir joins Omer Meir Wellber and the BBC Philharmonic for Haydn The Creation. Halsey then prepares the singers of the London Symphony Chorus and Orfeó Català as they join Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO to perform Walton Belshazzar’s Feast on 20 August. The concert will be shown on BBC Four on 23 August. Finally, more than 600 singers will unite for the European premiere of John Luther Adams In the Name of the Earth (2018) on 8 September.
On 2 August, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard perform Sir James MacMillan The Confession of Isobel Gowdie, which premiered at the Proms nearly 30 years ago in 1990. The concert will be televised live on BBC Four. MacMillan is currently celebrating his 60th birthday with a year of special performances – visit jamesmacmillan.co.uk to see the full MacMillan at 60 calendar.
Ben Gernon and the BBC Philharmonic (where he is Principal Guest Conductor) give two performances. On 5 August, Gernon conducts a programme of Malcolm Arnold Peterloo Overture, Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with soloist Alexander Gavrylyuk and excerpts from Tchaikovsky Swan Lake. They repeat the concert the following morning in a Relaxed Prom, in which the concert environment is adapted to better suit audience members with autistic spectrum conditions, sensory, communication or learning difficulties.
On 10 August, Lise Davidsen reunites with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra, with whom she recently recorded her highly anticipated debut album for Decca (out 31 May). She will sing Richard Strauss Op.27 Songs, which also feature on the album.
On 13 August, Martyn Brabbins conducts a special concert with personal significance: it features the world premiere of Pictured Within: Birthday Variations for M. C. B., a new take on Elgar Enigma Variations commissioned by the BBC to mark Brabbins’ 60th birthday. This unique work features a new set of variations by 14 living composers including Intermusica’s Brett Dean, Sally Beamish, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Dai Fujikura – plus one distinguished mystery composer to write the theme. Brabbins also conducts Elgar’s original Variations as well as Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music and Brahms Song of Destiny, featuring the BBC Singers and English National Opera Chorus. The concert will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Four on 8 September.
Also on the 13 August, Martin James Bartlett performs in a late-night mixtape concert, exploring the fringes of Minimalism and meditative listening. Joined by 12 Ensemble, Tenebrae and director Nigel Short, Bartlett will perform the slow movement from Bach Keyboard Concerto in F minor; Chopin Nocturne in D flat major, Max Richter Vladimir’s Blues and Peteris Vasks Fruits of Silence.
Andreas Haefliger returns to the Proms on 19 August for the world premiere of a new Piano Concerto written especially for him by fellow Swiss musician Dieter Ammann. He is joined for the concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo. This new work is co-commmissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Konzerthaus Wien, Lucerne Festival, Münchner Philharmoniker and Taipei Symphony Orchestra.
Singers Sofia Fomina, Marta Fontanals-Simmons and Thomas Atkins appear in Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s production of Mozart The Magic Flute on 27 August. Fomina stars in the concert staging as Pamina while Fontanals-Simmons sings Second Lady and Atkins takes the roles of Second Priest and First Man in Armour.
Richard Egarr returns to the Proms on 30 August to conduct the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (with whom he has a long association) Handel Jeptha, part of a cycle celebrating the composer’s works. The cast features Tim Mead as Hamor and Cody Quattlebaum as Zebul.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner completes his epic five-season Berlioz series on 2 September, conducting a performance of his opera Benvenuto Cellini with his Monteverdi Choir and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique.
On 10 September, Intermusica brings the Czech Philharmonic and Semyon Bychkov to the Proms. The concert features Smetana The Bartered Bride, the Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin and Shostakovich Symphony No.8.
Nicholas Collon and his Aurora Orchestra return to the Proms on 12 September presenting another eagerly anticipated major symphony from memory. This year they present Berlioz Symphonie fantastique in an immersive theatrical staging. Collon and the orchestra will give a repeat performance in a late-night Prom that same evening and BBC Four will record the first performance for broadcast on 13 September.
As the festival draws to a close, Intermusica’s International Touring team brings a second orchestra to London: on 13 September, Andrew Manze returns with his NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover for Beethoven Night, in which Manze conducts extracts from Fidelio and Symphony No.5, as well as music by Handel and Bach.
Nicholas Collon conducts Aurora Orchestra in London & Singapore
Nicholas Collon dedicates April to the Aurora Orchestra in two characteristically eclectic projects. Collon and the Orchestra first perform on 5 April at King’s Place when they premiere New York composer Missy Mazzoli’s double-bass concerto Darkness with Excessive Light, a co-commission with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. This concerto is rooted in Baroque idioms, but swirls with brooding intensity and relentless momentum. While Mazzoli’s music is very much the sound of the moment, it also harks back to the classical greats; she cites Beethoven as her ultimate musical love, and the Aurora Orchestra pair her concerto with Beethoven Symphony No.8.
Later in the month, Collon and his orchestra tour to Singapore with their Music of the Spheres programme, which they will soon record for Deutsche Grammophon. Performing with violinist Pekka Kuusisto, they present a programme of Mozart Symphony No.41 'Jupiter', David Bowie Life on Mars, Thomas Adès Violin Concerto and a new work by Max Richter.
Intermusica artists feature in the Southbank Centre's 2019/20 Classical Season
The Southbank Centre announced its 2019/20 Classical Season on 18 February, and Intermusica artists appear throughout. In addition to the Southbank Centre's world class annual programming, the new season also marks the start of Beethoven 250, the venue's year-long celebration of the composer's birth.
Southbank Centre Associate Artists Marin Alsop and Colin Currie both give multiple performances over the course of the season. On 9 November, Alsop conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Walton Belshazzar's Feast alongside Butterworth A Shropshire Lad and Elgar Enigma Variations. She then returns in April for Beyond Beethoven 9, in which she leads the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and a massed choir of 200 singers in two performances of Beethoven Symphony No.9 together with four new commissions between the movements of the symphony.
Beyond Beethoven 9 is part of All Together: A Global Ode to Joy, an initiative in conjunction with Carnegie Hall which take place on five continents with nine orchestras and sees the symphony reimagined as a “twenty-first century call for unity, justice and empowerment”. Read our full story on All Together here.
Currie first appears at the Southbank in the 2019/20 season at the International Chamber Music Series, recreating the premiere of Steve Reich Drumming at the Hayward Gallery with the Colin Currie Group on 6 and 7 December. He performs in the series again on 1 February 2020 alongside the JACK Quartet. Finally he joins the Philharmonia Orchestra for an Artist Portrait concert in their Music of Today series on 14 May.
Kirill Gerstein joins the London Philharmonic Orchestra in concert on 23 October to give the UK premiere of Thomas Adès Piano Concerto, performing under the baton of the composer himself. He then returns to the Philharmonia Orchestra on 13 February 2020 alongside Lahav Shani, who conducts Gerstein in Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini as well as Prokofiev Overture to War and Peace and Romeo and Juliet.
Daniil Trifonov also gives two performances at the Southbank Centre. On 31 October, he performs a solo recital of Schumann, Beethoven and Prokofiev at the Royal Festival Hall. On 22 March 2020, he joins Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony as the soloist for Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.4, part of Tilson Thomas' final season at the head of the orchestra.
In 2020 Lise Davidsen performs with the long-standing chiefs of both the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Vladimir Jurowski. On 19 March, she joins Salonen and the Philharmonia to sing Mahler Humeresken, a collection of settings of poems from Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Then on 4 April she performs Beethoven Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II with Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, part of the Beethoven 250 series.
Also appearing in the Southbank Centre's 2019/20 season are conductors Charles Hazlewood (28 September), Geoffrey Paterson (21 November), Andrew Manze (7 December), Mark Wigglesworth (4 February 2020), Emmanuel Krivine (14 February 2020), John Wilson (27 February 2020), Thierry Fischer (10 March 2020) and Nicholas Collon (16 May 2020); violinists James Ehnes (9 October) and Leonidas Kavakos (27 February 2020); singers Sofia Fomina (19 October), Susan Bickley (30 November), Mary Bevan (15 December), Susanna Hurrell and Simon Shibambu (15 January 2020), Patricia Bardon (1 February 2020), Joélle Harvey (20 February 2020) and Wallis Giunta (11 June 2020); pianists Andreas Haefliger (15 March 2020) and George Li (3 May 2020); and cellist Kian Soltani (27 February 2020).
Intermusica is proud to co-promote the International Chamber Music Series with the Southbank Centre, a relationship which has lasted for almost 30 years. Click here to read our full summary of the series in the 2019/20 season.
Click here for complete details for Southbank Centre's 2019/20 classical season.
Kian Soltani continues artistic residency with the Residentie Orkest & Nicholas Collon
Kian Soltani returns to the Residentie Orkest this month to continue his artistic residency with three concerts around the Netherlands from 1 March 2019. Soltani joins the orchestra to perform Tchaikovsky Variations on a Rococo Theme and Dvořák Silent Woods in The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht under the baton of the orchestra's Chief Conductor, Intermusica's Nicholas Collon. The concert in Rotterdam will be recorded for broadcast at NPO Radio 4 on 4 March.
Soltani began his residency in October, performing Elgar Cello Concerto at the Zuiderstrandtheater and Amsterdam's Concertgebouw to critical acclaim:
“Soltani plays with great ease, radiates enjoyment in playing, and blends seamlessly into the whole”
Nicholas Collon debuts with the Orchestre National de France
Nicholas Collon debuts with the Orchestre National de France on 14 February 2019, his first Parisian orchestra. He conducts the orchestra in at the Presences Festival, leading them in works by Pascal Dusapin, Wolfgag Rihm and Yves Chauris and Jörg Widmann in two concerts at the Maison de la Radio France. This follows his feted appearance last December at the Paris Philharmonie conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Shostakovich, Beethoven and Bernstein with Renaud Capuçon.
Collon makes another French debut in March, this time with the Orchestre National de Lyon who he conducts in a programe of Franck, Sibelius, Ravel and Stravinsky. Next season he returns to the Orchestre Nationale du Capitole de Toulouse.
Nicholas Collon makes Japanese debut with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra
Nicholas Collon makes his Tokyo (and Japanese) debut on 2 February 2019, joining the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra in their main series at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre. Collon conducts a programme of Stravinsky Pulcinella and The Firebird Suites and Haydn Piano Concerto No.11 with soloist Kit Armstrong.
Collon then makes his debut with the Orchestre National de France (the first Parisian orchestra he will have conducted) at the Auditorium Maison de la Radio on 14 and 16 February during the Presences Festival. In the first concert they perform contemporary works by Pascal Dusapin, Wolfgag Rihm and Yves Chauris, and in the second they present Jörg Widmann Babylon. This follows on from his hugely successful concert at the Paris Philharmonie last season conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Shostakovich, Beethoven and Bernstein with Renaud Capuçon.
Boris Giltburg performs Rachmaninov on tour with Nicholas Collon & the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra
Boris Giltburg joins Nicholas Collon and the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra this week to perform Rachmaninov’s rarely-heard Piano Concerto No.4 on tour from 10 January 2019. They give concerts at Bozar in Brussels, at the orchestra’s home at the refurbished Queen Elisabeth Hall in Antwerp, and in Aachen (Eurogress).
Rachmaninov wrote his fourth concerto once he had fled revolutionary Russia for the United States, and gave the first performance himself in 1927 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stowkowski, taking it to New York a few days later. The work incorporates many jazz elements, in homage to the composer’s new-found home. Collon precedes the concerto in this programme with Copland’s iconic American ballet Appalachian Spring. He closes with Dvorák Symphony No.7.
Intermusica artists welcome in the New Year
This year Intermusica artists Lahav Shani, Emmanuel Krivine, David Butt Philip, Valentina Peleggi and Nicholas Collon take part in concerts across Europe to welcome in 2019. Intermusica also brings the Royal Scottish National Orchestra to China to spread some traditional Hogmanay spirit.
Lahav Shani joins the Staatskapelle Berlin for at the city’s Staatsoper unter den Linden for concerts on 30 and 31 December. Shani begins at the piano for Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue, before conducting Weill Four Songs in an arrangement for trumpet and orchestra. The programme also features Tchaikovsky’s festive Nutcracker Suite followed by Duke Ellington’s big band arrangement of the popular ballet score.
Emmanuel Krivine helms the Orchestre National de France’s New Year’s Eve concert alongside soprano Measha Brueggergosman, who sings songs from Gershwin Porgy and Bess. Krivine also conducts Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker Suite and Johan Strauss Sans-Souci-Polka and Emperor Waltzes. Krivine, Brueggergosman and the ONF then go on to perform the programme in Aix-en-Provence and Grenoble on 2 and 3 January.
David Butt Philip joins Vladimir Jurowski and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin for their New Year’s Eve concerts, which take place on 30 and 31 December at the Konzerthaus Berlin. Butt Philip performs Beethoven Symphony No.9 alongside fellow soloists Genia Kühmeier, Vasilisa Berzhanskaya and Paul Gay.
Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra are joined for their New Year’s concerts by pianist Imogen Cooper. Collon conducts them in a programme centred around Vienna, featuring three Mozart works as well as waltzes by Johann Strauss.
Intermusica's International Tours department is also in action over New Year as they bring the Royal Scottish National Orchestra to China. The orchestra is joined for the tour by violinist Nicola Benedetti and perform a programme of works including Debussy March Ecossaise and Bruch Scottish Fantasy.
Valentina Peleggi celebrates the New Year Swedish-style on 5 January with the Gothenburg Opera Orchestra in their annual Twelfth Night concert and ball. She conducts Offenbach arias in a starry line-up headed up by Katarina Karneus.
Nicholas Collon conducts Peter Grimes at Oper Köln with Rebecca de Pont Davies
Nicholas Collon joins the Guerzenich-orchester in the pit at Oper Köln to conduct Britten's Peter Grimes from 25 November 2018. Collon is joined for the production by Rebecca de Pont Davies, who makes her house debut in the role of Mrs Sedley. The production is directed by Freddy Wake-Walker, and there are further performances on 28 and 30 November and 2, 6 and 8 December.
On 2 December Collon conducts Peter Grimes in the evening and a benefit concert at the Koelner Philharmonie with the Guerzenich Orchester (of which he is Principal Guest) in the morning with a programme of Adès, Bruch and Britten.
De Pont Davies is widely recognized for her Britten performances. She has sung Mrs Sedley for Opera North, Grange Park Opera, in Valencia and at the Liceu, Barcelona, in addition to Auntie Peter Grimes for English National Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin and her Glyndebourne debut in Death in Venice.
Nicholas Collon makes debut with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Nicholas Collon makes his debut with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra this month, conducting them at Oslo's Koncerthus on 30 August 2018.
Collon opens the concert with Liadov The Enchanted Lake, a tone poem premiered in 1909 which had its roots in an abortive attempt to write an opera. It is followed on the programme by Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with tenor Andrew Staples and horn soloist Hongpark Kim.
Collon brings the concert to a close with Shostakovich Symphony No.8, which like Britten's Serenade was written in 1943.
Nicholas Collon conducts memorised performance of Shostakovich Symphony No.9 at the BBC Proms
Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra return to the Proms this year on 6 August 2018 for a late night Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. They are joined once again by broadcaster Tom Service for Inside Shostakovich, an in-depth examination of the composer's Symphony No.9. Collon and Service reveal how the symphony was constructed, accompanied by extracts from the Auroras, before Collon conducts the whole work from memory. The concert continues with Shostakovich Piano Concerto No.2 with soloist Denis Kozhukhin.
Collon and the Auroras have become a Proms fixture, popular with the critics and public alike. Last season, they performed Beethoven's Eroica symphony from memory in "an astonishing feat of concentration" (The Times):
“gripping stuff… an astonishing feat of concentration. With Nicholas Collon favouring speeds ranging from zippy to hair-raising, there was virtuosity all around the band too…”
"a palpable sense of energised concentration and dynamic tension. This was lean and agile Beethoven, rhythms taut but not over-accentuated, Collon creating an elegant balance between strings and wind instruments."
Intermusica at the 2018 BBC Proms
The BBC Proms returns this year on 13 July 2018, and as ever there is a strong Intermusica presence at the festival. This year sees returns for artists including Marin Alsop, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, John Wilson, Colin Currie and Antoine Tamestit, while Intermusica also brings the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the Baltimore Symphony to the festival as part of the Proms' celebrations of the centenary of Leonard Bernstein's birth. All concerts are broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
On 15 July at 7pm, Colin Currie and Martin James Bartlett join an array of previous winners and finalists for a concert celebrating the 40th anniversary of BBC Young Musician. Currie performs Steve Reich Drumming – Part I with Colin Currie Group members and fellow BBC Young Musician competitors Sam Walton, Aiden Spillet and Owen Gunnell, while Martin James Bartlett performs in Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals.
Susan Bickley renews her relationship with the London Sinfonietta and Sir George Benjamin at 3pm on 21 July in a Prom at the Roundhouse in Camden. Bickley performs in a programme featuring a quartet of war-themed premieres as well as works by Stravinsky, Messiaen and Ives.
Simon Halsey leads the BBC Proms Youth Choir once again this year in concert with Donald Runnicles and the World Orchestra for Peace at 7.30pm on 21 July. They perform Shadow, a new, First World War-themed commission from Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. Also on the programme are Britten Sinfonia da Requiem and Beethoven Symphony No.9. Halsey returns in August for concerts with the London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle and in September with the City of Birmingham Symphony Choruses with Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
On 25 July, Ben Gernon returns to the Proms with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Gernon, the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, leads the BBC Philharmonic in the world premiere of Tansy Davies What did We See?, an orchestral suite from the composer’s recent opera Between Worlds. He also conducts Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 ‘Emperor’ with soloist Paul Lewis and Brahms Symphony No.2. The concert starts at 7.30pm.
Martyn Brabbins conducts the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales in a programme celebrating English composer Hubert Parry at 7pm on 27 July. Brabbins conducts Parry’s Symphony No.5 and Hear my words, ye people! alongside works by his pupils Vaughan Williams and Holst. Tai Murray is the soloist in Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending, while soprano Francesca Chiejina and bass-baritone Ashley Riches also feature.
Andrew Manze returns this year alongside the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducting the orchestra in a London-focussed programme at 7pm on 31 July. The concert opens with Haydn Symphony No.104 ‘London’, and after the interval Manze conducts Vaughan Williams A London Symphony.
On 5 August, Brett Dean joins Thomas Dausgaard and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra for their Brandenburg Project. Over two concerts, the orchestra presents Bach’s six Brandenburg Concertos alongside six newly commissioned companion works. Dean performs as viola soloist in the second concert at 7.30pm, while his Approach – Prelude to a Canon is one of the companion works.
Nicholas Collon and his Aurora Orchestra make their annual appearance in a late-night Prom focussing on Shostakovich at 10.15pm on 6 August. Joined once again by BBC broadcaster Tom Service, Collon and the Orchestra unpack the composer’s Symphony No.9 before performing it from memory. The concert also features Shostakovich Piano Concerto No.2 with soloist Denis Kozhukhin.
Intermusica renews its relationship with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Sir Antonio Pappano at 7.30pm on 10 August, bringing them to the Proms as part of the festival's celebrations for the Bernstein centenary (Bernstein was the orchestra's honorary conductor for a decade). Pappano conducts the composer's Symphony No.1 'Jeremiah' alongside Haydn The Creation - Chaos and Mahler Symphony No.1.
Renaud Capuçon appears at the Proms at 7pm on 16 August alongside the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in its debut appearance at the festival. Capuçon is the soloist for Ravel Violin Sonata No.2, which has been orchestrated by Yan Maresz.
Marin Alsop conducts the Proms Scratch Orchestra in two free concerts at Maida Vale Studios on 26 August. The Scratch Orchestra, made up of amateur musicians and members of the BBC Concert Orchestra, performs movements from Shostakovich Symphony No.5.
Joshua Weilerstein returns to the Proms at 7.30pm on 26 August to conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a tribute to Leonard Bernstein’s televised Young People’s Concerts. Utilizing words, projections and music, the concert features works including Stravinsky The Rite of Spring, Ligeti Apparations and Debussy La mer alongside works by Bernstein and Beethoven.
Wallis Giunta makes her Proms debut at 1pm on 27 August, leading a recital of works by Bernstein and his associates at Cadogan Hall. As well as works by Copland, Sondheim and Barber, the concert features the world premiere of a new song by British composer Bushra El-Turk, Crème Brûlée on a Tree, inspired by Bernstein’s recipe settings.
Marin Alsop returns to the Proms at 8pm on 27 August as Intermusica brings the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to the festival for a concert of Bernstein and Shostakovich with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique return to the Proms at 7.30pm on 5 September for a programme of Berlioz. They are joined by Antoine Tamestit, who performs Harold in Italy, while Joyce DiDonato sings arias from Le mort de Cléopatre and Les Troyens.
Russell Braun joins the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Peter Oundjian at 7pm on 6 September as the baritone soloist in Britten War Requiem. Braun performs alongside Erin Wall and Allan Clayton.
Nicholas Collon takes Aurora Orchestra to Paris for their debut
Nicholas Collon conducts the Aurora Orchestra in their debut at La Seine Musicale in Paris on 24 June with an all-Mozart programme, with the orchestra performing Mozart Symphony No.40 from memory. Cédric Tiberghien joins as soloist for Mozart Piano Concerto No.13 to complete the programme.
On 1 July, Collon conducts the orchestra again through a memorised performance of Mozart Symphony No.40 and Piano Concerto No.13 at Kings Place, alongside Stravinsky ‘Dumbarton Oaks’ and Boulez Mémoriale with Jane Mitchell, flute.
Louis Schwizgebel makes debut with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra & Nicholas Collon
Louis Schwizgebel makes his debut with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra this month, performing under the baton of Nicholas Collon on 10 May 2018. Schwizgebel performs Mozart Piano Concerto No.26 ‘Coronation’, which Collon follows with Mahler Symphony No.10.
Schwizgebel can also be seen in recital at Week-end Musical de Pully in Switzerland on 4. His programme features Schubert Allegretto in C Minor and 4 Impromptus, and Chopin 24 Preludes.
Collon also performs in the UK and Netherlands this month, leading his Aurora Orchestra in a programme of Ligeti at the Southbank Centre on 13 May, and conducting the Residentie Orkest on 25 May.
Nicholas Collon gives first concert & opera performances as Principal Guest Conductor of Gürzenich-Orchester Köln
In February Nicholas Collon conducts his first concerts and opera in situ as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln.
On 18, 19 and 20 February with the Gürzenich Orchester at the Cologne Philharmonie, and live-streamed on WDR, he conducts Debussy Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Bartók Viola Concerto (with soloist Nils Mönkemeyer), Wagner Tristan und Isolde: Prelude & Liebestod, Ligeti Atmosphères and Ravel Daphnis et Chloé: Suite No.2.
On 18 February to 3 March at Oper Köln he conducts Mozart Don Giovanni, directed by Emmanuelle Bastet.
Intermusica at the Southbank Centre's 2018/19 classical season
The Southbank Centre launched its 2018/19 classical season on 30 January 2018, with Intermusica artists and performing throughout the year. Highlights include Marin Alsop continuing her relationship with the Southbank in concerts with the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra continuing their residency, and performances from Leonidas Kavakos, John Wilson, Kian Soltani and George Li.
Another major highlight of the season is the International Chamber Music Series, which Intermusica co-promotes with the Southbank Centre. This year it opens with a concert from Jordi Savall and his Hesperion XXI and features a concert marking the centenary of author Muriel Spark from the Nash Ensemble, and performances from Leonidas Kavakos and Yuja Wang, the Jerusalem, Artemis and Belcea quartets, and performances of Stockhausen by Southbank Centre Artist in Residence Pierre-Laurent Aimard.
Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra continue as Associate Orchestra with three concerts in the new season. The first, on 16 September 2018, pairs a memorized performance of Beethoven Symphony No.5 with HK Gruber's Frankenstein!! in a concert conceived and directed by Jane Mitchell. Their second, on 20 January 2019, is titled Songs from the Road and features Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer, arrangements of folk ballads and the world premiere of Du Yun Where we lost our shadows. Their final concert takes place on 5 June 2019 and features works by Beethoven, Thomas Adès, a Max Richter world premiere and Mozart's Symphony No.41.
Kirill Gerstein renews his partnership with Thomas Adès when he joins the composer and the London Philharmonic Orchestra on 26 September to perform Adès' concerto for piano and orchestra, In Seven Days.
Geoffrey Paterson returns to the London Sinfonietta on 13 October to conduct them in a performance of Pascal Dusapin Passion, a collaboration with Music Theatre Wales.
Patricia Bardon returns to the role of Baba the Turk in a performance of Stravinsky The Rake's Progress with Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra on 3 November.
Lahav Shani and Francesco Piemontesi join forces for a concert of Brahms and Beethoven with the Philharmonia Orchestra on 4 November. Shani conducts Weber Oberon Overture, Brahms Symphony No.1 and Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 'Emperor', with himself as piano soloist.
Marin Alsop makes her first visit of the season on 11 November, conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in a performance of Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem. She then returns on 16 January to conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a contemporary programme with Colin Currie giving the world premiere of Helen Grime's Percussion Concerto.
John Wilson returns to the Philharmonia Orchestra on 15 November for a concert of Gershwin and Walton. He is joined by Louis Schwizgebel, who performs Gershwin Piano Concerto. Wilson then brings his John Wilson Orchestra to the Southbank Centre on 15 December, leading them in a characteristic programme of music from Hollywood and Broadway. He returns on 18 April to lead the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in a special performance of Gilbert & Sullivan Trial by Jury.
Mary Bevan joins the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Brian Wright for a seasonal performance of Handel's Messiah on 16 December.
Leonidas Kavakos appears at the Southbank Centre's International Chamber Music Series on 18 January alongside Yuja Wang, performing a recital of Mozart, Prokofiev, Bartók and Strauss.
Martyn Brabbins joins the Philharmonia Orchestra on 20 January 2019 to conduct an English programme of Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten and the London premiere of Geoffrey Gordon's Prometheus, a concerto for bass clarinet and orchestra.
Jacques Imbrailo joins the Mozartists and conductor Ian Page on 29 January for the next concert in their Mozart 250 series, which is themed around the year 1769. Imbrailo sings arias by Gluck, Haydn, Arne, Gréty and Paisiello.
Susan Bickley returns to the Southbank Centre to sing Beethoven Symphony No.9 alongside the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Oliver Gooch on 16 March.
Kian Soltani returns on 23 March after his acclaimed debut at Southbank Centre with the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra. This time he joins Edward Gardner and the London Philharmonic Orchestra to play Elgar Cello Concerto.
George Li joins Vasily Petrenko and the London Philharmonic Orchestra on 27 March to perform Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1, part of a programme that also features Khachaturian Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia and Walton Symphony No.1.
Following a critically acclaimed London conducting debut with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in 2017, Carlos Miguel Prieto returns to lead the young musicians in a concert on 12 April. Prieto conducts an exciting programme of Revueltas, Carlos Chávez and Copland.
Francesco Piemontesi returns to the International Piano Series on 2 May, performing a solo recital of works by Bach, Debussy and Rachmaninov.
Martin James Bartlett joins the Philharmonia Orchestra on 7 May to perform Ravel Piano Concerto in G, part of a programme that also features the world premiere of Cecilia McDowall Da Vinci Requiem.
Intermusica artists featured in Best of 2017 critics' picks
At the end of each year we look forward to reading critics’ musical highlights from the last 12 months; we’re delighted to see many of our artists featured in a host of such round-ups.
A standout achievement of the year was Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Monteverdi 450 tour, which was praised globally. The tour commemorated the 450th anniversary of the composer’s death and visited the Berlin Festival, Philharmonie de Paris, the new National Forum of Music in Wrocław, and the Salzburg, Edinburgh International and Lucerne festivals, as well as Bristol’s Colston Hall, Aix-en-Provence, Barcelona’s Palau de la Música Catalana and a historic residency at Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the composer's adopted home. Hugh Canning in the Sunday Times praised it as “dazzling”, while it was also chosen as one of the highlights of the year by the Guardian and Alex Ross of the New Yorker, who praised the “deft, vivid” productions that confirmed that “the first great opera composer remains the master of the game.” It was also chosen by the Herald Scotland, The Arts Desk, New York Classical Review and Chicago Classical Review.
Another highlight was the world premiere run of Brett Dean’s Hamlet at Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Hugh Canning picked it as his operatic highlight of the year in the Sunday Times, and it also featured in round-ups in the Evening Standard, The Arts Desk and The Stage.
Hugh Canning also praised David Butt Philip’s “searing” performance in Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé.
Nicholas Collon’s Prom with his Aurora Orchestra, in which he conducted Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony from memory, was chosen as one of the Evening Standard’s highlights of the classical year, as was the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester’s visit to London. The orchestra’s performance at the Barbican featured Intermusica artists Leonidas Kavakos and Kirill Gerstein performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, and was part of the orchestra’s 275th anniversary tour, which Intermusica brought to Europe and Asia.
Several Intermusica artists also featured in The Arts Desk’s round-up of the best concerts and opera performances. In the concert round-up, Mark Wigglesworth’s Prom with the BBC Philharmonic was highlighted thanks to a “miraculous” performance of Haydn Symphony No.99. Kian Soltani was highly praised for his performance of Strauss Don Quixote at the Southbank Centre with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, with The Arts Desk writing that it was “quite the most vivid” critic David Nice had heard live. Nice also cited HK Gruber for his performance as conductor and chansonnier in his Frankenstein!! at the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s composer festival.
In The Arts Desk’s opera round-up, Martyn Brabbins’ performance of Harrison Birtwistle’s The Last Supper with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra “kicked off the year in thoughtful, complex style”, while David Nice also gave special mention to Wallis Giunta, writing that she was the “young singer of the year in my books” for her performances in L'enfant et les sortileges and Trouble in Tahiti in Opera North's well-received Little Greats series of one-act operas. Giunta was also named 'Breakthrough Artist in UK Opera' in the WhatsOnStage Opera Poll.
Meanwhile, Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s new recording of Bach St Matthew Passion, made with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, was chosen as one of Gramophone’s Critics’ Choice, as was Boris Giltburg’s account of Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2 with Carlos Miguel Prieto and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Composer and music writer Robert Hugill picked John Wilson’s recording of Walton’s Façade as one of his top recordings of the year. Also featured were Sir James MacMillan’s “powerful” Stabat Mater and Martyn Brabbins’ latest entry in the Romantic Piano Concerto series for Hyperion, this time featuring the piano concertos of Roger Sacheverell Coke.
The Pavel Haas Quartet once again found great critical success with their latest CD, which featured Dvorák Piano and String Quintets and was made with Boris Giltburg and founder and former member Pavel Nikl. The album was chosen as one of the records of the year by the Boston Globe and WQXR.
Nicholas Collon steps in to make his Chamber Orchestra of Europe debut
Nicholas Collon makes his debut conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe this week, replacing Jaap van Zweden at two days’ notice for concerts in Antwerp, Paris and Toulouse on 29 November, 1 and 2December.
He conducts Shostakovich Chamber Symphony, Bernstein Serenade with soloist Renaud Capuçon and Beethoven Symphony No.5 in concerts on 29 November at Antwerp’s De Singel, and 1 December at the Paris Philharmonie. The Paris concert will be recorded by France Musique for future broadcast.
Collon returns to Paris in June 2018 with the Aurora Orchestra for a Mozart programme at the Seine Musicale on Ile Seguin, and already has guest engagements planned in both Antwerp and Paris in future seasons.
Earlier this month Collon debuted with the Dresden Philharmonic (Gershwin, Ravel, Bernstein) and has already been reinvited:
“He breathed life into the programme with a heady mix of artistic temperament and verve”
Two weeks ago he conducted the Bamberg Symphony in concert for the first time (Shostakovich, Rachmaninov):
“Collon accompanied the concerto with calm understatement, imposing his personality in the main symphony… he knew precisely how to set the scene, supported by solid craftsmanship and then fired up by his inspirational driving force… an ideal interpretation in every respect, all the more so as the orchestra’s contribution was immaculate
“Collon’s disciplined approach was impressive, keeping the more indulgent elements on a short leash, and avoiding the slightest hint of excessive sentimentality.”
Nicholas Collon makes debut with the Salzburg Mozarteumsorchester
Nicholas Collon makes his debut with the Salzburg Mozarteumorchester on 14 December 2017 at the Mozarteum Salzburg. He conducts the orchestra in a programme of Mozart Piano Concerto No.22 with soloist Till Fellner and R. Schumann Six Pieces in Canonical Form (edited by Claude Debussy and Robin Holloway) and Symphony No.2.
Prior to this, Nicholas conducts the Aurora Orchestra in two concerts at Kings Place on 24 November and 9 December. On 24 November, he and the orchestra are joined by pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque to perform Mozart’s double piano concerto, No.10, as well as Ravel Mother Goose Suite for four hands. Also on the programme are Stravinky Concerto in D for Strings and Schubert Symphony No.5.
Then on 9 December, he and the Auroras perform an all-Mozart programme: Piano Concerto No.8 with soloist Tom Poster, concert aria ‘Ch’io mi scordi di te? … Non temer, amato bene’ with soloist Sophie Bevan, Exsultate, jubilate and Symphony No.29.
Collon recently made his debut with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, conducting two critically acclaimed concerts of works by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov:
"Collon accompanied the concerto with calm understatement, imposing his personality in the main symphony… he knew precisely how to set the scene, supported by solid craftsmanship and then fired up by his inspirational driving force… an ideal interpretation in every respect, all the more so as the orchestra’s contribution was immaculate"
Fraenkischer Tag, November 2017
"Here, too, Collon’s disciplined approach was impressive, keeping the more indulgent elements on a short leash, and avoiding the slightest hint of excessive sentimentality."
Fuerther Nachrichten, November 2017
Nicholas Collon makes his Bamburg Symphony Orchestra concert debut
Nicholas Collon makes his Bamberger Symphony Orchestra concert debut on 5 and 7 November, conducting the orchestra at Stadttheater Fürth in two Russian works: Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No.1 (with soloist Ilian Garnetz) and Rachmaninov’s Symphony No.2.
Collon has previously made two studio recordings with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra for broadcast on the Bayerische Rundfunk radio service, but this is his first time conducting the orchestra in concert.
Then on 10 and 11 November he conducts the Dresden Philharmonic for the first time at the newly refurbished Philharmonie im Kulturpalast, reopened just a few weeks ago, in a contrasting programme of jazz-influenced pieces: Gershwin’s An American in Paris, Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand with soloist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and Ravel’s La Valse.
Watch Collon conduct a previous performance of La Valse here with the Brussels Philharmonic.
Nicholas Collon conducts James Ehnes & the BBC Philharmonic at Bridgewater Hall
Nicholas Collon and James Ehnes travel to Manchester this month for a concert with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra on 21 October 2017. Performing at the Bridgewater Hall, Collon conducts Beethoven Symphony No.5 alongside two works by Stravinsky showcasing different sections of the orchestra: Apollo, a ballet scored for strings alone, and the punchier Symphonies of Wind Instruments. Collon conducted the BBC Philharmonic in an acclaimed performance at the BBC Proms in 2015:
"This was very much a communal effort, with Collon’s more measured than usual opening movement tempo allowing orchestral detail and interplay to flower very rewardingly, so that one caught every shimmer in the percussion and harps and each gurgle in the woodwinds."
Guardian, August 2015
In between the two Stravinsky pieces, Ehnes joins Collon and the orchestra for Sibelius Six Humoresques for violin and orchestra. Ehnes has worked with the orchestra several times in the past, including for his album of Prokofiev's complete works for violin which was released by Chandos in 2013.
Elsewhere this month, Collon returns to the Residentie Orkest for his latest concerts as their Principal Conductor. He leads two concerts in the Hague, on 27 and 29 October, conducting a programme of Liadev La lac enchanté, Kabalevsky Cello Concerto No.2 with soloist Leonard Elschenbroich and Shostakovich Symphony No.10. Ehnes meanwhile returns to the United States for three performances of the Barber Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and James Gaffigan.
Intermusica's summer in reviews
2017 marked another highly successful summer for Intermusica's artists, who gave critically acclaimed performances at festivals all over Europe. Read a small selection of reviews below.
Brett Dean's Hamlet received its world premiere at Glyndebourne in June and was greeted with universal acclaim. The Sunday Times called it "the operatic event of the year", while in a five star review the Times wrote that “Dean’s skill at creating a supercharged orchestral subtext to each scene is matched by his immense theatricality. Quite apart from his unerring pacing of the story, he also creates at least a dozen moments where sheer sonority alone sends shivers up the spine… The overall impression is of a richly imaginative composer at the top of his game.”
Lise Davidsen made a critically acclaimed UK operatic debut in the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in June. Described as possessing "one of the greatest voices I have ever head" by the Observer, Davidsen's debut was described as "one of those 'I was there' moments" by the Times.
Joshua Weilerstein made an "auspicious" debut at the Proms on 19 July, conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra and his sister Alisa Weilerstein in a programme of Rebel, Berlioz and Pascal Dusapin. Classical Source praised his "admirably prepared and presented" Symphonie fantastique.
Nicholas Collon and his Aurora Orchestra returned to the Proms to perform another symphony from memory on 22 July. This time, they performed Beethoven Symphony No.3 ‘Eroica’, preceded by Strauss Metamorphosen. The Times called it “gripping stuff… an astonishing feat of concentration. With Nicholas Collon favouring speeds ranging from zippy to hair-raising, there was virtuosity all around the band too…an impassioned account of Strauss’s desolate but gorgeous Metamorphosen.”
The Pavel Haas Quartet made a stellar return to the Verbier Festival on 22 July, with Bachtrack praising the quartet for their "old-fashioned virtues of watchfulness, aural alertness and intense concentration... From the micro-perfection of its opening chord to an ethereally feathered final note, this was an Allegro con brio of unfolding joys."
Michel van der Aa was the Composer in Residence at this year's Lucerne Festival, with his works performed throughout the festival. The Luzerner Zeitung praised his "easy handling of current technological possiblities", while the Neue Zurcher Zeitung wrote that his "music theatre of beguiling opulence... might offer a view of the future of opera".
Mark Wigglesworth was joined by pianist Stephen Hough and the BBC Philharmonic at the Royal Albert Hall on 29 July to perform Brahms Piano Concerto No.1, David Sawyer The Greatest Happiness on Earth and Haydn Symphony No.99. The Sunday Times claimed that Wigglesworth demonstrated "the most authoritative conducting, instantly masterly, I’ve witnessed so far at these Proms, Bernard Haitink’s appearance apart. And Wigglesworth seems close to Haitink’s level... One knew all would be right about this account because Wigglesworth’s intensity was unanswerable.”
Sir John Eliot Gardiner had a busy summer, performing twice at the Proms as well as continuing the Monteverdi Trilogy tour at the Salzburg, Edinburgh and Berlin festivals. His Proms performance of Berlioz La damnation de Faust with the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique was described as "thrilling" by the Observer in a five star review, while the Salzburger Nachrichten praised the Monteverdi Trilogy performances at the Salzburg Festival: "The harmony and the symbiotic relationship of the performers and their conductor has reached a degree of perfection, which shows style, form awareness and playful freedom."
John Wilson gave two performances at the BBC Proms this year, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and his John Wilson Orchestra. This year, Wilson led the JWO in two critically acclaimed performances of Rogers & Hammerstein Oklahoma! on 11 August: "no conductor appreciates the importance of an orchestration’s inner voices like Wilson, or is more adept at caressing a countermelody without letting it get in the way." (Spectator)
Andreas Haefliger returned to the Edinburgh International Festival this year, giving an "inspiringly commanding" solo recital in August: "Haefliger the thinker is also the pianist who held this audience enthralled until they leapt to their feet at the end, cheering." (Herald Scotland)
Also in Edinburgh, Richard Egarr led Iestyn Davies and the Academy of Ancient Music in two performances of Bach and Telemann. The Scotsman praised the performances, which were "delivered with a style and panache that lifted the notes clean off the page with their precisely pointed rhythms."
Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Beyond the Score® was presented at the Proms on 23 August in “an excellent evening of innovation” (Bachtrack), with a a multi-media exploration of the symphony directed by Beyond the Score founder Gerard McBurney presented alongside a performance of Dvorák Symphony No.9 ‘From the New World’ from the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder.
Leonidas Kavakos reunited with Riccardo Chailly on 25 August, as Intermusica brought the conductor and his Filarmonica della Scala to the Proms to perform Brahms and Respighi. Kavakos performed the Brahms Violin Concerto, a performance which was praised for the "the way he made the music breathe and sing in lyrical, expansive paragraphs while remaining continuously alert both to subtleties of meaning and absolute directness of expression." (Guardian)
Kirill Gerstein continued his partnership with Semyon Bychkov on 31 August, joining the conductor and the BBC Symphony Orchestra to perform Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1:
"[Gerstein] delivered the slow movement with improvisatory freedom and dazzled with crystalline virtuosity in the finale." (Daily Telegraph)
Nicholas Collon conducts Brett Dean's Pastoral Symphony with Aurora Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall
Nicholas Collon and Aurora Orchestra return to the Royal Festival Hall on 24 September 2017 for Why Birds Sing, a concert exploring birdsong and humanity's relationship with the natural world. Featuring musical performance interwoven with animation, audio storytelling, birdsong recordings, and an installation of 1,000 origami cranes, the concert is part of Aurora's Orchestral Theatre: The Claus Moser Series, which brings orchestral music to life in adventurous ways.
The programme opens with Messiaen Oiseaux exotiques, for which Collon and the orchestra are joined by pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. This is followed by Brett Dean Pastoral Symphony, which Collon and the Auroras premiered at the BBC Proms in 2015. Dean's symphony incorporates recordings of butcherbirds from the Australian outback alongside the violent, man-made noises of axes, a lift falling, and a helicopter chopper to illustrate humanity's impact on nature.
Following a performance of Ligeti Poème symphonique for 100 metronomes, Collon and the Auroras close the concert with a signature memorised performance of Beethoven Symphony No.6 'Pastoral'. This follows a critically acclaimed performance of Beethoven Symphony No.3 'Eroica' at the BBC Proms:
"Gripping stuff… an astonishing feat of concentration. With Nicholas Collon favouring speeds ranging from zippy to hair-raising, there was virtuosity all around the band"
Times, July 2017
Boris Giltburg begins season as Residentie Orkest's Artist in Residence with Nicholas Collon
Boris Giltburg joins the Residentie Orkest and Principal Conductor (and fellow Intermusica artist) Nicholas Collon at the Zuiderstrandtheater in the Hague for the annual Prince's Day Concert on 19 September 2017. Giltburg performs Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2, part of a programme that also features Van Hamel Intrada and Stravinsky Petrushka.
The televised performance marks the beginning of Giltburg's season as the orchestra's Artist in Residence. The orchestra commented that "there was such a huge click between star pianist Boris Giltburg, the Residentie Orkest and the audience that we simply had to ask Boris to be our artist in residence."
The concert follows soon after the release of Giltburg's recording of Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2, which is released worldwide on 8 September by Naxos. The disc was recorded with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, and also features Rachmaninov Études-Tableaux, Op. 33, Liebesleid and Polka de W.R.
The Scotsman remarked of Giltburg’s concert performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra last year:
“Giltburg is an artist whose range of expression brought so much more than slushy romance to Rachmaninov’s emotion-laden score. Whether wistful and dreamy or tense and heart-aching, the lyricism of his playing was a joy to listen to.”
Boris Giltburg returns to the Concertgebouw with Nicholas Collon & the Residentie Orkest
Boris Giltburg returns to the Amsterdam Concertgebouw on 27 August 2017 to perform Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor with the Residentie Orkest and principal conductor Nicholas Collon.
Giltburg’s Rachmaninov interpretations are consistently met with great critical acclaim. His album of Rachmaninov’s Études-tableaux Op. 39 and Moments musicaux (Naxos, 2016) was chosen by NPR at number 20 in their top 100 recordings of 2016, and his performance of Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto last year with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra was highly praised by The Scotsman:
"Giltburg is an artist whose range of expression brought so much more than slushy romance to Rachmaninov’s emotion-laden score. Whether wistful and dreamy or tense and heart-aching, the lyricism of his playing was a joy to listen to."
Nicholas Collon conducts Aurora Orchestra’s debut at the Concertgebouw
Nicholas Collon conducts the Aurora Orchestra in its Amsterdam Concertgebouw debut on 4 August 2017. In the culmination of their Beethoven From Memory tour, which saw performances at the Cambridge Summer Music Festival and BBC Proms, they will perform Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ from memory alongside Strauss’s Metamorphosen.
These are believed to be the first ever memorised performances of ‘Eroica’. Watch a glimpse of the first movement.
You can also still listen to their BBC Proms performance on BBC Radio 3, available online until 20 August, and televised for UK audiences on BBC Four on 18 August.
On 22 August, Nicholas conducts the orchestra at the Berlioz Festival in Isère, France. Their ‘Eroica’ From Memory will be accompanied by Britten Sinfonietta Op.1 and Maxwell Davies Eight Songs for a Mad King.
Nicholas Collon conducts Beethoven ‘Eroica’ from memory with Aurora Orchestra at the BBC Proms
Nicholas Collon conducts the Aurora Orchestra at the BBC Proms for the eighth consecutive year on 22 July 2017, leading the orchestra in a trademark ‘from memory’ performance. This year, they take on Beethoven Symphony No.3 'Eroica', performed completely without scores. Also on their programme is Richard Strauss' work for strings, Metamorphosen.
Before playing the groundbreaking Eroica, Collon introduces the symphony with BBC Radio 3 presenter Tom Service, enhanced with live excerpts performed by the orchestra. The concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 from 7.30pm and will be broadcast on 18 August on BBC Four.
Ahead of the BBC Proms, they perform the same programme on 21 July at Cambridge’s West Road Concert Hall, before taking it to the prestigious Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on 4 August.
Click here to watch Collon and the Aurora Orchestra giving a "thrilling" (Classical Source) performance of Mozart Symphony No.41 'Jupiter' from memory at the 2016 BBC Proms.
Nicholas Collon & Richard Egarr: new titles at Residentie Orkest
Nicholas Collon steps up from Principal Conductor to be Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of Residentie Orkest The Hague, effective September 2018 and rising to eight weeks a season.
Richard Egarr returns as Principal Guest Conductor, increasing his presence to three weeks a season from 2019/20.
The orchestra’s last three Chief Conductors were Yevgeny Svetlanov, Jaap van Zweden and Neeme Järvi. Based in the political heart of the Netherlands and with strong links to the international community, the Residentie Orkest has latterly reinvented itself as a flexible and innovative orchestra of the 21st Century.
Collon - Founder of the Aurora Orchestra and newly appointed Principal Guest of the Guerzenich Orchester in Cologne - and Music Director of the Academy of Ancient Music Richard Egarr together make an exciting team for the Residentie Orkest ahead of the opening of the orchestra's new concert hall in 2020.
Click here to listen to Collon conducting the Residentie Orkest in Stravinsky's Firebird (broadcast live on Omroep Max on 23 April 2017 at Concertzaal, Tilburg)
"Collon’s Firebird with the Residentie Orkest was amazing – performed with exciting clarity, as well as refinement and intimacy"
Trouw, April 2017
Nicholas Collon & Mary Bevan: Richard Ayres' In the Alps with Aurora Orchestra
Nicholas Collon and Mary Bevan join the Aurora Orchestra this month for concerts at London's St John's Smith Square and Birmingham's Symphony Hall on 3 and 4 June 2017. Collon conducts a programme with an Alpine theme for the two concerts, opening with Richard Ayres' In the Alps (No.42), featuring Bevan as soprano soloist. In the Alps combines music with theatrical elements and projected film and tells the story of a young girl, performed by Bevan, who is stranded on the summit of an unclimable mountain.
Following the interval, Collon then conducts the Auroras in a performance of Brahms Symphony No.1 from memory, the first memorized performance of a Brahms symphony since the composer himself attended a memorised performance by the Meiningen Court Orchestra in the 1880s.
Collon's next visit to London with the Auroras comes in July, when he leads the orchestra in the latest of their series of concerts at the BBC Proms. This year he conducts Strauss Metamorphosen and a memorized performance of Beethoven Symphony No.3, with an introduction from Tom Service, Collon and members of the orchestra.
Bevan has most recently been seen on tour with Harry Bicket and the English Concert, singing Dalinda in their production of Handel Ariodante throughout Europe and the United States. In July she can be seen in performances of Handel Messiah with the Chamber Orchestra of Basel.
Click here to watch a trailer for the performances.
Nicholas Collon appointed Principal Guest Conductor at Gürzenich-Orchester
Nicholas Collon has just been announced as Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne (Music Director François-Xavier Roth) for an initial three years, from 2017/18. He will conduct two programmes each season at the Cologne Philharmonie and also appear with the orchestra at Cologne Opera.
Collon first conducted the orchestra a year ago, in a programme of Britten, Ravel and Vaughan Williams, when he struck up an instant and electrifying rapport with the musicians. Their next concerts together are in February 2018, when he brings an eclectic programme of Debussy, Bartók, Wagner, Ligeti and Ravel, and conducts Don Giovanni at Cologne Opera. Then at Easter he returns to conduct movements from Haydn’s Seven Last Words paired with James Macmillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross, both interleaved with J.S. Bach cantatas sung by counter-tenor Bejun Mehta.
Collon will also bring his Aurora Orchestra to the Cologne Philharmonie in October 2017, when the orchestra will play Beethoven’s Symphony No.6 from memory.
Guest highlights this spring have included:
- Prokofiev Symphony No.5 and works by Thomas Adès with the Finnish Radio Symphony (immediate return offered 2019)
- A searing performance of Shostakovich Symphony No.8 with the BBC Philharmonic at Bridgewater Hall (listen here)
- Stravinsky Firebird with the Residentie Orkest The Hague (where he is Principal Conductor) at Rotterdam De Doelen
Next month he conducts Schubert Symphony No.8 and Sibelius Symphony No.7 with the City of Birmingham Symphony, before taking the Aurora Orchestra to the BBC Proms for a televised Beethoven’s 'Eroica' (from memory), which they also tour to the Berlioz Festival at La Côte-Saint-André and to the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
Intermusica at the 2017 BBC Proms
The BBC announced the line-up for the 2017 Proms on 20 April 2017, and as ever Intermusica artists and orchestras play a leading role in the festival. Every Prom is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and on the BBC website, with select concerts broadcast on BBC television live or at a later date.
Simon Halsey’s Proms Youth Choir give the opening concert of the Proms on 14 July, performing John Adams Harmonium alongside the BBC Symphony Chorus and BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner.
Joshua Weilerstein makes his debut at the Proms on 19 July, conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra at 7.30pm the Royal Albert Hall. Weilerstein conducts a programme of Rebel Les élémens – le chaos, Berlioz Symphonie fantastique and Pascal Dusapin’s cello concerto Outscape, for which he is joined by his sister, cellist Alisa Weilerstein.
Nicholas Collon and his Aurora Orchestra return to the Proms to perform another symphony from memory at 7.30pm on 22 July. This time, they perform Beethoven Symphony No.3 ‘Eroica’, preceded by an introduction from Tom Service accompanied by excerpts from Collon and the orchestra. The programme for the concert also includes Strauss Metamorphosen.
John Wilson makes the first of two appearances at this year’s Proms at 6.30pm on 25 July when he performs with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Wilson, the orchestra’s Associate Guest Conductor, leads the orchestra in a programme of Vaughan Williams Symphony No.9 and Holst The Planets.
Christopher Purves also makes two appearances at the Proms this year, with his first coming on 27 July. Purves joins Juanjo Mena, the BBC Philharmonic and the Crouch End Festival Chorus to perform the London premiere of Mark Simpson The Immortal, an oratorio inspired by Victorian séances.
Mark Wigglesworth is joined by pianist Stephen Hough and the BBC Philharmonic at 7.30pm on 29 July to perform Brahms Piano Concerto No.1, David Sawyer The Greatest Happiness on Earth and Haydn Symphony No.99.
Sir James MacMillan’s European Requiem receives its European premiere at the Proms at 7pm on 30 July from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and conductor Xian Zhang, with Jacques Imbrailo performing as the baritone soloist.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns to the Proms on 2 August with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, this time for a late night Prom at the Royal Albert Hall at 10.15pm. Gardiner conducts his ensembles in a performance of cantatas by Bach and Schütz.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner makes his second Proms appearance of the year at 7.30pm on 8 August, this time conducting the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique in a performance of Berlioz La damnation du Faust.
Lise Davidsen makes her debut at the Proms at 7.30pm on 10 August with the BBC Philharmonic and John Storgårds. Davidsen joins the orchestra to perform Sibelius Luonnotar and extracts from Grieg Peer Gynt.
John Wilson’s second Proms appearance this year comes on 11 August when his John Wilson Orchestra returns for its annual concert. This year, Wilson leads the orchestra in two performances of Rogers & Hammerstein Oklahoma!, at 2pm and 7.30pm.
Christopher Purves joins the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle for a performance of Schoenberg Gurrelieder at 7.30pm on 19 August. Also performing are three of Simon Halsey’s choruses – City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Chorus and Orfeó Català. Halsey also leads a Gurrelieder Proms Extra Sing Day at London Imperial College earlier that day.
Tim Mead returns to the Proms alongside John Butt and the Dunedin Consort for the third concert of the Proms’ Reformation Day at 7.45pm on 20 August. Mead follows last year’s Bach Mass in B minor with Bach St John Passion, singing alongside a cast that also includes Sophie Bevan, Nicholas Mulroy, Matthew Brook and Andrew Tortise.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Beyond the Score® appears at the Proms at 7.30pm on 23 August, with a performance of Dvorák Symphony No.9 ‘From the New World’ given by the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder alongside a multi-media exploration of the symphony directed by Beyond the Score founder Gerard McBurney.
Leonidas Kavakos reunites with Riccardo Chailly at 6.30pm on 25 August, as Intermusica bring the conductor and his Filarmonica della Scala to the Proms to perform Brahms and Respighi. Kavakos joins the orchestra for Brahms Violin Concerto, which is followed by Respighi Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome.
Joélle Harvey returns to the Proms as Glyndebourne’s production of Mozart La clemenza di Tito comes to the Royal Albert Hall at 7pm on 28 August. Harvey takes the role of Servilia, with accompaniment from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Robin Ticciati.
Intermusica is delighted to bring the Oslo Philharmonic and Vasily Petrenko to the Proms at 7.30pm on 29 August. Petrenko conducts the orchestra in an all-Russian programme of Stravinsky The Firebird (1919 version), Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.4 and Shostakovich Symphony No.12.
The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra bring an all-Mendelssohn programme to the Proms this year from 1pm on 3 September. Conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado, the orchestra perform Mendelssohn Hebrides Overture, Violin Concerto with Isabelle Faust and Symphony No.5
Ben Johnson joins Sakari Oramo, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and an international cast of soloists for the Last Night of the Proms on 9 September. The Last Night begins from 7.15pm and will be broadcast live on BBC Two, and Johnson sings Kodály Te Deum.
Watch Nicholas Collon conduct Adès & Prokofiev with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
You can watch clips from Nicholas Collon’s debut with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra online on the orchestra’s website.
Collon conducted the orchestra, on 24 March, in a programme of Adès In Seven Days and Dances from Powder Her Face, and Prokofiev’s Symphony No.5 at Helsinki Music Centre.
Nicholas Collon makes debut with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Nicholas Collon travels to Finland this month to make his debut with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra on 24 March 2017. The concert at the Helsinki Music Centre is also Collon's debut in the city. Collon leads the orchestra in a programme of Thomas Adès In Seven Days and Dances from Powder Her Face, followed by Prokofiev Symphony No.5.
Earlier in the month he takes the Aurora Orchestra to Bilbao for three concerts at the city's Musika-Música festival on 4 and 5 March, which sees a concert in the city somewhere every half hour for three days. Collon and Aurora also continue their Mozart piano concerto cycle at Kings Place, this time with Imogen Cooper, on 18 March.
Intermusica tours Aurora Orchestra and Nicholas Collon to Spain for Musika Musica Festival
Intermusica brings Nicholas Collon and Aurora Orchestra back to Spain this month to appear at the Musika Musica Festival in Bilbao on 4 and 5 March 2017. Collon and the Auroras perform three concerts at the festival over the course of two days, presenting programmes consisting of Iain Farrington’s arrangements of Mahler Symphony No.1 and Das Lied von Erde, performed by tenor Andrew Staples and soprano Jane Irwin, as well as performances of Dvořák Quartet and Sextet.
Musika Musica Festival features a wide range of concerts over the weekend, with Intermusica artists Thierry Fischer and Pavel Haas Quartet also performing.
Intermusica brought Aurora Orchestra to Spain for their debut in 2016, when they performed in Bilbao with Baldur Bronnimann and Louis Schwizgebel.
Nicholas Collon & the Residentie Orkest perform Berg & Mahler in The Hague
Nicholas Collon gives his first concerts of the year with the Residentie Orkest on 24 and 26 February 2017, conducting a programme of Berg Sieben frühe Lieder and Mahler Symphony No.4 at the Zuiderstrandtheater. The performance on 24 February is preceded by a free lunchtime concert.
Earlier in the month, Collon conducted the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in a programme of Holst Savitri and The Planets and also returned to the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.
Intermusica artists star in the Southbank Centre's 2017/18 Classical Season
Intermusica artists star in the Southbank Centre's 2017/18 classical season, which was announced on 26 January 2017.
Highlights of the new season include Marin Alsop conducting Bernstein Mass with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Kian Soltani performing in memory of Jacqueline du Pré with Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. The Intermusica co-promoted International Chamber Music Series features James Ehnes leading Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time, Danielle de Niese performing with the Navarra String Quartet and Colin Currie marking the re-opening of the Queen Elizabeth Hall with a world premiere of a new work by Harrison Birtwistle. Boris Giltburg and George Li give solo recitals as part of the long-running International Piano Series, Nicholas Collon conducts Aurora Orchestra in the finale of Pierre-Laurent Aimard's Ligeti in Wonderland festival, and Kian Soltani makes a second appearance alongside Brett Dean for a performance of Schubert Trout Quintet.
28 October 2017
Kian Soltani & West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, cond. Daniel Barenboim / Strauss Don Quixote
14 November 2017
James Ehnes, Steven Osborne, Alban Gerhardt & Jean Johnson / Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time
28 February 2018
Boris Giltburg / Brahms, Shostakovich & Rachmaninov
20 March 2018
George Li / Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Chopin & Liszt
6 & 7 April 2018
Marin Alsop & the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain / Bernstein Mass
19 April 2018
Colin Currie & Nicholas Hodges / Morton Feldman, Stockhausen & Harrison Birtwistle
27 April 2018
Danielle de Niese & Navarra String Quartet / Albert Roussel, Schubert & Ernest Chausson
13 May 2018
Nicholas Collon & Aurora Orchestra / Ligeti
For more information and to book tickets, visit the Southbank Centre website.
Nicholas Collon conducts Shostakovich Symphony No.8 with the BBC Philharmonic
Nicholas Collon makes a return to the BBC Philharmonic this month, conducting the orchestra in performances of Shostakovich Symphony No.8 in Nottingham and Manchester on 11 and 13 January 2017.
The performance at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall is a special examination of the symphony, presented by broadcaster Stephen Johnson. Johnson delves into the history of the piece, offering insights illustrated by extracts from Collon and the orchestra, before the symphony is performed in its entirety.
Collon and the orchestra then return to Manchester for a performance at Bridgewater Hall, where the symphony is preceded by a selection of Ravel pieces, including the Piano Concerto for the Left Hand with soloist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.
Nicholas Collon & Francesco Piemontesi return to the Philharmonia Orchestra
Nicholas Collon begins December with a return to the Philharmonia Orchestra on 1 December 2016, conducting a programme of Pre-War Soundscapes. Collon is joined by regular collaborator Francesco Piemontesi, who performs Ravel Piano Concerto, which is bookended by Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Walton Symphony No.1. They perform the same programme the preceding day at De Montfort Hall in Leicester.
Collon and Piemontesi's previous performances together include a critically-acclaimed performance with Aurora Orchestra at the 2015 Proms:
“The highlight [was] Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.26… [The] combination of the sweetly childlike and the intellectually questing reached its height in a first-movement cadenza... that saw Collon partnering Piemontesi on tinkling celeste. This was pure Magic Flute, and echoes of Mozart’s operatic swansong cast an autumnal glow over the rest of a magical performance.”
“Nicholas Collon coaxed a wonderfully clear-running duet from principal flautist Jane Mitchell and oboist Thomas Barber in the second movement. The third movement, meant to represent a country dance, actually felt like one. When the storm arrived, it was as if the festivities had been interrupted by the weather, and you realised that the atmosphere had been ionised for a while. Nature, being the subject, felt natural again.”
Collon ends 2016 with a performance at Kings Place with Aurora Orchestra, while Piemontesi performs with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic and gives recitals in Paris and London.
Nicholas Collon & the Residentie Orkest return to the Concertgebouw
Nicholas Collon begins a run of concerts with the Residentie Orkest this month with a return to the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam on 25 October 2016. Collon conducts a Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture and excerpts from Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet Suite. Pianist Hannes Minnaar also joins Collon and the orchestra for Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major.
Collon and the orchestra then travel on to the Hague on 28 October 2016 for a performance with Alisa Weilerstein at the Zuiderstrandtheater. The programme features Berlioz Love Scene from Romeo and Juliet, Walton Cello Concerto and Brahms Symphony No.3.
Collon and the Residentie Orkest end their concerts on 29 October with an afternoon performance at the Muziekgebouw aant’IJ, Amsterdam. They are joined once again by Alisa Weilerstein for Walton Cello Concerto, and Collon also conducts Alexander Rudin in a performance of Shostakovich Cello Concerto.
Nicholas Collon conducts Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Nicholas Collon returns to the Birmingham Symphony Hall to conduct the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in three performances of Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique on 19, 21, and 22 October 2016. The programme also includes Ravel Le tombeau de Couperin, Korngold Violin Concerto in D major with Vilde Frang and Elgar Spirit of England with Susan Gritton.
Collon last conducted the CBSO in March 2016 in a performance of Mahler Symphony No.10 that drew critical praise:
“There was a real authority about the CBSO’s playing under Collon, the sense of an orchestra continuing to explore a work it knows inside out…from its crepuscular opening onwards [Collon] caught the mood of the finale perfectly, right through to the radiance of the coda.”
“In the CBSO and Nicholas Collon’s hands the result was exhausting and unforgettable, a resonant, radiant annihilation.”
Collon next returns to the CBSO on 8 February 2017 to conduct works by Holst. Click here to find out more about the concert.
Nicholas Collon & the Aurora Orchestra debut at Beethovenfest Bonn
Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra make their debut at the Beethovenfest Bonn on 7 October 2016. Taking place at the Beethovenhalle, the programme features Mozart Symphony No. 41 in C major “Jupiter” from memory, Strauss’ Oboe Concerto where they are joined by leading international oboist François Leleux and Brett Dean Testament.
This concert sees Collon and the Aurora Orchestra reunite with Leleux following their critically acclaimed performance of the Mozart Symphony and Strauss’ Oboe Concerto at the 2016 Proms:
"…a performance that was absolutely secure and full of spirit."
"the Aurora musicians found a conversational intimacy and rhetoric in their delivery that made a salon out of the cavernous Royal Albert Hall. Elegant and joyous in equal measure, this was much more than a gimmick."
Click here to watch the performance.
Nicholas Collon & the Aurora Orchestra continue their Mozart's Piano series at Kings Place with Cédric Tiberghien
Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra return to King's Place on 17 September 2016 for the next concert in their Mozart's Piano series. The ambitious project, a complete cycle of Mozart's piano concerti, began in January 2016 and runs for the next five years. For this concert Collon and the Auroras are joined by Cédric Tiberghien for Piano Concertos Nos. 5 and 6, alongside works by Paganini, Liszt and Mendelssohn.
Collon and the Auroras were highly praised for their performance of Mozart Symphony No.41 'Jupiter' at this year's BBC Proms:
"…a performance that was absolutely secure and full of spirit."
"The Aurora musicians found a conversational intimacy and rhetoric in their delivery that made a salon out of the cavernous Royal Albert Hall. Elegant and joyous in equal measure, this was much more than a gimmick."
"This was a thrilling performance, alive and alert. Rhythms were immaculately sprung, melodies relished and moods inhabited from within – music that lived and breathed, and the hustle and bustle of the Finale carried us high to the end. Joyful and triumphant"
The first year of Mozart's Piano comes to a close on 16 December with recent BBC Young Musicians of the Year Lara Melda and Martin James Bartlet performing as soloists.
Nicholas Collon: First concert as Principal Guest Conductor of the Residentie Orkest
Nicholas Collon gives his first concert as Principal Guest Conductor of the Residentie Orkest at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw on 28 August 2016, with a Romeo and Juliet-themed programme at the Concertgebouw’s Robeco Summer Nights series.
The programme includes works by Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Bernstein. Collon and the orchestra repeat the programme in The Hague on 20 September as a focal event in their annual city-wide Prinsjesdag festival.
Collon will conduct six weeks per year with the orchestra, and will focus on the core Romantic symphonies and on 20th and 21st century repertoire.
Nicholas Collon & the Aurora Orchestra return to the BBC Proms with François Leleux
Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra return to the Proms on 31 July 2016, their seventh consecutive appearance at the BBC Proms.
Presented by broadcaster and critic Tom Service, the programme opens with Wolfgang Rihm Gejagte Form, after which Collon and the orchestra are joined by François Leleux for Strauss Oboe Concerto. The concert culminates with Mozart Symphony No. 41 performed entirely from memory, following their memorized performance of Beethoven Symphony No. 6 'Pastoral' at the 2015 Proms:
‘Memorable for all the right reasons’
“Nicholas Collon coaxed a wonderfully clear-running duet from principal flautist Jane Mitchell and oboist Thomas Barber in the second movement. The third movement, meant to represent a country dance, actually felt like one. When the storm arrived, it was as if the festivities had been interrupted by the weather, and you realised that the atmosphere had been ionised for a while. Nature, being the subject, felt natural again.”
“an invigorated, liberated performance… With vivacious, fearless playing like this, the reputations of the Aurora Orchestra and Nicholas Collon are set to soar even higher.”
Nicholas Collon conducts the Brussels Philharmonic at Festival Musiq’3
Nicholas Collon returns to Belgium to conduct the Brussels Philharmonic at the Flagey, Brussels, on 1 July 2016. The concert marks the start of Festival Musiq'3, which this year aims to bridge musical traditions from Europe and Asia.
Collon conducts an all-Ravel programme of Oiseaux tristes, Shéhérazade with soprano Anne-Catherine Gillet, Piano Concerto in G major with award-winning pianist David Kadouch and La Valse.
The concert follows Collon’s critically acclaimed performance featuring Ravel’s Piano Concerto, Oiseaux tristes and La Valse at the BBC Proms last year.
“Nicholas Collon’s conducting seemed almost 'scoreless', such was his ease in the music, and the entire ensemble displayed crisp articulation and a keen sense of timing.”
Later this month, Collon returns to the BBC Proms with his Aurora Orchestra as they perform Mozart Symphony No. 41 from memory.
Nicholas Collon joins Intermusica for worldwide management
We are delighted to announce that the exciting British conductor Nicholas Collon is joining the Intermusica roster for general management.
“A born communicator as well as an innovative programmer, and high-calibre interpreter of a wide range of repertoire”
London Evening Standard
His elegant conducting style, searching musical intellect and inspirational music-making have ensured that, at 33, he is already a regular guest with orchestras such as the Philharmonia, BBC Philharmonic, CBSO, Danish Radio Symphony and Capitole de Toulouse amongst many; debuts this spring included DSO Berlin and Gurzenich Orchestra Cologne, with Finnish Radio Symphony coming up.
He is Founder and Principal Conductor of the ground-breaking Aurora Orchestra, Associate Orchestra at London’s Southbank Centre and annual visitors to the BBC Proms since 2010, where on 31 July they return to play Mozart’s 'Jupiter' Symphony entirely from memory. From 2016/17 he is also Principal Conductor of the Residentie Orkest in The Hague.
Sarah Tynan joins Nicholas Collon & the Aurora Orchestra for Britten Les Illuminations at Aldeburgh Festival
Sarah Tynan joins Nicholas Collon and the Aurora Orchestra as well as an ensemble of international circus performers this month for a specially staged production of Britten Les Illuminations at the Aldeburgh Festival on 10 June 2016. Nicholas Collon conducts the production, which has been devised and directed by Struan Leslie. Tynan sings Britten’s famous song cycle while interacting with the circus performers on stage. There are two further performances of Les Illuminations on 12 and 13 June.
Tynan can also be seen as Annchen in Weber Der Freischütz in the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment’s 30th Anniversary concert at the Royal Festival Hall on 7 June 2016. Sir Mark Elder conducts the semi-staged performance, which also features Wyn Pencarreg as Kuno, Rachel Willis-Sørenson as Agathe, Simon Bailey as Kaspar, and Sir John Tomlinson as the narrator.
Collon and the Auroras return to the BBC Proms on 31 July, when they perform a programme of Wolfgang Rihm Gejagte Form, R. Strauss Oboe Concerto with soloist François Leleux and Mozart Symphony No. 41 'Jupiter'.