Big names and orchestras unveiled for new Nottingham Classics season

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Big bands, Benedetti and Beethoven’s 250th birthday: all this and more can be found in the Nottingham Classics season for 2019-2020.

After another successful season, with acclaimed performances cheered to the rafters by packed houses, the Royal Centre has announced the details for the next season.

The new season has Beethoven’s big anniversary year at the heart of its series, with four major concerts. It begins with Sir Mark Elder conducting Nottingham Classics’ resident orchestra, the Hallé, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on Saturday, February 29.

The BBC Philharmonic’s new chief conductor, Omer Meir Wellber (main picture), makes his first Nottingham appearance with Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony on Friday, April 24, and Leeds International Piano Competition winner, the prodigiously talented young American, Eric Lu (pictured), makes his Nottingham debut with Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto on Thursday, June 11.

One of the most enticing concerts in the season, on May 20, brings violinist Nicola Benedetti (pictured) 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, May 9, performed by the Hallé.

The enormous National Youth Orchestra will pack its 160 players onto the stage on Monday, January 6, 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, November 1, 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 4th Piano Concerto is performed by popular British pianist, Peter Donohoe.

Former BBC Young Musicians winner Laura Van der Heijden makes her Nottingham Classics debut with the Prague Symphony Orchestra, while the dazzling French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet joins 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 (March 11) before she retires from performing at the end of the year.”

Details of all Nottingham Classics concerts can be found by clicking here.

General booking is now open with seats available from £11 - £37. You can also book by phone (on 0115 989 5555 and in person at the box office.

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Omer Meir Wellber photo credit: Wilfried Hosl

Eric Lu photo credit: Janice Carissa

Nicola Benedetti photo credit: Simon Fowler