Big draws will be the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel joined by jazz pianist Herbie Hancock as part of a major residency celebrating the LA Phil’s centenary (19 Nov). Listen out too for the Australian Chamber Orchestra residency at Milton Court, including Luminous, a cross-genre musical and visual project devised with visionary photographer Bill Henson (4 Oct).
As part of its Barbican residency, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis collaborates with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle on the European premiere of Marsalis’s The Jungle (Symphony No. 4), inspired by the multicultural asphalt jungle of New York City (30 & 31 May 2020).
Associate orchestra BBC Symphony Orchestra (BBC SO) works with two great storytellers: authors David Walliams (2 May) and Neil Gaiman (12 Nov).
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato sings her own Songbook on 26 June 2020. Photo: Simon Pauly
Breaking down barriers between the arts, pioneering composer Steve Reich and visual artist Gerhard Richter collaborate with the Britten Sinfonia and conductor Colin Currie (23 Oct). Richter's Patterns series divides, mirrors, and repeats a single painting, and Reich’s repeats musical structures in a genre-crossing film. Also for fans of new music, the Philip Glass Ensemble revisits one of Glass’s early masterpieces, the trailblazing Music with Changing Parts, with the composer himself performing (30 Oct).
In the Life Rewired season, composer Emily Howard, who has a background in mathematics and computer science, curates an evening of new music and talks, inspired by 19th-century computer pioneer Ada Lovelace (2 Nov). Howard’s Antisphere opens the LSO’s season (14 Sep).
Opera in concert includes the UK premiere of Joby Talbot’s opera Everest, based on the tragic climbing disaster on Mount Everest in 1996 (20 Jun) and William Alwyn’s little-known opera Miss Julie (3 Oct).
The BBC Symphony Orchestra presents its first ever Total Immersion for families, inspired by the 50th anniversary of the moon landing (1 Dec). In two further Total Immersions, Semyon Bychkov conducts the main evening concert in a day of work by Detlev Glanert (7 Dec) and Sakari Oramo leads a day exploring composer Anders Hillborg (22 Feb).
Bach: A Beautiful Mind explores different aspects of the genius of JS Bach during a weekend of music and talks, featuring harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani performing The Musical Offering, baritone Benjamin Appl, the Academy of Ancient Music in sacred solo cantatas, and Accademia Bizantina in The Art of Fugue (18 & 19 Jan).
András Schiff plays all the Beethoven Piano Concertos. Photo: Nadia Romanini
Throughout 2020, and in the months leading up to it, the Barbican celebrates Ludwig van Beethoven in his 250th birthday year. Events include a Beethoven Weekender (1-2 Feb), with the complete symphony cycle performed by five leading UK orchestras and their chief conductors, and an exhibition from Beethoven-Haus Bonn, including objects such as the composer’s ear trumpet, sketch books, an original print by Andy Warhol, and Beethoven’s own violin, performed in concert.
Sir András Schiff plays all five Beethoven piano concertos with the Budapest Festival Orchestra (29 & 30 Nov; 23 & 24 May 2020) and Evgeny Kissin plays the Pathétique, Tempest and Waldstein (6 Feb 2020).
Other distinguished instrumental soloists include pianists Yuja Wang, Lang Lang, Hélène Grimaud, Jeremy Denk and Simon Trpčeski and trumpeter Alison Balsom.
World-class singers are headed by mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who presents her project Songplay: music from the Baroque and Classical periods coupled with jazz ballads and music from the Great American Songbook (26 June 2020). Make a date, too, with soprano Angela Gheorghiu (10 Dec), andMary Bevan and Jennifer France who explore Handel’s heroines with the Academy of Ancient Music (19 Mar 2020).
Edward Gardner conducts 'Verklärte Nacht' (13 March 2020). Photo: Benjamin Ealovega
There are many premieres to catch. The Britten Sinfonia and tenor Allan Clayton give the UK premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Refugee, based on poems by Emily Dickinson, Benjamin Zephaniah and W H Auden (20 Sep). The Britten Sinfonia joins The Sixteen for the London premiere of James MacMillan’s Symphony No. 5, Le grand inconnu, commissioned by the Genesis Foundation for Harry Christophers and The Sixteen (14 Oct).
The Barbican has co-commissioned Voices, a new work by composer Max Richter, known for his style that combines the classical tradition with the experimentalism of contemporary electronica. The world premiere performance will be given by an orchestra featuring a radically reimagined instrumentation (16 & 17 Feb 2020).
Third Coast Percussion will give the UK premiere of Perpetulum, a new percussion piece by Philip Glass, in a concert also featuring UK premieres of music by Devonté Hynes and Gavin Bryars (21 Sep).
And these are only the headlines... With this amount of music and this number of artists, no wonder London needs a new concert hall!
Public booking for Barbican events opens Tues 5 March. Click here for more details, brochure, young people's events and discount schemes
|What||Barbican Classical Music 2019/20|
|Where||Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
14 Sep 19 – 31 May 20, nine-month season of concerts, talks and cross-genre events
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|