Cornerstones of the new season include the marking of 250 years since the birth of Beethoven in 1770 and the return of Steve Reich’s infectious Drumming to the Hayward Gallery, the site of its European premiere in 1972 (6 and 7 Dec). This event heads up a season of music inspired by visual art and the Hayward's major Bridget Riley retrospective.
Further concerts and an exhibition will celebrate the centenary of mystic Indian musician Ravi Shankar, and the entire works of the mould-breaking composer Varèse will by conducted across a weekend of concerts by the exciting conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (9 and 10 May 2020).
Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla conducts all the works of Varèse
Visiting orchestras to the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall include the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and the Bergen Philharmonic and Choir, as well as an all-star cast conducted by Edward Gardner in a semi-staged performance in Britten’s Peter Grimes. Stuart Skelton reprises an earlier landmark performance in the tenor title role. Among other thrilling and popular conductors appearing are Vladimir Jurowski, Marin Alsop and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
At the heart of the season are Southbank Centre's four resident orchestras: Jurowski's London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Listen out too for the innovative work of its four associate orchestras: Aurora Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, Chineke!, and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason appears on 5 Oct and on 15 March 2020
Top soloists include cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason (5 Oct 2019 and 15 March 2020), violinists Anne-Sophie Mutter, Nicola Benedetti (playing Elgar, 2 Oct) and Patricia Kopatchinskaja who will play at an unmissable and star-studded event, 50 Years in a Day: Music from Bach to Birtwistle (6 Oct). This evening will also feature saxophonist Jess Gillam, super soprano Barbara Hannigan and legendary counter-tenor Andreas Scholl.
Listen out too for counter-tenor Iestyn Davies in Vivaldi and Pergolesi with the OAE (11 Nov). London favourite, the pianist Stephen Hough, plays Bach, Chopin and Liszt (24 March). But on no account miss his return performance three months later, when the indefatigable Hough joins the OAE in both of Liszt's two piano concertos on one night (26 June 2020)! Book this asap: it will sell out in a trice.
Stephen Hough plays both Liszt concertos on 26 June 2020. Photo: Sim Canetty-Clarke
Other pianists to catch include Paul Lewis, Stephen Osborne and the much-loved Mitsuko Uchida playing Mozart with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (31 Jan).
For traditionalists, a strong Christmas programme includes Messiah (12 Dec) and Christmas Classics (15 Dec) with the Bach Choir and soprano Mary Bevan, and at the other end of the composing spectrum, more than 30 new commissions and premieres will be played.
General booking opens 10AM, Wed 27 Feb.
|What||Classical Season 2019/20, Southbank Centre|
|Where||Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
23 Sep 19 – 07 Jun 20, 10-month season of concerts; times vary
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|