I am Yulia Savikovskaya, a contributor to Russian Art and Culture and an avid classical concerts goer, and these are the ones I would recommend you to go during the second half the season 2018-2019. There are incredibly many wonderful concerts going on in London every day, so for RA+C readers I chose specifically Russian-related ones. The list also includes a few concerts, which do not relate to Russian musical scene, but which I think you absolutely should not miss either because there are great musicians performing, or it is a rare event, or an exploration of contemporary composers you might want to attend. Those are marked as “RA+C recommends” category.
15 January – Recital by Pavel Kolesnikov (Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Couperin) as part of International Piano Series in Queen Elizabeth Hall. Pavel has specifically paired chosen works to offer interesting and unexpected parallels. Pavel himself is an incredibly refined and sensitive individual, so his first major recital at Southbank is worth checking out. QEH, 7.30pm.
16 January (RA+C recommends)– London Philharmonic Orchestra: Here and Now. The concert is one of the best in season in presenting music by established modern composers. Conducted by Marin Aslop, it will be an opportunity to hear world premieres of Helen Grime’s percussion concerto (soloist – the world-famous percussionist Colin Currie), Anders Hilborg’s Concerto for Orchestra and Louis Andriessen’s Agamemnon. RFH, 7.30pm.
27 January– Vladimir Jurowski conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra and world-renowned soloists (Stuart Skelton, Michelle deYoung, Matthias Goerne, Svetlana Sozdateleva) in a concert version of Wagner’s second and most famous part of Der Ring des Nibelungen: Die Walküre. Notice the early start to accommodate Wagner’s long opera. RFH, 4pm.
29 January– Yuri Temirkanov visits London with his St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra with a programme of Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. Julia Fisher as the soloist. RFH, 7.30pm.
Also in January don’t forget to visit the Royal Opera House to see a new production of Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades (Antonio Pappano conducting, Stephen Herheim directing). It is said that Tchaikovsky himself will be part of this production (as a ghost, a cameo appearance, an invisible guest, who knows).
3 February (RA+C recommends) –Radu Lupu performs Beethoven with Philharmonia Orchestra. An iconic pianist is such a unique musician, so everyone must rush to see him. RFH, 7.30pm.
6 February– Evgeny Kissin in recital at the Barbican Hall. It is usually once a year that Kissin gives recitals in London, and they are always sold out in advance – and for a reason. This year his programme consists of Chopin, Schumann, Debussy and Scriabin. Don’t despair with the tickets – returns ranging from 15 to 65 pounds are always available on the day. Barbican, 7.30pm.
13 February– Alexander Vedernikov leads BBC Symphony Orchestra in a programme of Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony plus two world premieres. Barbican, 7.30pm.
17 February –Daniil Trifonov with London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle. Daniil begins his tenure as LSO Artist Portrait, so London will be very lucky this season to hear him both in recital and as a soloist with LSO. Programme includes Rameau, Ravel, Poulenc and Betsy Jolas. Barbican, 7.30pm.
17 February– Denis Kozhukhin plays Grieg’s Piano Concerto with Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Jakub Hruša. RFH, 7.30pm. A good example of how in London the fear of missing out cannot physically be avoided with several great concerts happening on the same day.
20 February (RA+C recommends) – Vienna Philhamonic Orchestra on a visit to London with Mahler’s Ninth Symphony (conductor – Ádám Fischer).
24 and 28 February (RA+C recommends) – Esa-Pekka Salonen, Principal conductor of Philharmonia Orchestra, leads two programmes featuring his own Cello Concerto (composed in 2016) and pieces by Italian and French composers important for his development as a musician. Salonen has just announced his move to San Francisco Symphony Orchestra from 2020, so catch him in London while you can. RFH, 7.30pm.
2 March – Vladimir Jurowski conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra in Haydn’s ‘The Seasons’ (in English). Soloists include Sophie Bevan, Mark Padmore and Andrew Foster-Williams. RFH, 7.30pm.
7 March– Arcadi Volodos in recital. Don’t miss this wonderful programme of Rachmaninov and Scriabin with a touch of Schubert. Barbican, 7.30pm.
10, 14 and 21 March (RA+C recommends)– three unique opportunities to see 90-year-old conductor Bernard Haitink conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in programmes including Mozart, Bruckner, Dvorák and Mahler. You do want to tell your grandchildren you heard the greatest of world conducting.
26 March– Nikolai Luganski in recital at Queen Elizabeth Hall with a programme of Debussy and Scriabin. Nikolai has just recorded a disc of Debussy, and his interpretations are always to be trusted and cherished. Part of International Piano Series, QEH, 7.30 pm.
27 March – the flamboyant Vassily Petrenko conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra in a programme of Khachaturian, Tchaikovsky and Walton. RFH, 7.30pm.
28 March– Gianandrea Noseda, Principal Guest Conductor of London Symphony Orchestra, conducts the LSO in all-Russian programme of Rachmaninov, Balakirev and Shostakovich. Noseda has worked with Gergiev and Mariinsky for 10 years so he knows his Russian music! Barbican, 7.30pm.
1 April– Georgian virtuoso Khatia Bunatiashvili in recital with programme of Schubert and Liszt. Come and see how an individuality of a performer makes all the difference in a live concert! Barbican, 7.30pm.
4 April – Yuri Temirkanov conducts Philharmonia Orchestra with a wonderful programme of Prokoviev’s Second Piano Concerto (soloist – Denis Matsuev) and Shostakovich’s famous Seventh Symphony. Temirkanov has just celebrated his 80thbirthday – come to hear the iconic Russian conductor working on composers he knows inside out. RFH, 7.30pm.
27 April – Vladimir Jurowski conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra, with Yefim Bronfman as a soloist. A rare chance to see this American pianist of Russian origins. RFH, 7.30pm.
28 April– Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Conductor Laureate of Philharmonia Orchestra, conducts it in a programme of Glinka, Glazunov and Shostakovich (Tenth Symphony).
28 April (RA+C recommends)– Leonardo da Vinci: Shaping the Invisible. An innovative vocal ensemble I Fagiolini Illuminate combines projections of da Vinci’s artworks with complementary choral masterpieces suiting each of them. Barbican, 7.30pm.
3 May – Sakari Oramo, Principal Conductor of BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducts Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, with Igor Yuzefovich, the orchestra’s joint leader, as soloist. This work has changed the world of classical music – it may change you in a similar way. Barbican, 7.30pm
9 May (RA+C recommends)– Philip Glass, the Bowie Symphonies played by London Contemporary Orchestra. Don’t miss a chance to hear the works of a modern classic who would turn 82 in January 2019. RFH, 7.30pm.
10 May– Carmina Burana by Philharmonia Orchestra (conductor Andrew Nethsingha) plus Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto – what could be better for a great concert? Soloists Federico Colli (piano), Louise Adler, Mark Stone and Anthony Gregory. RFH, 7.30pm.
11 May– Viktoria Mullova appears with Philharmonia Orchestra and Paavo Järvi, the Estonian conductor with whom Viktoria especially likes to perform live and record. The programme of Beethoven, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky. RFH, 7.30pm.
21 and 22 May (RA+C recommends)– Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Donnerstag aus Licht performed by several ensembles and multiple artists (singers, instrumentalists and dancers, video and light designers). Do you want to know more about a visionary of 20thcentury’s music and immerse yourself in unexpected visions and sounds? Come to this concert, noting the earlier starting time. RFH, 6.30pm.
31 May – Maxim Emelyanichev conducts (also plays the harpsichord) Il Pomo d’Oro in a concert version of Handel’s Agrippina. American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato singing Agrippina. Don’t miss Joyce, she is unique and wonderful! Barbican, 6.30pm.
1 and 2 June– French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard and his wife Tatiana Stefanovich explore the piano works by Stockhausen in two concerts featured in International Piano Series. QEH, 7.30pm (1 June) and 5pm (2 June).
2 June – Daniil Trifonov appeas with LSO, with Conductor Laureate Michael Tilson Thomas conducting. The programme includes Beethoven (Fifth Piano Concerto) and Charles Ives, with a chance to attend the LSO Discovery Day on Ives in the morning (10am). Barbican, 7.30pm.
9 and 13 June (RA+C recommends) – Interesting Weimar Berlin programmes by Philharmonia orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, including songs by Kurt Weill, Hans Eisler and Ernst Krenek with an iconic American singer Audra McDonald as a soloist (9 June) and a live screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (13 June). RFH, 7.30pm.
10 June– Daniil Trifonov gives a recital as part of his LSO Artist Portrait series. We can’t get enough of Daniil, can we? Barbican, 7.30pm.
11 June– Vassily Petrenko conducts London Philharmonic Orchestra, with Denis Kozhukhin as a soloist. Programme includes Brahms and Strauss. RFH, 7.30pm.
16 June– Daniil Trifonov finishes his LSO Artist Portrait series, playing Shostakovich’s First Concerto for piano, trumpet and strings, with Gianandrea Noseda conducting the LSO. Barbican, 7.30pm.
Hope you get saturated by classical music enough when it will be time to pass some exams or have a summer vacation. London is one of the leading world centers (seriously, probably the best one) for appreciation of well-known and modern classical music, so do go for it! Don’t forget about relatively unexpensive tickets on the balcony of the Barbican and in the Choir of RFH, with different discounts also available through special programmes of the orchestras (Philhamonia offers Ring Seats for 10-12 pounds, LPO invites students for 5 pounds, LSO does mystery seats for 10 pounds). And watch out for me, I’ll be attending at least half of them!