Photo Creds: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Classical Concerts in London this Summer

Will Rathbone

The power of an orchestra can’t be understated. The swirl of the woodwind section, fingers flying as they play notes faster than most people could think them, or the swooning strings, stirring emotions as the percussion drives your inner rhythms to the pace of the music. We can't wait to feel the aural weight of 20-odd musicians playing in harmony, and here are some of the concerts we’re most excited about.
The Chineke! Orchestra was founded back in 2015 by Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE to provide Black and ethnically diverse classical musicians with a route into professional work in the UK and Europe. They perform concertos from Vivaldi and Boulogne - commonly regarded as the first known classical composer of African ancestry - at the Southbank Centre on 16 May, conducted by the award-winning Kwamé Ryan. 

If that whets your appetite for more Vivaldi then you’re in luck. The Academy of Ancient Music perform his most famous work, The Four Seasons, at the Barbican Centre on 27 June with violinist Rachel Podger. The Four Seasons contains some of classical music’s most well-known motifs, as well as being famous for freeing the violin from the restraints of ensemble work and transforming it into a solo voice in its own right. Podger is one of the foremost interpreters of Baroque music in the world, so Vivaldi’s masterpiece is in safe hands.

From the 18th century straight into the 21st, and the long-awaited revival of a legendary London venue. South Facing sees the Crystal Palace Bowl play host to live music once more, from 5-29 August, having previously hosted names like Bob Marley, Pink Floyd… and Dame Vera Lynn! On 28 August neo-classical composer Max Richter performs work from his compositions INFRA and VOICES - the latter a collaboration with artist Yulia Mahr featuring text from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We think this could be a magical moment after a tough twelve months.

In London, you’re never more than three months away from a performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets - which is fortunate considering it’s such a brilliant, timeless piece of music. The Royal Albert Hall hosts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on 18 September, featuring the prolific but understated Danny Driver on piano. You’ll have heard the refrains here before, but music this sumptuous in a venue like the Royal Albert Hall is a truly memorable event.

One of the newer orchestras on the block, the Aurora Orchestra were brought together to expand the reach of classical music to new audiences and broader horizons. On 27 November at King’s Place they perform with Mercury-nominated composer, arranger and saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi, whose work with her own SEED Ensemble and the jazz groups KOKOROKO and Nérija has proved consistently innovating and inspiring.

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