Piano concertos form an interesting strand in the new 2015-2016 Sheffield International Concert Season at the City Hall.
How about one of the first UK performances of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Piano Concerto played by French Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin with the Hallé (23rd October), for a start? – a brand new contemporary work in the season, virtually unheard of!
A jazzy affair – don’t worry it only lasts 20 minutes! – Hamelin premiered it in Rotterdam in October 2013 and is framed at the concert, conducted by Sheffield’s own Ryan Wigglesworth, by Mozart’s Haffner Symphony and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
Then there is a Rachmaninov double of thirds when the Hallé and Sir Mark Elder get the season underway on the 18th of September!
To be precise, the composer’s Third Piano Concerto with South Korean pianist Sunwook Kim and Third Symphony; mind you, pianist, conductor and orchestra can be said to top this when they re-unite (2nd April) for another double bill, the two Brahms piano concertos!
If all this Rachmaninov and Brahms is a little too much, there is always Grieg’s Piano Concerto from Alexander Gavrylyuk and Hallé when Finnish maestro Okko Kamu takes charge (20th February). The concert also includes Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony.
Two further Hallé concerts find Cristian Mandeal on the podium (22nd January) for Brahms’ Haydn Variations, Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy with highly rated German violinist Sophia Jaffé, and Schumann’s First Symphony (Spring).
The other sees a visit (7th November) by much-travelled cellist Jian Wang as the soloist in Saint-Saëns’ First Cello Concerto and Dvořák’s Silent Woods, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony being elsewhere at the concert.
Returning to piano concertos, a Royal Philharmonic Orchestra concert (22nd April) finds Peter Jablonski playing Ravel’s G major concerto and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. It also takes in Weill’s Threepenny Opera Suite, further Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin, and Debussy’s ‘Faune’ prelude.
Rachmaninov has not entirely gone away. Noriko Ogawa plays the Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini with Pavel Kogan and the Moscow State Symphony at the last concert in the season (20th May). The curtain comes down with Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony.
Another well known East European orchestra is here earlier in the season (26th November), the Prague Symphony and bringing Chloë Hanslip, no less, to play Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in between Šárka from Smetana’s Má Vlast and Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony.
The world famous Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment is here (12th March) celebrating its 30th birthday with an all-Bach programme directed by Baroque music specialist John Butt.
Ben Gernon makes a quick return, this time with the BBC Philharmonic (3rd October) and Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture, Mozart’s Fourth Horn Concerto and Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony.
Annual festive December concert (you know the one!) aside, the only Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus involvement in the season is Haydn’s Nelson Mass with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and James Burton (6th May), preceded by a Vaughan Williams symphony, No 5!
The Phil is, however, offering Nordic choral music in the City Hall Ballroom after the concert on the 20th of February.
Full details of all concerts, booking for which opened some weeks ago, will appear in the Classical Sheffield Calendar at some point in August but if you can’t wait, there is always the City Hall website, www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk