series

International Orchestras

Experience exceptional ensembles from around the world at their London home.

The 2018/19 season concludes with dynamic young ensemble Le Balcon from France, who team up with London Sinfonietta and Royal Academy musicians to stage the cosmic brilliance of Stockhausen's opera Donnerstag aus Licht, not performed in the UK since 1985.

In 2019/20, we open with an award-winning production of Britten's dramatic opera Peter Grimes, conducted by Edward Gardner and featuring Stuart Skelton, Roderick Williams, Susan Bickley and the sounds of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.

Further into the season we welcome back the sublime partnership of Mitsuko Uchida and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra for more of their exquisite Mozart Piano Concerto performances; Michael Tilson Thomas brings the inimitable San Francisco Symphony Orchestra for two concerts, featuring Mahler, Stravinsky, Rachmaninov and a new work by John Adams, to celebrate his 75th birthday as well as his 25th (and final) season as Music Director of the Orchestra.

From Japan, the NHK Symphony Orchestra appear with star cellist Sol Gabetta and conductor Paavo Järvi for Rachmaninov's achingly romantic Second Symphony; and the Gürzenich Orchester Köln join François-Xavier Roth and Pierre-Laurent Aimard for a meeting of musical worlds, taking off from Beethoven towards John Cage and Lachenmann.

Finally, and from closer to home, we welcome two ensembles from Birmingham to join Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla in a journey through the unmistakable and visionary soundscapes of Edgard Varèse in Hyperfutures: The Complete Varèse.

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Get priority booking for the Classical Season 2019/20 and access to an exclusive Cafe-Bar on the top floor of Royal Festival Hall before or after your concert. 

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all events

Donnerstag aus Licht performance onstage
Various times
21 May 2019 - 22 May 2019
Various times | 21 May 2019 - 22 May 2019
classical music
contemporary classical
See Stockhausen’s monumental opera for the first time since 1985
See Stockhausen’s monumental opera for the first time since 1985
Peter Grimes at a dress rehearsal
7:00 pm
Sat 30 Nov 2019
7:00 pm | Sat 30 Nov 2019
classical music
classical music
Fall under the spell of a landmark British opera and hear Stuart Skelton’s definitive performance
Fall under the spell of a landmark British opera and hear Stuart Skelton’s definitive performance
IPS 2016/17/18
7:30 pm
Fri 31 Jan 2020
7:30 pm | Fri 31 Jan 2020
classical music
classical music
Enjoy two piano concertos, each with a story to tell, performed by Mozart’s greatest interpreter
Enjoy two piano concertos, each with a story to tell, performed by Mozart’s greatest interpreter
Gurzenich Orchestra performance
7:30 pm
Fri 21 Feb 2020
7:30 pm | Fri 21 Feb 2020
classical music
classical music
Beethoven’s genius meets contemporary music that continues his his legacy of innovation
Beethoven’s genius meets contemporary music that continues his his legacy of innovation
Sol Gabetta, cellist
7:30 pm
Mon 24 Feb 2020
7:30 pm | Mon 24 Feb 2020
classical music
classical music
Indulge yourself with Rachmaninov’s lush, lyrical symphony, and Schumann’s Concerto for Cello
Indulge yourself with Rachmaninov’s lush, lyrical symphony, and Schumann’s Concerto for Cello
MIchael Tilson Thomas, conductor, pianist and composer
7:30 pm
Sat 21 Mar 2020
7:30 pm | Sat 21 Mar 2020
classical music
Hear Mahler’s powerfully emotive symphony and a new work by America’s unofficial composer laureate
Hear Mahler’s powerfully emotive symphony and a new work by America’s unofficial composer...
Daniil Olegovich Trifonov, pianist
7:30 pm
Sun 22 Mar 2020
7:30 pm | Sun 22 Mar 2020
classical music
classical music
Daniil Trifonov gives voice to nostalgic romance alongside classic ballet score The Firebird
Daniil Trifonov gives voice to nostalgic romance alongside classic ballet score The Firebird
Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, conductor
7:30 pm
Sat 09 May 2020
7:30 pm | Sat 09 May 2020
classical music
contemporary classical
Is Edgard Varèse’s Amériques the most exciting musical achievement of the 20th century?
Is Edgard Varèse’s Amériques the most exciting musical achievement of the 20th century?
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
4:00 pm
Sun 10 May 2020
4:00 pm | Sun 10 May 2020
classical music
contemporary classical
Penetrate the essence of sound with works by the radically inventive 20th-century composer
Penetrate the essence of sound with works by the radically inventive 20th-century composer