Announcing Saffron Hall’s inaugural season

September 30, 2013

It is with great excitement that we announce the opening season of Saffron Hall.

A gift to Saffron Walden County High School and the community from the Yellow Car Charitable Trust, Saffron Hall’s visionary year-round programme showcases an impressive programme of guest artists completed by performances starring the school and local groups.

The world premiere of a specially commissioned fanfare by Master of the Queen’s Music Sir Peter Maxwell Davies will mark the official opening of Saffron Hall, on Saturday 30 November. The inaugural concert, given by Britten Sinfonia and featuring international soloists Barbara Hannigan, Mark Padmore, Imogen Cooper and conducted by Christopher Hogwood, will showcase the Hall’s stunning acoustic to great effect.

The following day on Sunday 1 December, as part of a long weekend of celebratory opening events, Open House at Saffron Hall will enable everyone to explore their new venue and enjoy free concerts, workshops and displays by local music and arts organisations.

Among a world-class selection of musicians and ensembles visiting the Hall for the first time is British piano great John Lill performing a hand-picked selection of Beethoven sonatas, and the virtuoso violinist Tasmin Little joined by pianist Piers Lane.  Also appearing is renowned chamber quartet Brodsky Quartet and leading vocal group the Hilliard Ensemble presenting works from William Cornysh to Arvo Pärt.

As well as musicians and ensembles making their first visits here, Saffron Hall is delighted to welcome award-winning actress Patricia Routledge relating the extraordinary story of Myra Hess and her famous wartime National Gallery concerts.  Other guest speakers include Germaine Greer and the former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, both presented in partnership with Words in Walden.

A highlight of any season is the Easter weekend concert. In 2014 Saffron Hall is proud to present Bach’s St John Passion performed by Britten Sinfonia and the group’s acclaimed professional choir, Britten Sinfonia Voices.  Britten Sinfonia return for three further performances throughout the year, including a matinee concert with baritone Roderick Williams and a special sing-along family concert based on Ed Vere’s popular children’s book Mr Big.

Among local groups performing at Saffron Hall in 2014 are Saffron Walden Choral Society, Uttlesforde Orchestra, Granta Chorale, Cantate, Anglia Ruskin Orchestra & Chorus and HyperFusionSaffron Walden County High School’s own season of events includes the Michaelmas Concert and an Evening of Shakespeare (part of Saffron Hall’s opening celebrations), Dance in Time and the school musical West Side Story.

The closing concert of the new season is a recital by 21-year old Essex-born, Benjamin Grosvenor, who won the keyboard final of BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2004 and opened the BBC Proms in 2011.

More events will be announced throughout the season.

Full information about our programme is now available for you to browse on the What’s On section of the website. Season Brochures are available at Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre.