Star-studded line-up announced for Saffron Hall’s 2014-15 season

July 1, 2014

Saffron Hall announces its star-studded 2014-15 season, heralded by the powerful forces of London Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski with tenor Ian Bostridge (21 Sep).

The season includes intimate recitals from legendary musicians such as violinist Maxim Vengerov (27 Sep), pianist Paul Lewis (20 Feb) and star countertenor Iestyn Davies in a programme of beautiful English songs for voice and lute (14 Feb). Beloved classics feature, from Nicola Benedetti performing Vivaldi’s evergreen The Four Seasons with other baroque works (28 Feb) and Vaughan Williams’s pastoral idyll The Lark Ascending performed by violinist Chloë Hanslip (25 April), to Monteverdi’s sublime Vespers from The Sixteen and Harry Christophers (9 Nov) and Handel’s Messiah performed by the BBC Singers with Norway’s oldest orchestra, The Norwegian Wind Ensemble (20 Dec).

A host of distinguished artists will perform throughout the season, including Maria João PiresAugustin Dumay and Antonio Meneses with Beethoven’s late piano trios (25 October), The Brodsky Quartet (10 Oct), Duke Ellington favourite Abdullah Ibrahim with his new jazz trio (16 Nov), conductor/composer Thomas Adès leading his own works (2 November) and soprano/conductor Barbara Hannigan, who made such an impression at the hall’s opening night last year (9 May).

Designed to accommodate large ensembles as well as chamber groups, Saffron Hall also hosts ensembles such as The English Concert (27 May), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under their renowned Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Jiří Bělohlávek (25 April), and Cambridge locals Britten Sinfonia, who formed a significant part of the Hall’s first season. Britten Sinfonia appears three times during the 2014/15 season in eclectic programmes which feature violinist Pekka Kuusisto (2 Nov) and new work from exciting young composers still in their twenties: Brit Thomas Coult (22 March); and a world premiere from Spaniard Francisco Coll (2 Nov).

Contemporary music also features in a programme from the LA-based Calder Quartet (7 Dec) with string quartets from Ligeti and US composer (finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Music) Andrew Norman, whilst virtuoso percussionist and Artist-in-Residence at the Southbank Centre Colin Currie leads his own ensemble in a programme of Steve Reich, including a new work written for him by the iconic composer (26 April).

A new initiative sees Sunday morning coffee concerts from rising stars of the UK classical music scene: cellist Philip Higham (30 Nov); pianist Lara Melda (24 May); violinist Callum Smart (22 Feb); and the youngest-ever winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year (aged 12), trombonist Peter Moore (5 Oct).

Family concerts feature throughout the season, including Christmas favourite The Snowman, alongside Sanjeev Bhaskar (Goodness Gracious Me) narrating Peter and the Wolf (14 Dec), and author Michael Morpurgo narrates his children’s book The Mozart Question accompanied by live music, bringing the moving, inspirational story to life (1 Feb).

Saffron Hall also hosts performances from the Saffron Walden Symphony OrchestraSaffron Walden Choral Society and Saffron Opera Group, who begin the season with a concert performance of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (14 Sep). Plus Words in Walden presents guest appearances from writers John McCarthy (17 Oct), James Mayhew (19 Oct) and Baroness Shirley Williams (30 Oct).

Angela Dixon, Director, Saffron Hall Trust said:
“It is with immense pride and excitement that we announce Saffron Hall’s second season, my first since leaving my role as Head of Music at the Barbican, London. I have fallen in love with the superb acoustic of Saffron Hall and the incredible potential it represents for music lovers across the South and East of England; it gives me great pleasure to invite some of the world’s most exciting and prominent artists to showcase our award-winning new space.

This hall will be a strong combination of world-class artists, amateur music making and youth music. I am delighted that the glittering international artists and ensembles will share the stage with the students and the local groups who continue to inspire me with their support and dedication. With this potent mix of outstanding music and performance provision we aim to be a catalyst for exceptional music-making, not just in Saffron Walden but across the whole region.”

Tickets on sale: 10am, Wednesday 2 July. Full listings and booking information available here

2014/15 season at a glance:

• An international programme of world-class artists and ensembles including:

  • Distinguished soloists – violinists Maxim VengerovNicola BenedettiChloë HanslipPekka KuusistoAugustin Dumay, Thomas Gould; pianists Maria João PiresPaul Lewis; singers Ian BostridgeIestyn DaviesBarbara Hannigan; percussionist Colin Currie
  • Visiting orchestras and ensembles – London Philharmonic OrchestraCzech Philharmonic OrchestraBritten SinfoniaThe SixteenBBC SingersThe Norwegian Wind EnsembleThe English ConcertArcangel
  • Conductors – Vladimir JurowskiJiří BělohlávekThomas AdèsHarry ChristophersHarry BicketBarbara Hannigan
  • Chamber music – The Brodsky QuartetCalder QuartetAbdullah Ibrahim with his new jazz trio

• A programme of talks from writers including John McCarthyJames Mayhew and Baroness Shirley Williams presented by Words in Walden

• Concerts for all the family including Michael Morpurgo narrating his children’s book The Mozart QuestionSanjeev Bhaskar narrating Peter and the Wolf, and Christmas favourite The Snowman

• Sunday morning coffee concerts with rising British stars Philip HighamLara MeldaPeter MooreCallum Smart

• Community engagement at the heart of the programme, featuring masterclasses and workshops with international artists appearing throughout the season

• Local amateur events key to the offering including Saffron Opera Group’Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Saffron Walden Choral Society (Carmina Burana, Eastertide’s St Matthew Passion) and Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra (from film music and Scheherazade to Panufnik’s Sinfonia Sacra)


About Saffron Hall

Since opening in November 2013, Saffron Hall has garnered a reputation as a beacon of excellence, not just for the region but country-wide. An award-winning, 730-seat performance space built in the grounds of Saffron Walden County High School, the £10-million venue is the result of a partnership between the School and Yellow Car Charitable Trust, a stunning new model of state school provision. The hall’s much-praised flexible acoustic and state-of-art facilities have already attracted leading performers to appear.

For its first season under new Director Angela Dixon, Saffron Hall offers audiences an outstanding line-up of world-class artists and ensembles, from the hall’s first public concert from a professional symphony orchestra (London Philharmonic Orchestra) to intimate recitals from violinist Maxim Vengerov, tenor Ian Bostridge and pianist Paul Lewis.

Saffron Hall’s aims extend well beyond the concert hall and relationships with artists are already developing with regard to education work with Saffron Walden County High School, local schools and the surrounding area.  Saffron Hall aims to be a trail-blazing model of state school and community music provision, producing outstanding events with world-class artists, inspiring people through music and the arts.

The work of local groups is also important and this season showcases an extensive programme of community and school events alongside the programme of visiting artists.  Highlights of the amateur music making include Saffron Opera Group opening the season with Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, three performances from Saffron Walden Choral Society led by Janet Wheeler and four appearances from Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra and conductor Richard Hull with a focus on Elgar and Dvořák.

 About Yellow Car Charitable Trust

 The Yellow Car Charitable Trust was founded in 2008. It was set up to make grants to specific projects identified by the Trust as offering particular educational and social benefits. Based in Saffron Walden, it has a particular interest in supporting initiatives that benefit the local community. The building of Saffron Hall was conceived by, and made possible as a result of, substantial grants from the Trust.