Saffron Hall adds new events for spring and summer 2015 season

November 21, 2014


Adding to an already diverse 2014/2015 season programme, Saffron Hall announces the addition of five more concerts to their season, further enhancing Saffron Hall’s reputation as a beacon of excellence, attracting top flight artists.

The ‘unforgettable’ Penguin Cafe (7 Feb), whose music has infiltrated daily life from films like Napoleon Dynamite to countless theme tunes, selling out the Royal Albert Hall and headlining Bestival, combine acoustic folk charm, minimalism and a classical twist to perform works from their 2014 album The Red Book alongside favourites from the seminal Penguin Cafe Orchestra .

Star violinist Nicola Benedetti performs a second date after the first sold out in record time. These concerts (27 & 28 February) are Nicola’s only UK performances with Marcon and La Cetra Barokorchester in a European tour which also includes performances in Aarhus, Copenhagen and Barcelona. The second date has now also sold out, and did so within a week of going on sale.

An evening with jazz legend Courtney Pine (16 May) shows Saffron Hall’s versatility, bringing not only the best of classical, but a growing programme of jazz artists. Performing with MOBO award winning and Mercury nominated pianist Zoe Rahmann, they take to the stage for a programme of ballads taken from Pine’s upcoming 16th album, The Ballad Book.

John Retallack’s hugely popular and critically acclaimed semi-staged candlelit production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas comes in a re-worked form to Saffron Hall (27 May), marking the Hall’s first professional opera production. This co-production of The English Concert and The Bristol Old Vic sees conductor Harry Bicket and David Stout joined by soprano Susanna Hurrell, and includes a dramatic recount of the adventure-packed life of Aeneas before he meets Dido, and incidental music by Purcell to begin the evening.

Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic silent movie Blackmail (12 July) gets a rare screening, held at Saffron Hall in partnership with Saffron Screen, the not-for-profit independent community cinema also based at Saffron Walden County High School. The BBC Symphony Orchestra and Tim Brock accompany live with Neil Brand’s score.

Tickets on sale: 10am, Friday 21 November.

Further 2015 highlights include:

 The season’s highlights continue with intimate recitals from legendary musicians such as 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 continue their presence with Vaughan Williams’s pastoral idyll The Lark Ascending performed by young British violinist Chloë Hanslip (25 April).

A host of distinguished artists perform throughout the season, including 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 the 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 include a new work from exciting young composers still in their twenties: Brit Tom Coult (22 March).

Contemporary music also features in a programme from virtuoso percussionist and Artist-in-Residence at the Southbank Centre Colin Currie as he 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: pianist Lara Melda (24 May) and violinist Callum Smart (22 Feb);

Family concerts feature throughout the season, including author Michael Morpurgo who narrates his children’s book The Mozart Question accompanied by an actor and live music, bringing the moving, inspirational story to life (1 Feb).

Saffron Hall also hosts performances from local groups, including vocal group Granta Chorale, who perform works of remembrance and music for harp and voice (6 July). Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra and Saffron Walden Choral Society host numerous concerts across the season, including St Matthew Passion (28 March), Elgar’s Violin Concerto (18 April), ‘Tinsteltown’ favourites (8 February) and A Night at the Opera (20 June).

About Saffron Hall

Saffron Hall is an award-winning, 730 seat performance space built in the grounds of

Saffron Walden County High School. The hall’s much-praised flexible acoustic and state of the art facilities surpass many of the world’s more established venues and since the hall opened in November 2013 its reputation has been growing. The £10-million venue is the result of a partnership between Saffron Walden County High School and the Yellow Car Charitable Trust and is believed to be the largest gift of its kind to a state school.

 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 and made possible as a result of substantial grants from the Trust.

About Saffron Screen

 Saffron Screen is a not-for-profit independent community cinema. Its professional auditorium boasts a full size screen, 200 cinema seats, Dolby Digital surround sound and both 35mm and digital projection equipment.  Ticket and refreshment prices are kept low to benefit all and parking is free.