Saffron Hall announces new performances for spring and summer 2016, including Kronos Quartet, the Hot Sardines, Hugh Masekela & Larry Willis, and a London Philharmonic Orchestra FUNharmonics concert to mark Roald Dahl’s centenary.
Newly announced concerts as part of Saffron Hall’s 2015-16 season further the hall’s pioneering learning and participation programme while continuing to bring the world’s biggest talents to the region. Concerts include a rare European performance of Steve Reich’s Different Trains by Kronos Quartet; jazz legends Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis in an intimate concert; the London Philharmonic Orchestra with a FUNharmonics family concert to mark the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth; and Mahogany Opera Group’s new retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.
The second half of Saffron Hall’s classical music season features a strong focus on early music, with The Sixteen, Bach Collegium Japan, The English Concert and Britten Sinfonia with mezzo Alice Coote, returning world-class artists such as Maxim Vengerov, Nicola Benedetti and Leonidas Kavakos, as well as the world premiere of a new schools opera performed by 300 local children.
- The celebrated Kronos Quartet performs Steve Reich’s Different Trains, commissioned and premiered by the same ensemble 30 years ago. The work is performed alongside a commission based on music from Mali, a new work by Martin Green from folk group Lau, Flow by Laurie Anderson and One Earth, One People, One Love by Terry Riley (14 May, 7.30pm)
- The London Philharmonic Orchestra returns with a FUNharmonics family concert to mark the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth in a performance of The BFG conducted by Tim Redmond (21 February, 2pm & 4pm)
- Mahogany Opera Group brings The Rattler – the true and original story of Rumpelstiltskin – to Saffron Hall: a feast of puppetry, folk-infused music, and inventive storytelling directed by Frederic Wake-Walker with music by Stephen Deazley and words by Martin Riley. There will be a series of music and craft workshops alongside the performance (26 June, 3pm)
This spring features several new jazz highlights at Saffron Hall including:
- Legendary South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela and pianist Larry Willis present an intimate jazz show influenced by the music they played in the 60s, when they were both students at the Manhattan School of Music, and also showcases hits such as Grazing in the Grass and touring the world with great South African music (29 May, 7.30pm)
- One of New York’s best jazz bands, The Hot Sardines present a contemporary take on 1930s cabaret, fusing musical influences from New York, Paris, and New Orleans, with a night of big band retro jazz, swing and nostalgia (4 June, 7.30pm)
- Singer Juliet Kelly takes part in Family Jazz All-Stars, the perfect introduction to jazz classics for all ages and a tribute to iconic stars of the past including Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone (3 April, 3pm)
- Plus upcoming local presentations include Saffron Opera Group’s in-concert performance of Das Rheingold, a singing day with Eamonn Dougan for Saffron Walden Choral Society and members of the public (30 January, 10am), and a special Valentine’s Day concert from Granta Chorale (13 February, 7.30pm). Saffron Hall also welcomes musical societies from neighbouring counties, including Hertfordshire Chorus (Berlioz Te Deum) (7 May, 7.30pm) and Cambridge University Musical Society under Stephen Cleobury – conducting Elgar’s Gerontius – to mark his final concert as CUMS Chorus Principal Conductor (11 June, 7.30pm)
Learning & participation:
- The world premiere of a newly commissioned schools opera, The Glass Knight, showcases music by Philip Sunderland and a performance by 300 local children as part of Saffron Hall’s pioneering learning and participation programme. The commission, based on the local legend about a mysterious knight who saves Saffron Walden from a basilisk, involves schoolchildren and teachers drawn from Saffron Walden County High School and local primary schools alongside a cast of professionals including composer Philip Sunderland, librettist Gareth Prior, directors Anna Moorhouse and Benjamin Occhipinti and designer Neil Irish. In addition to performing roles, young people are involved in a number of backstage and production roles including technical, stage management, marketing, set building and front of house, thus further developing Saffron Hall’s education initiative. (9–12 March)
Spring 2016 classical music highlights:
- Violinist Maxim Vengerov returns to Saffron Hall with pianist Roustem Saitkoulov to perform several twentieth-century masterpieces, including Ravel’s jazz-inspired Sonata No.2 and Ysaÿe’s Sonata No.6. The concert also features several nineteenth-century pieces – including works by Paganini, and Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst’s polyphonic solo arrangement of the popular Irish folk song The Last Rose of Summer (20 February, 7.30pm)
- Nicola Benedetti joins the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to perform Szymanowski’s second concerto, Dvořák’s Symphony from the New World and Haydn’s Symphony No.92 Oxford, conducted by Lahav Shani (31 January, 3pm SOLD OUT)
- Bach specialist Masaaki Suzuki makes a rare visit with his world-renowned baroque ensemble, the Bach Collegium Japan, to present an evening of Bach cantatas on period-instruments with soloists Hana Blažíková (soprano), Joanne Lunn (soprano), Robin Blaze (countertenor), Colin Balzer (tenor), Dominik Wörner (bass) (10 April, 7.30pm)
- Period-instrument ensemble, The English Concert, presents a programme of Albinoni’s oboe concerto performed by Katharina Spreckelsen, two Vivaldi violin concertos played by Nadja Zwiener and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with soprano Anna Devin and countertenor Robin Blaze (20 March, 7.30pm)
- Saffron Hall’s newly appointed Resident Orchestra for the 2016/17 season, Britten Sinfonia, is joined by mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and violinist Jacqueline Shave in a programme that includes Britten’s Phaedra, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.3 and Keyboard Concerto in D minor and arias from Handel’s Alcina (15 May, 3pm)
- Three renowned soloists – Leonidas Kavakos (violin), Gautier Capuçon (cello) and Nikolai Lugansky (piano) – join forces for a programme of Brahms trios (5 June, 7.30pm)
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