Saffron Hall announces additions to its spring/summer 2017 schedule

December 15, 2016


Saffron Hall announces additions to its spring/summer 2017 schedule, including the first fully-staged professional dance production; the return of Penguin Cafe; Cuban jazz sensation Alfredo Rodriguez; firm favourites The Sixteen; family singing and drumming workshops; and more.

Saffron Hall spring/summer season at a glance:

  • Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s worldwide tango hit m¡longa, first seen at Sadler’s Wells, is Saffron Hall’s first ever fully-staged dance production (Friday 2 & Saturday 3 June)
  • Return of charismatic Penguin Cafe after sold-out 2015 concert, with eagerly-awaited public premiere of material from new album The Imperfect Sea (Saturday 11 March)
  • Cuban jazz sensation Alfredo Rodriguez, protégé of Quincy Jones, on first UK tour with all-star trio after sell-out concerts in London (Thursday 30 March)
  • BBC Radio 3 partners for the first time with Saffron Hall for its Big Chamber Weekend featuring pianist Christian Ihle Hadland and friends: music by Mozart, Brahms, Shostakovich, Szymanowski, Rebecca Clarke and others (Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 January)
  • Two major public music workshops Family Jam – Drums! with Drum Works (Sunday 29 January) and Family Jam – Sing! with Dominic Peckham (Sunday 25 June)
  • Harry Christophers and The Sixteen present music from the reign of King Charles II (Sunday 11 June)
  • Britten Sinfonia continues vibrant long-term residency with concerts featuring Thomas Adès (Saturday 27 May) and superstar harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani (Saturday 4 February)
  • Leading ensembles and musicians including Willard White, András Schiff, Gabrieli, BBC SO, English Concert,
  • Continuation of critically-acclaimed Ring Cycle from Saffron Opera Group with Siegfried (Sunday 12 February)
  • Local ensembles Essex Youth Orchestra, Granta Chorale, Saffron Walden Choral Society, Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra, Hertfordshire Chorus in rich community programme
  • Young Artist Recital series featuring Laura van der Heijden & Tom Poster and Richard Uttley
  • A new score by Neil Brand co-commissioned by Saffron Hall, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Barbican, performed to Douglas Fairbanks and Allan Dwan’s 1922 classic silent film, Robin Hood

Now in its third year, Saffron Hall builds on its extraordinarily rapid and well-deserved successes with dazzling new concerts announced for the spring/summer 2017 season. Since opening in 2013 audiences have tripled, and the hall has established itself as a centre for world-class international music-making and for pioneering community music-making &  music education projects. Under the inspirational artistic leadership of Chief Executive Angela Dixon, the award-winning concert hall spring & summer 2017 hosts a mouthwatering roster of world-class artists and ensembles and an enviable programme of ambitious and talented local groups.

Angela Dixon, Saffron Hall Chief Executive, comments:
“It is with immense excitement that we continue Saffron Hall’s third full season, and announce some of the new artists who have been added to the programme since the autumn. We’re delighted to continue our rich association with our first Resident Orchestra Britten Sinfonia and build on our transformative approach to learning and outreach work within the school and wider community. I’m also thrilled to announce our first ever fully-staged dance production, with the breathtaking tango spectacular m¡longa from Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, and the beginning of a major new partnership with BBC Radio 3, who will be recording a whole weekend of inspirational chamber music.

Saffron Hall’s highly-praised acoustics attract orchestras and ensembles of the very highest international level: the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Edward Gardner are joined by returning artist Leonard Elschenbroich performing Elgar’s Cello Concerto in the first date of their UK tour (Sunday 15 January); Yuri Temirkanov leads the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra in a programme featuring Nikolai Lugansky (Friday 20 January); Paul McCreesh, artistic director of Gabrieli, leads Bach’s Easter Oratorio in a Saffron Hall debut (Saturday 8 April). Baroque orchestra The English Concert returns with violinist/director Rachel Podger (Friday 3 February), and The Sixteen under Harry Christophers performs music from the reign of King Charles II (Sunday 11 June).

Jazz, fusion and world-music are represented by audience favourites Penguin Cafe with the first official public performance of music from their new album The Imperfect Sea (Saturday 11 March); the energetic, eclectic Cuban jazz sensation Alfredo Rodriguez performs with his all-star trio (Thursday March 30); and in one of the most eagerly-awaited debuts in Saffron Hall history, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui brings his seductive and fascinating exploration of tango m¡longa as the hall’s first ever fully-staged dance production. The Sadler’s Wells production is presented by Dance Consortium (Friday 2 & Saturday 3 June.)

Sir Willard White and Brodsky Quartet pay tribute to the great American Song Book and Frank Sinatra (Saturday 1 April 2017), and legendary pianist Sir András Schiff returns after his debut last season (Thursday 4 May).
For the first time at Saffron Hall, BBC Radio 3 will record all the concerts of an entire weekend (Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 January). The BBC Radio 3 Big Chamber Weekend features pianist Christian Ihle Hadland and his friends violinist Boris Brovtsyn, violist Lars Anders Tomter and cellist Adrian Brendel. Their concerts include works by Beethoven, Brahms, Grainger, Rebecca Clarke, Shostakovich and Dvořak and will be recorded for future broadcast. There is further chamber music in two Young Artist Recitals with cellist Laura van der Heijden and pianist Tom Poster (Sunday 2 April), and YCAT pianist Richard Uttley (Sunday 21 May). Following the recitals, the artists lead masterclasses with Saffron Walden County High School Music Academy Students.

Britten Sinfonia continues its exciting Saffron Hall residency with a Mediterranean-inspired evening directed by harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani joined by violinist/director Thomas Gould and contralto Claudia Huckle (Saturday 4 February). They also present a delightful picture-book family concert based on Ed Vere’s children’s tale Max the Brave with live illustration from the author (Saturday 18 February), and end the season with a concert on the work and influence of Beethoven: the composer’s first and second symphonies are paired with Gerald Barry’s Beethoven, led by Thomas Adès (Saturday 27 May ). In addition to an outstanding programme of concerts, the ensemble is embedding itself in the life of the school and community through open rehearsals, coaching sessions, and other bespoke projects.

Learning, education and participation is at the heart of everything Saffron Hall aims to achieve. Their programme includes Music for Thought, an innovative participatory project with London’s Wigmore Hall and the Royal Academy of Music for those in the community living with dementia (starting 5 December 2016). Saffron Hall also hosts its first public large-scale workshops: Family Jam – Drums! with Drum Works (Sunday 29 January) and Family Jam – Sing! with Dominic Peckham (Sunday 25 June).

Local musicians play a prominent role in the life of Saffron Hall. Saffron Opera Group continues its epic and highly-praised Ring cycle with Siegfried (Sunday 12 February); Saffron Walden Choral Society performs Jonathan Dove’s There was a Child (Saturday 25 March) and Fauré’s Requiem (June 24) and present an educational singing day for participants of every level with Mary King (Saturday 28 January); and Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra perform three times throughout the spring/summer season. Also making welcome appearances are Essex Youth Orchestra (Friday 7 April), Granta Chorale (Sunday 14 May) and Hertfordshire Chorus (Sunday 9 July) with a concert inspired by the culture of Brazil.

Priority booking open from Thursday 15 December, 10.30am
General booking from Thursday 22 December 2016, 10.30am