Five gala concerts, announcing Lockdown Commission winners and honouring Jessye Norman.
After a tumultuous year that saw Wigmore Hall streaming more than 200 concerts by 360 artists to over 6 million viewers and millions more radio listeners across the globe generating more than £1-million online donations, Wigmore Hall will welcome the return of live audiences on 17 May with a 25-concert re-opening festival including celebrations to mark the Hall’s 120th Anniversary.
The 120th Anniversary concerts embody Wigmore Hall’s continuing commitment to excellence in chamber music and song. The festivities are heralded outside of Wigmore Hall on Sunday 30 May when the pioneering un-conducted string collective, 12 Ensemble performs outdoors at Portman Square Garden. That evening, Sir András Schiff gives a solo recital, in the first of five gala concerts to mark the anniversary.
The concert on 31 May, the day of the Anniversary, features Wigmore Hall’s recently appointed Associate Ensemble, Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, led by violinist Elena Urioste and pianist Tom Poster. Wigmore Hall presents this diverse ensemble of leading instrumentalists in a programme including African American composer Florence Price’s Piano Quintet in A minor, never before performed at Wigmore Hall.
On 31 May, the 12 winners of Wigmore Hall’s Lockdown Commissions Scheme (chosen from over 700 applications) will be announced – reflecting the important role composers and new voices have always occupied at the Hall since the historic inaugural concert in 1901 that included Ferruccio Busoni and Eugène Ysaÿe.
Wigmore Hall’s long association with art-song is marked by a special song gala on 1 June around the theme of hope and renewal, devised at the request of John Gilhooly by pianist Graham Johnson, who performs with Sarah Fox soprano, Alice Coote mezzo-soprano, Alessandro Fisher tenor, Roderick Williams baritone and William Thomas bass.
2 June features a solo recital by the pianist Dame Mitsuko Uchida whose close relationship with the Hall covers more than five decades and countless acclaimed performances. Dame Mitsuko will be presented with the Wigmore Hall Medal in recognition of her long association with the Hall.
The final Anniversary concert on 3 June is a recital by Gweneth Ann Rand, with a programme which Rand describes as 'a personal reflection of Black voices and muses, stretching back in time to the Black Venus, who inspired the poetry of Baudelaire’. On this day, Wigmore Hall’s green room will be renamed the ‘Jessye Norman Green Room’ in memory of the legendary soprano who opened more Wigmore Hall seasons than any other artist in the history of the Hall.