Live audiences and international artists return to Wigmore Hall

Further to the Government announcement postponing previous permission for public concerts, we will not proceed with our live broadcast event tomorrow. However all of our programming plans remain for 80 concerts in September and October, which will go ahead, even as empty Hall broadcasts. This was always our Plan B.

Should new guidance allow us to have a public in September, we will come back to you. Further guidance is promised in two weeks time.

Ambitious series of 80 Concerts from 13 September to 1 November to feature 150 leading musicians from across the UK and Europe

  • Wigmore Hall to re-open to the general public from 13 September with a major series of 80 concerts
  • Auditorium capacity (initially) reduced to 56 in strict compliance with government’s social distancing guidelines
  • All 80 concerts to be live streamed on high-definition video on Wigmore Hall site
  • Marianne Crebassa, Sabine Devieilhe, Mahan Esfahani, Gerald Finley, Jess Gillam, Leonidas Kavakos, Katharina Konradi, Igor Levit, Rachel Podger, Sir András Schiff, the Arditti Quartet, the Nash Ensemble, Apartment House among 150 British and international musicians to perform

In response to the British government’s announcement regarding indoor performances with socially distanced audiences, Wigmore Hall Director John Gilhooly will unveil initial ambitious plans for the autumn season at a one-off re-opening concert on 1 August.

In front of invited guests at Wigmore Hall’s first concert with live audiences since UK’s nation-wide lockdown, Gilhooly will announce details of a seven-week-long series of 80 concerts that will take place every day from 13 September to 1 November. Each concert will be approximately 60–90 minutes in length with no interval. The concerts will all be live streamed in high-definition video on Wigmore Hall’s website.

Following on from the success of the live broadcast concerts in partnership with BBC Radio 3 in June, the autumn series will not only include solo recitals and duos, but trios, quartets and larger ensembles will also return to Wigmore Hall for the first time since lockdown. Many of the 150 musicians scheduled to perform will travel to London from across the UK and Europe, marking the return of international musicians to the Wigmore Hall stage since travel restrictions were lifted. The series opens on 13 September with a song recital by the Olivier Award winning German baritone Christian Gerhaher and the pianist Gerold Huber.

Wigmore Hall will undertake a series of measures to comply with the government’s latest health and safety guidelines to provide audiences with the safest and the most comfortable environment to enjoy music. They will include:

  • A much-reduced audience capacity of 56; well below government guidelines, with the potential to rise as the series continues
  • No printed programmes or tickets
  • Temperature checks will be taken and hand sanitisers will be provided
  • Staggered entrance times and full compliance with indoor COVID-19 guidelines

"The health and safety of our audiences, musicians, and staff will always be our foremost concern. After the overwhelming responses to our June broadcast series, in conjunction with BBC Radio 3, that touched minds and hearts around the world, I am thrilled to be welcoming audiences through the doors to our beautiful auditorium again.

Over the past few months many of the world’s most distinguished musicians have not been immune to having their entire performance diaries wiped out and therefore being without income. Wigmore Hall is pleased to be able to play a role in supporting musicians financially by providing them with a stage to perform in front of audiences in London.

Obviously, should the international crisis escalate again from September our planned autumn concerts will revert to empty hall broadcasts.

We will continue to follow and respond closely to the government’s guidelines and recommendations in formulating our plans beyond November, into the challenging winter months.”

John Gilhooly, Director of Wigmore Hall

The roster of musicians taking part in the autumn series will include Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective and Apartment House – who become Wigmore Hall’s two new Associate Ensembles. Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, under the direction of pianist Tom Poster, brings together some of the finest young instrumentalists in new and varied formations, with a specific commitment to celebrating diversity. Winner of a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, Apartment House, formed by the cellist Anton Lukoszevieze, is one of UK’s leading specialists in avant-garde and experimental music.

The confirmed line-up of musicians so far includes:

Apartment House; Arditti Quartet; Kit Armstrong (piano); Mariam Batsashvili (piano); Florian Boesch (baritone); Frank Braley (piano); Gautier Capuçon (cello); Renaud Capuçon (violin); Marianne Crebassa (mezzo-soprano); Sabine Devieilhe (soprano); Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord); Gerald Finley (singer); Fretwork; Martin Fröst (clarinet); Christian Gerhaher (baritone); Jess Gillam (saxophone); Martin Helmchen (piano); Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective; Leonidas Kavakos (violin); Elizabeth Kenny (lute); Katharina Konradi (soprano); Igor Levit (piano); MILOŠ (guitar); The Nash Ensemble; Francesco Piemontesi (piano); Rachel Podger (violin); Quatuor Danel; Quatuor Ébène; Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello); Sir András Schiff (piano); Schumann Quartet; Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin);

A detailed programme will be announced on 18 August and details of the seating request process will follow soon after.

“Kaleidoscope’s last concerts to live audiences took place at Wigmore Hall in February. We had no idea that only a few weeks later, the whole world would come crashing to a halt. John Gilhooly’s series of concerts in June - live-streamed and broadcast far and wide - shone a ray of hope. Despite the proliferation of online performances during lockdown, nothing will ever replace live music-making, with its indefinable alchemy between composer, performer and audience, all resonating together in a magical space.”

Pianist Tom Poster and violinist Elena Urioste, on behalf of the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective

This series is generously underwritten by a lead gift from Louise Kaye in memory of David Kaye and several other donors.