'It has been a huge joy and privilege to put the 2019/20 Season together. I am convinced that it is one of our strongest ever.'John Gilhooly, Director of Wigmore Hall
In the 250th year since his birth, Wigmore Hall’s season-long exploration of Beethoven’s timeless art (covering all of his instrumental and chamber works) is certain to reveal fresh insights, first and foremost in a special opening weekend festival. Across ten concerts in just two days, the festival places Beethoven in context with performances from artists such as Steven Isserlis, Alina Ibragimova, the S˘kampa Quartet, Elisabeth Leonskaja and the groundbreaking chamber ensemble O/Modernt.
Throughout the season, further Beethoven highlights include Jonathan Biss, James Ehnes and Miklós Perényi in respective surveys of the composer’s complete piano, violin and cello sonatas; the complete string quartets from the Belcea Quartet, the complete piano trios from Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch and the complete string trios from Jean-Guihen Queyras, Daniel Sepec and Tabea Zimmermann. Cédric Tiberghien will begin a two-season series of Beethoven’s piano variations, and Philippe Cassard and Cédric Pescia will perform Liszt’s arrangement of the Ninth Symphony for two pianos, while there are red-letter Beethoven dates from Sir András Schiff, Sir Simon Keenlyside, Michael Collins, Leonidas Kavakos and Matthias Goerne.
The Castalian String Quartet are in the spotlight at Wigmore next season launching the Hall’s Brahms Series, in partnership with violist Isabel Charisius and cellist Ursula Smith, performing two works taken from opposite ends of the composer’s career – the String Sextet in B flat Op. 18 and the elegiac String Quintet in G Op. 111.
Musicologist Katy Hamilton will lead study events throughout the season relating to her major new book on Brahms, co-edited with Natasha Loges and published in 2019.
Brahms’s chamber music is also at the centre of Stephen Hough’s 2019/20 Season residency, which spans five concerts, collaborating with various other artists throughout the season Michael Collins, Castalian String Quartet, Renaud Capuçon, Steven Isserlis and Andrei Ioniţă.
Wigmore Hall played a decisive part in Benjamin Britten’s development. In the 1930s, it staged the first performances of several chamber pieces and the Hall secured its place in the history of Britten when it hosted the world premières of Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, the Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, the Second String Quartet and The Holy Sonnets of John Donne.
Wigmore Hall reflects on Britten’s legacy in nine concerts and related Learning events during 2019/20. The season opens on 13 September with a Britten gala featuring Louise Alder, Christine Rice, Allan Clayton, Christopher Maltman and James Baillieu.
Britten’s complete songs with piano will be performed in an evening of choral music from Vox Luminis. Also this season, various performances of the composer’s Canticles will be explored, an irresistible programme to be streamed live on Wigmore Hall’s website. And Allan Clayton will crown the series with a late-night date with Britten’s seductive Cabaret Songs.
Celebrating Britten at Wigmore Hall continues with two anniversary concerts, the first celebrating the composer’s birthday (also St Cecilia’s Day), the second commemorating his death: the Doric String Quartet marks Britten’s birthday with an evening comprising the three string quartets, and the Aurora Orchestra and conductor Ryan Wigglesworth are joined on 4 December by Allan Clayton in the Serenade and by Sophie Bevan in Les Illuminations.