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Cambridge Classical Concert Series is hitting the high notes

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Cambridge Independent is proud to announce an exclusive new media partnership with the prestigious Cambridge Classical Concert Series (supported by Boldfield Computing) which for the past 30 years has hosted some of the world's top orchestras, soloists and conductors at Cambridge Corn Exchange.

Esa-Pekka Salonen
Esa-Pekka Salonen

Cambridge Independent is proud to announce an exclusive new media partnership with the prestigious Cambridge Classical Concert Series (supported by Boldfield Computing) which for the past 30 years has hosted some of the world’s top orchestras, soloists and conductors at Cambridge Corn Exchange. Each year between October and June, audiences are treated to an exciting and diverse series of eight concerts aimed at tempting all to dip their toes in the classical water. There are six more concerts for you to enjoy in the current series, starting Thursday, January 18, with a visit by the renowned City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The CBSO’s’ current music director, the dynamic Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla, has been causing quite a stir in the world of classical music and appears destined for greatness. The music website BachTrack recently enthused: “Never before have I been mesmerised by a conductor and a performance in such a way, and I look forward to seeing more of Mirga in the very near future.”

The concert on Thursday, January 18, with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra opens with Haydn’s Symphony No. 7 (‘Le Midi’). For the centrepiece of the evening, soloist Ning Feng gives a spirited performance of Bruch’s colourful Scottish Fantasy. The concert concludes with Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, one of the most thrilling rides in 20th century music.

During the concert, CBSO musicians will play alongside participants from Cambridgeshire Music Service as part of an education project, helping to inspire young music makers from the local area. Ahead of the 7.30pm concert, there is a pre-concert talk at 6pm at nearby Heffers Bookshop at which Mirga will appear, free to concert ticket holders.

Whether you’re a Brexiter or a Remainer, we’re sure you’ll want to give a warm Cambridge welcome to the European Union Chamber Orchestra which performs the next concert in the series on Tuesday, February 20.

Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla
Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla

Cello soloist Sheku Kanneh-Mason was a star of the 2017 BBC Proms, and his soulful interpretation of Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C will be the centrepiece of this delightful concert, which also includes the suite from Handel’s famous Water Music as well as works by Delius and Mozart. If ever there was a concert to banish the winter blues, this is it.

Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is considered by many to be the most technically demanding piano concerto ever written. The 1996 film Shine told the true story of Australian concert pianist David Helfgott who suffered a mental breakdown and gave up his career for many years and ‘Rach 3’, as it is popularly referred to by pianists, appears as the soundtrack to this Oscar-winning film. In 2003, video equipment salesman Jonathan Phillips re-mortgaged his family’s Cotswold’s house to buy a £45,000 Steinway piano and then practised from 5am till 7am each working day for 18 months, ahead of his day job, to fulfil his lifetime dream of publically performing ‘Rach 3’.

On Wednesday, March 7, YouTube sensation Valentina Lisitsa takes on the ‘Rach 3’ challenge at Cambridge Corn Exchange when she performs alongside the Russian State Philharmonic in a concert in an all-Russian programme that also includes two works by Tchaikovsky; the enduringly popular Sleeping Beauty Suite and the folk-inspired Symphony No. 4.

On Saturday, May 5, the Corn Exchange’s current Artist in Residence, Esther Yoo, gives a dazzling performance of the rarely heard Violin Concerto by Glazunov, in a mesmerising concert by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra that also features Brahms’ richly textured Symphony No. 1.

Esther Yoo
Esther Yoo

Straight after the concert, Esther will nip across to the Cambridge Union for a ‘Classical Late’ event (free to concert ticket holders) – a relaxed opportunity to find out more about Esther and her life in music.

Dresden Philharmonic visits the Corn Exchange on Sunday, May 20, with soloist Jennifer Pike performing Tchaikovsky’s great Violin Concerto.

The concert concludes magnificently with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, opening with the most instantly recognisable four notes in the history of classical music.

But the symphony is so much more than its famous opening bars – the euphoric finale is every bit as exciting as the opening.

The series ends on a high note on Sunday, June 24, with an appearance by the award-winning Philharmonia Orchestra.

Esa-Pekka Salonen is widely acknowledged to be one of the world’s greatest living conductors. See him bring out the very best of horn soloist Katy Woolley as she tackles Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4 in a concert that concludes with Beethoven’s sublime Symphony No. 2.

Here’s to the start of a beautiful new media partnership!

Tickets for students (and for under 26s in selected zones) are just £12.50 and bookable in advance. And anyone can make big savings by booking three or more of the remaining concerts – please ask Cambridge Live Tickets for details when booking your tickets on 01223 357851 or online at cornex.co.uk.

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