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Commentary

18 Aug 2020

Wigmore Hall: Artistic Director John Gilhooly confirms 100 concerts from 13 September to 21 December

John Gilhooly today announced repertoire and artist details for Wigmore Hall’s autumn series of 100 concerts, including 28 lunchtime concerts in association with BBC Radio 3. All 100 concerts will be live-streamed in HD and free to watch on demand for 30 days after broadcast on Wigmore Hall’s website.

Detailed plans have been drawn up to ensure that if government rules permit, most concerts will be in front of an audience in the Hall. Initially, numbers attending will be restricted to 56 people, 10% capacity, with the ability to move to 112 seats, 20% capacity, as the season progresses.

The autumn series will not only include solo recitals and duos, but trios, quartets and larger ensembles will return to Wigmore Hall for the first time since lockdown.

Many of the over 200 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. Any artists unable to fulfil their scheduled date at the Hall will be replaced to ensure all concert dates are fulfilled.

The Hall will be open every day from 13 September to 1 November, but open only on Mondays in November, and Mondays and Tuesdays in December, in case of a worsening in the health crisis during the winter months.

  • Over 200 artists confirmed, of which over two-thirds are UK born or UK based, underlining Wigmore Hall’s efforts to get artists earning again.
  • Reaffirming Wigmore Hall’s ongoing commitment to diversity of repertoire and artists, performances include Apartment House, Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, Tai Murray (violin), Elizabeth Llewellyn (soprano), Fatma Said (soprano), Roderick Williams (baritone), Arditti Quartet, Elena Urioste (violin), Kit Armstrong (piano), Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord), Claron McFadden (soprano) and Matthew Wadsworth (lute) and a digital fundraising concert for Chineke!.
  • Special focuses on Samuel Coleridge-Taylor in song and chamber music, Polish-Jewish-Russian composer Mieczys┼éaw Weinberg, and the pioneering 20th century minimalist Julius Eastman who expressed his black and gay identity through music.
  • Special documentary on internationally acclaimed double bassist Leon Bosch and his early anti-apartheid activism which saw him jailed as a teenager in South Africa, and Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger on Anti-Semitism. To celebrate the release of their respective new books, Graham Johnson will give a talk on Poulenc, and Natasha Loges and Katy Hamilton will present a discussion on Brahms.
  • Concerts will go ahead with or without an audience. All concerts will be live streamed in high definition on Wigmore Hall’s website and will be free to view worldwide.
  • 28 lunchtime concerts to be broadcast in association with BBC Radio 3 as well as a New Generation Artists weekend.

John Gilhooly, Director of Wigmore Hall said:

“It is a huge joy to announce that we will have 100 concerts between now and Christmas, and we are very pleased to include so many local artists, despite these very tough circumstances for Wigmore Hall. Alongside the core chamber and song repertoire I have encouraged artists to explore 20th- and 21st-century composers and a diversity of repertoire throughout the series.

Concerts will go ahead with or without an audience and the schedule is subject to change given the uncertainty of travel and the possibility of local and international lockdowns and quarantine problems. We are already planning for the spring, and many local artists included in the spring series are on standby to bring their concerts forward, should we need them for last-minute replacements this autumn.

This is not an easy time for the Hall or for live performing arts, and this has been a very difficult project to put together, logistically, and financially. We remain grateful to ACE and to the generosity of individual donors and sponsors who are helping to underpin significant costs around running the Hall at this challenging time. Nobody should be under any illusion about how finely balanced things are for the Hall for the foreseeable future. However, we are determined to get artists working again, and to pay them their full fees through this series. Please be generous if you are watching online, to help us fulfil the pledge to put money in artists’ pockets, many of whom have not worked since March, including artists at every stage of their career.

I hope this series of concerts encourages the Wigmore Hall audience to continue their memberships and to continue supporting us as usual, for which we are extremely grateful. We are also very pleased to collaborate with our wonderful colleagues at BBC Radio 3 for a minimum of 28 live broadcasts and a weekend dedicated to New Generation Artists.”

Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3 and Classical Music:

“Live music is a vital part of the cultural offer in the UK and a core part of BBC Radio 3’s remit, we are delighted to be supporting Wigmore Hall in once again bringing their musical treasures to audiences everywhere - we had such a positive reaction back in June when we broadcast the last concerts and we can’t wait to be musical partners once again.”

For full details of repertoire for each concert please visit: wigmore-hall.org.uk

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