Picture gallery: Star-studded line-up announced for Saffron Hall’s 2014-15 season

PUBLISHED: 09:00 02 July 2014

Lara Melda performs for an invited audience to launch the seasonal programme.

Lara Melda performs for an invited audience to launch the seasonal programme.


An international programme of world-class artists and ensembles have been lined up for Saffron Hall’s 2014-15 season.

Nicola Benedetti performing Vivaldi’s evergreen The Four Seasons at Saffron Hall. Picture: Simon Fowler, Universal Nicola Benedetti performing Vivaldi’s evergreen The Four Seasons at Saffron Hall. Picture: Simon Fowler, Universal

The venue announced it will host an array of distinguished soloists, orchestras and ensembles, conductors, chamber music, programme of talks and family concerts, alongside local amateur events.

It is heralded by the powerful forces of London Philharmonic Orchestra and principal conductor Vladimir Jurowski with tenor Ian Bostridge (September 21).

The season includes intimate recitals from legendary musicians such as violinist Maxim Vengerov (Sept 27), pianist Paul Lewis (Feb 20) and star countertenor Iestyn Davies in a programme of beautiful English songs for voice and lute (Feb 14). Beloved classics feature, from Nicola Benedetti performing Vivaldi’s evergreen The Four Seasons with other baroque works (Feb 28) and Vaughan Williams’s pastoral idyll The Lark Ascending performed by Chloë Hanslip (Apr 25) to Monteverdi’s sublime Vespers from The Sixteen and Harry Christophers (Nov 9) and Handel’s Messiah performed by the BBC Singers with Norway’s oldest orchestra, The Norwegian Wind Ensemble (Dec 20).

A host of distinguished artists will perform throughout the season, including Maria João Pires, Augustin Dumay and Antonio Meneses with Beethoven’s late piano trios (Oct 25), The Brodsky Quartet (Oct 10), Duke Ellington favourite Abdullah Ibrahim with his new jazz trio (Nov 16), conductor/composer Thomas Adès leading his own works (Nov 2) and soprano/conductor Barbara Hannigan, who made such an impression at the hall’s opening night last year (May 9).

Designed to accommodate large ensembles as well as chamber groups, Saffron Hall also hosts ensembles such as The English Concert (May 27), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under their renowned artistic director and chief conductor Jiří Bělohlávek (Apr 25), and Cambridge locals Britten Sinfonia, who formed a significant part of the Hall’s first season. Britten Sinfonia appears three times during the 2014/15 season in eclectic programmes which feature violinist Pekka Kuusisto (Nov 2) and new work from exciting young composers still in their 20s: Brit Thomas Coult (Mar 22); and a world premiere from Spaniard Francisco Coll (Nov 2).

Contemporary music also features in a programme from the LA-based Calder Quartet (Dec 7) with string quartets from Ligeti and US composer (finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Music) Andrew Norman, whilst virtuoso percussionist and Artist-in-Residence at the Southbank Centre Colin Currie leads his own ensemble in a programme of Steve Reich, including a new work written for him by the iconic composer (Apr 26).

A new initiative sees Sunday morning coffee concerts from rising stars of the UK classical music scene: cellist Philip Higham (Nov 30); pianist Lara Melda (May 24); violinist Callum Smart (Feb 22); and the youngest-ever winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year (aged 12), trombonist Peter Moore (Oct 5).

Family concerts feature throughout the season, including Christmas favourite The Snowman, alongside Sanjeev Bhaskar (Goodness Gracious Me) narrating Peter and the Wolf (Dec 14), and author Michael Morpurgo narrates his children’s book The Mozart Question accompanied by live

music, bringing the moving, inspirational story to life (Feb 1).

Saffron Hall also hosts performances from the Saffron Walden Symphony Orchestra, Saffron Walden Choral Society and Saffron Opera Group, who begin the season with a concert performance of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Sep 14). Plus Words in Walden presents guest appearances from writers John McCarthy (Oct 17), James Mayhew (Oct 19) and Baroness Shirley Williams (Oct 30).

Angela Dixon, director of the Saffron Hall Trust said: “It is with immense pride and excitement that we announce Saffron Hall’s second season, my first since leaving my role as head of music at the Barbican, London.

“I have fallen in love with the superb acoustic of Saffron Hall and the incredible potential it represents for music lovers across the south and east of England; it gives me great pleasure to invite some of the world’s most exciting and prominent artists to showcase our award-winning new space.

“This hall will be a strong combination of world-class artists, amateur music making and youth music. I am delighted that the glittering international artists and ensembles will share the stage with the students and the local groups who continue to inspire me with their support and dedication.

“With this potent mix of outstanding music and performance provision we aim to be a catalyst for exceptional music-making, not just in Saffron Walden but across the whole region.”

Full listings and booking information: saffronhall.com or follow @SaffronHallSW on Twitter.

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