The classical music highlights of the summer

It’s a rich year for 20th-century music at the Proms
June 18, 2018

The Proms

London and beyond, 13th July to 8th September

It’s a rich year for 20th-century music at the Proms with Bernstein, Debussy and Parry all featuring. Highlights are legion, including pianist Paul Lewis (who plays Beethoven’s much-loved “Emperor” Concerto) and award-winning cellist Alisa Weilerstein, performing Shostakovich’s First Concerto. There are Debussy tributes from Glyndebourne, who bring Pelléas et Mélisande, as well as Mark Elder and the Halle Orchestra who perform the sumptuous cantata La Damoiselle élue. But most exciting is an all-Beethoven concert from Teodor Currentzis and his period orchestra MusicaAeterna. This punky ensemble can startle the most familiar music into giving up new secrets. Not to be missed.

A Celebration of Peace

Ely Cathedral, 4th July

The centenary of the Armistie is the theme for an event at Ely cathedral. Stephen Cleobury directs a chorus of 250 singers from across America. They join the local East Anglia Chamber Orchestra for a programme of Vaughan Williams, which has the composer’s plea for peace—Dona Nobis Pacem—at its heart, and includes his exquisite Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

Igor Levit

Symphony Hall, Birmingham on 19th July, Wigmore Hall, London on 21st July

He’s in his early thirties, but Igor Levit has already been described by the New York Timesas “One of the essential artists of his generation.” The Russian-German pianist’s intellect, breadth of repertoire and subtlety of touch all come together to create a supremely gifted artist. This eclectic programme—moving from Bach to Busoni via Wagner, Liszt and Schumann—should give a good sense of his musical scope.