The Stoller Hall in Manchester has announced its August 2017-February 2018 concert season, in the same week as it is named a winner of a prestigious national design award.

Opened just three months ago, with a spectacular Royal Concert conducted by Sir Mark Elder and attended by HRH the Earl of Wessex, the £7.5m Stoller Hall was hailed an acoustic triumph with 5 star reviews in the national press. Now its striking visual design, by Manchester-based Stephenson Studio, has also been recognised as one of the 49 best new buildings in the UK by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) with a national award for significant contribution to architecture.

A short initial season since The Stoller Hall’s opening in April has already seen performances by classical/jazz crossover trio Gwilym Simcock, Thomas Gould and Mike Walker; by Mark Kermode, playing to silent film with his band the Dodge Brothers; and coming up, visits by Manchester Jazz Festival (Dave Maric, Phronesis & Engines Orchestra: Decade Zero, 29 July) and harp and kora duo Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita (21 July).

Manchester Collective

The first full season in The Stoller Hall opens with the Chetham’s International Summer School and Festival for Pianists – a two-week pianists’ paradise, including the complete Beethoven concertos performed Stockport Symphony Orchestra and artists including Noriko Ogawa, Peter Frankl and Leon McCawley (19-20 August); a recital programme opening with Peter Donohoe (17-26 August); and the finals of the Manchester International Concerto Competition for Young Pianists with Manchester Camerata (27-28 August).

September opens with guitarist and songwriter Chris Wood (9 September), rescheduled after the events in Manchester during May. Radio 4 comic and musician Kieran Hodgson brings his violin to town on September 12, followed by Tasmin Little – firmly established as one of today’s leading violinists – who performs four sonatas with pianist Piers Lane on September 26. Songwriter Martin Simpson ends the month (28 September) with his new album, Trails and Tribulations.

October marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution with a month of music and arts (3 October-8 November). The Russian October festival opens with an introductory lecture by composer, broadcaster and teacher Gerard McBurney (3 October) and includes a screening of the classic film Battleship Potemkin with live music improvised by pianist Neil Brand, presenter of BBC Four’s The Sound of Musicals (8 October). Actor Timothy West reads Russian poetry alongside songs performed by RNCM Songsters in Revolution Retrospective, part of Manchester Literature Festival, on October 10. Berlin’s Kuss Quartet play Shostakovich’s Quartets 9 & 11 (12 October) and St George’s Singers perform Rachmaninov’s Vespers (21 October). The festival relocates briefly to The Bridgewater Hall on 20 October, where Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra combine Tchaikovksy’s 1812 Overture with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 12: The Year 1917. Interspersed with masterclasses, pop up dramatic miniatures and an insight into the workings of an orchestra through the eyes of artist James Mayhew (15 October), the festival closes with a performance of Nikolai Erdman’s classic comedy The Suicide by students of Manchester School of Theatre (8 November).

The Unthanks

Northern Chamber Orchestra give the first of three concerts on 3 November with guitarist Craig Ogden playing Rodrigo’s beloved Concierto de Aranjuez and a brand new concerto by composer Andy Scott. Pianist Cordelia Williams plays Rachmaninov and Pärt (10 November) Salford Choral Society sing Fauré’s Requiem (11 November) and the Aurora Percussion Duo return from tours of China and across the UK to their home town of Manchester with a visually spectacular and virtuosic showcase of music from both east and west (15 November); a combination sustained by Reiko Fujisawa, piano, in a programme  placing Takemitsu beside Beethoven (29 November). Meanwhile, anthemic songwriter Jesca Hoop brings music from her 2017 album Memories Are Now on November 28.

In December, The Stoller Hall welcomes Manchester Collective as its first Ensemble in Residence. Comprising some of the most exciting musical talent from a new generation of international instrumentalists, Manchester Collective have taken their music to 65000 people in a debut season and now step up to a larger venue. Their first performance, The End of Time, introduces chamber works by Ravel and Stravinsky before Messiaen’s harrowing, genre-defining quartet (2 December). Three more concerts in their 2018 season are yet to be announced…watch this space for their season debut on 27 January!

In the run up to Christmas, The Stoller Hall is delighted to welcome Mercury nominated Tynesiders the Unthanks, accompanied by the cutting edge chamber orchestra Army of Generals and their maverick conductor, Charles Hazlewood (8 December). The exceptional voice of Cara Dillon marks the festive season with classic carols, Celtic hymns and Christmas songs (9 December), and pianist Stephen Hough – considered one of the country’s finest pianists and polymaths – invites audiences to join him in preparation for performance, as he rehearses Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with assistance from Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra of students from his former school (13 December).

In January, Northern Chamber Orchestra return with jazz pianist Gwilym Simcock playing his own compositions and arrangements (12 January). The charismatic Heath Quartet, formed at RNCM, play Haydn and Ravel (6 February), before the season closes with saxophonist Iain Ballamy conducting Chetham’s Big Band (14 February) and Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra playing Sibelius Symphony No. 7 and Ravel’s Boléro (16 February).

Learning is embedded into The Stoller Hall’s programme, an integral part of its relationship with Chetham’s and with the city. Many of the artists appearing in the new season, including Tasmin Little and Stephen Hough, will also give masterclasses with Chetham’s talented students, open to the public and free to students and young people thanks to the support of the Haworth Trust. Two concerts by Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra will be preceded by opportunities to sit onstage among the players, exploring the planned repertoire through the eyes of a performer – aided, in October, by artist James Mayhew, who literally draws out the colours of Shostakovich’s symphony. For families and school groups, the brand new Stoller Hall Outreach Ensemble performs twice – puzzling through the links between music and maths in October, and taking A Voyage Around the Orchestra with BBC Ten Pieces repertoire in February. Both events include concerts for families and primary schools, as well as free musical activities for Early Years before the main concerts begin.

The creation and running of The Stoller Hall is only possible thanks to the generosity of many Trusts and individuals, in particular the Stoller Charitable Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation.




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