Legendary violinist tops the bill in Nottingham classics 2009-2010 season

Pinchas ZukermanLegendary violinist, Pinchas Zukerman, headlines a Nottingham Classics season that promises thrills-a-plenty at the Royal Concert Hall in 2009-2010. One of the most prolific artists of his generation, the Israeli virtuoso has performed in all corners of the world, not only as a violinist but also as a master viola-player and respected conductor. His fame extends well beyond the concert hall since, as one of the premier recording artists of the last fifty years, his performances are played and replayed in millions of homes worldwide.

Mr Zukerman appears with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Friday 7 May, in a gala concert that will also highlight his talent as a conductor. After performing Beethoven’s epic Violin Concerto he will swap his Guarneri violin for a baton in Dvořák’s 8th Symphony. The Royal Concert Hall’s Classical Music Manager, Neil Bennison, said: “opportunities to hear artists with the calibre of Pinchas Zukerman are very rare indeed so we didn’t hesitate to book him for the 2009-2010 season – he’s one of those performers that concert-goers talk about for many years afterwards.”

After another record-breaking season in 2008-2009, the bar has been raised higher for Nottingham Classics but the Royal Concert Hall is confident that it has a winning programme in store from October to June. The season has grown to 14 concerts and now also includes a BBC Radio 3 Discovering music concert, in which broadcaster Stephen Johnson will explore Bruckner’s majestic 6th symphony with the BBC Philharmonic on Wednesday 28 October.

Charlie SiemInternational orchestras again play a major role in the series, with the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra (Wednesday 14 October) and Czech National Symphony Orchestra (Tuesday 16 February) performing music from their homelands, including Tchaikovsky’s 1st Symphony and Janáček’s gritty portrait of the Cossack Leader, Taras Bulba. The orchestras are also joined by two leading English soloists, Guy Johnston and Charlie Siem for Saint-Saëns’ 1st Cello Concerto and Bruch’s popular Violin Concerto No.1.

As in previous seasons, Nottingham Classics’ resident orchestra, the Hallé, contributes four concerts, with conductor Sir Mark Elder launching the season on 1 October with a powerful pairing of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto (made famous in David Leans’ film, Brief Encounter) and Sibelius’s radiant 5th Symphony. The Hallé will also be putting on one of the largest concerts ever staged at the Royal Concert Hall on Sunday 31 January, with Mahler’s massive 2nd Symphony ‘the Resurrection’, a truly spectacular journey into the hereafter.

Xuefei YangElsewhere in the series, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra performs an all-Russian programme with its dynamic new Music Director, Andris Nelsons, and fellow Latvian violinist Baiba Skride, and the Newcastle-based Northern Sinfonia makes the long trek south for a concert that includes Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings and Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, with the acclaimed guitarist, Xuefei Yang as soloist.

Not content to rest on its laurels, Nottingham Classics is also launching a new series of late night concerts in 2009-2010. After Hours, which is supported by Orchestras Live, offers an eclectic programme of performances that take place after four of the main concerts in the season and makes it possible to include more contemporary music in a more informal format. These concerts include music by Philip Glass, John Adams, Nico Muhly (composer of the score to the Oscar-winning film, The Reader) and Astor Piazolla. The concerts are free to those attending the main concert but can also be attended separately for just £3 by turning up on the door.

It all adds up to another compelling series and advance subscription booking has again been strong. The true picture, of course, will emerge when general booking opens, which it does on Monday 10 August.

Tickets for all subscription series concerts are £9 - £30 and are available from the ticket office on 0115 989 5555. Tickets for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Gala Concert are £10 - £35 and all tickets for the BBC Radio 3 Discovering Music Concert are £10. General booking opens on 10 August.

For a free copy of the 2009-2010 Nottingham Classics Season Brochure call the Royal Centre on 0115 989 5555.