Barbican HallKings PlaceFestival Hall


Celia BallantyneVisits to classical concerts, with the occasional foray into jazz and world, in various London venues.

Group Coordinator: Celia Ballantyne (click to contact)

Our visits are on an ad hoc basis, depending on what's on.

London concert halls and churches.

We go to a wide variety of concerts including orchestral, choral, chamber, vocal, recital and big band. Suggestions are always welcome. Concerts might be late morning, lunchtime or evening and are in a variety of venues. Wherever possible ticket prices are very reasonable and chosen with the acoustics and sightlines of the venue in mind. Some concerts are free.

The way it works is that the Group Coordinator identifies a concert to visit, and notifies members on her mailing list. Those expressing interest then receive all relevant information, including guidance on which row to buy tickets in, and then they buy their own tickets.

All iU3A members are entitled to be on the mailing list to receive information and to join visits if they wish. To join the mailing list, click here

Our Next Concert Visits
Wigmore HallFriday 13 October, Wigmore Hall,
7.30pm — Vijay Iyer jazz residency

I heard my former colleagues talk about this musician so often I thought it was about time I introduced a few more people (including me!) to his talents. This concert is the final part of a year-long residency at Wigmore Hall and features the Grammy-nominated keyboard player Iyer with his sextet. All the info is here.

Wigmore Hall is easily accessible and directions can be found here.

St John's Smith SquareMonday 27 November, St John's Smith Square, 7.00pm — Mozart: Master of Deception
Two Mozart Violin Concertos played by Rachel Podger, one of the most highly-regarded violinists in the world today. These are interspersed with symphonies by Haydn and J C Bach (often referred to as the ‘London’ Bach) performed by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. At £15 this is an absolute bargain and is already selling very well. Details here. Directions to St John’s are given here

Temple ChurchTuesday 12 December, Temple Church, 7.30pm — Choir of Merton College, Oxford
Rather than going to hear a traditional carol concert in the run-up to Christmas here is a highly unusual Yuletide programme to be performed by the Choir of Merton College Oxford directed by Ben Nicholas. It will also be the first time our group has been to Temple Church, which I hope will be a fitting setting for the festive season. Details here. Directions here.

Previous Concert Visits
So far we have heard:

- A BBC Radio 3 lunchtime concert of piano music by Schumann, Smetana and Prokofiev by Ashley Wass, standing in at very short notice for an indisposed Ingrid Fliter.

- A wonderfully atmospheric performance of Shostakovich's setting of Ten Poems by Revolutionary Poets from the Latvian Radio Choir as part of the 2017 Proms season.

- St Paul's Cathedral resounding to organ music; JS Bach, Handel, Richard Strauss, Poulenc and the Adagio attributed to Albinoni.

- Students on the opera course at the Royal Academy of Music entering fully into the spirit of Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera.

- Guitar supremo Martin Taylor and his vocalist daughter-in-law, Alison Burns paying tribute to Ella Fitzgerald in her centenary year.

- Tenebrae directed by Nigel Short in a spine-tingling performance of Fauré's Requiem at St John's, Smith Square.

- A very finely crafted performance of Stravinsky's Firebird from The Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Pablo Heras-Cassado, preceded by de Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain (soloist Javier Perianes) and Ravel's Alborada del gracioso.

- Highly accomplished pianist Lara Melda, the BBC's 2010 Young Musician of the Year, in her Wigmore Hall debut performing Nocturnes, Mazurkas and Scherzo No 1 by Chopin.

- The Academy Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christopher Warren-Green in a wonderfully varied programme of works by the Strauss dynasty including arias sung by outstanding young Russian soprano Ilona Revolskaya.

- Sopranos Carolyn Sampson and newcomer Rowan Pierce duetting in Monteverdi interspersed with sonatas by Dario Castello performed with their usual gusto by the Academy of Ancient Music directed by Richard Egarr.

- A scintillating performance of Beethoven's Violin Concerto by Anne-Sophie Mutter at the Royal Festival Hall conducted by Robin Ticciati, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra showing us what they can do in Dvorak's perenially popular Ninth Symphony, 'From the New World'.

- Irish tenor Robin Tritschler in a programme of songs by Mozart and Tchaikovsky devised by pianist Iain Burnside and recorded for broadcast by BBC Radio 3.

- Young Italian pianist Costanza Principe in a programme of Beethoven, Schubert and Rachmaninov in the tranquil surroundings of St James's Piccadilly.

- Multiple award-winning guitarist Jim Mullen at King's Place joined by singer Zoe Francis and bassist Mike Hutton in a thoroughly enjoyable programme of jazz standards.

- Gil Shaham in an electrifying performance of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with Pablo Heras-Casado conducting The Philharmonia, who also gave us Shostakovich and Prokofiev in this all-Russian programme.

- a highly unusual contribution to Shakespeare 400 from ExCathedra and actor Samuel West at London's newest concert hall, Milton Court.

- a concert celebrating the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II which featured a cornucopia of short and very familiar works by Vivaldi, Handel, Purcell, Arne and Pachelbel.

- Pergolesi's Stabat Mater very well sung by the Rector of St James's Piccadilly and the Vicar Choral at St Paul's Cathedral.

- A late change of artists meant we went to hear an excellent recital by Tamsin Waley-Cohen and Huw Watkins at a packed Wigmore Hall.

- the London Symphony Orchestra's string sections performing Mendelssohn's tuneful Octet at St Luke's in Old Street

- the Academy of Ancient Music directed by Richard Egarr in a splendid performance of JS Bach's Christmas Oratorio

- the very accomplished young students of the Royal Academy of Music conducted by Music Director of Glyndebourne Festival and Principal Conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Robin Ticciati

- BBC Young Musician 2012 winner, cellist Laura van der Heijden performing Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Cadogan Hall

- young orchestral and choral students from the Guildhall School of Music blowing the roof off Barbican Hall in a programme of Elgar and Prokofiev

- Organist and Master of the Choristers of Westminster Abbey, James O'Donnell, performing on the newly-restored organ at Christ Church, Spitalfields

- the final concert of this year's Handel Festival in the magnificent surroundings of St George's, Hanover Square

- the world-renowned Nash Ensemble in a BBC Radio 3 lunchtime concert at LSO St Luke's

- the Symphonic Brass and Big Band of the Royal Academy of Music performing the music of jazz legend Dave Holland

- brilliant British pianist Paul Lewis performing a solo piano recital at the Royal Festival Hall

- a Sunday morning Coffee Concert at Wigmore Hall, with the St Lawrence String Quartet

- a concert at London's newest concert hall, Milton Court, featuring the wonderful Barbican Young Orchestra

- talented students from the Guildhall School of Music taking part in the City of London Festival at St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe

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