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Bryn, croissants and ladykillers: Launching the new season

Tue Jan 24 2012

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Magic + flutes = one of the most-loved operas of all time. We're performing Mozart's The Magic Flute @glyndebourne… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…


Yesterday morning much of the classical music press, together with famous musical names and a legion of Orchestra CEO’s and other behind-the-scenes staff gathered in the glamorously named ‘Level 5 Function Room’ at the Royal Festival Hall for the launch of the 2012-2013 concert season. As our regular attenders will know, the Southbank Centre is host to four Resident Orchestras: us (of course), the London Philharmonic, the Philharmonia and the London Sinfonietta. For several years now we’ve worked together to coordinate the launch of our various seasons – together with the Southbank’s own series: Shell Classic International, the International Chamber Music Series and the International Piano Series. Coordinating it like this makes things a lot simpler for audiences, the press, and indeed all of us!

Getting everything ready on time is no mean feat – and there are some horrifying / amazing spreadsheets that timetable everything down to the last day – when we get our concert details over to the Southbank Centre, when we confirm ticket prices, copy and pictures for each concert (for Southbank Centre’s website and Classical Guide), what seats we need for sponsors, and so on. At Southbank’s end it means that 200 or so events have to be set up on their box office system and website – which is no mean feat. Especially when people like me make a mistake with the pricing structure I originally sent over…

Anyway – doing it all together like this also means we can have a big press launch and hopefully get the classical music press enthused as to what we’re up to in the next 12-18 months. So we all gathered yesterday morning for coffee and croissants and heard from various people about what’s in store. Jude Kelly, the Artistic Director of Southbank Centre kicked off proceedings and was closely followed by the Southbank Centre’s new Head of Classical Music Gillian Moore. Next up was Vladimir Jurowski who talked about the LPO’s new season (my personal highlight: two concerts with Marin Alsop with some very esoteric repertoire, and Vladimir himself combining the LPO and Russian National Orchestra) before rushing off to rehearse the LPO in the Festival Hall right next door. Next it was the turn of the Philharmonia and Principal Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, who talked touchingly and amusingly about the composer Lutoslawski. His music is a feature of their new season – as is a performance marking the 100th anniversary of the Rite of Spring. I’m excited that they are also bringing back their excellent Re-Rite installation to London to coincide with this.

The London Sinfonietta, our office buddies here at Kings Place, were next (personal highlight – a new piece by Steve Reich based on songs by Radiohead) and then it was us in the spotlight! Vice-Chairman and viola player Martin Kelly did an excellent job in the three whole minutes that had been allotted to him, and our series title of Queens, Heroines and Ladykillers even got a laugh.

Lastly we had a special guest – Bryn Terfel, who is not just appearing in several concerts but is also putting on a whole Welsh festival at Southbank Centre. Including a food market. Yum.

So, what do we have in store? Well I’m going to be mean and leave that for a post tomorrow…sorry!

William Norris, Communications Director

PS: Failed to get a picture of Bryn – sorry, all too blurry. My hands must have been shaking with the excitement!

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