Rhinegold Photo credit: Matt Belcher

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Southbank Sinfonia announces #ConcertLab performances

4:03, 6th February 2017

The Southbank Sinfonia is to explore different aspects of concert presentation in its #ConcertLab performances.

Eight of the ensemble’s Rush Hour concerts will experiment with layout, lighting, movement and concertwear. The premise will see the musicians work alongside movement directors, choreographers and lighting directors, inviting audience feedback.

As part of the #ConcertLab series, Haydn’s ‘London’ Symphony will be given a contemporary theatrical context, St John’s Waterloo will adapt its performance space to present contemporary chamber music afresh, and orchestral clothing will be reimagined in concerts with soloist Jess Gillam and artists from the Royal Opera House. The fourth wall will be broken to immerse the audience within Bruckner’s fourth symphony, subtle lighting effects will accompany a string orchestra, while the possibilities of movement will be quizzed in Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus and Beethoven’s seventh symphony.

‘With #ConcertLab, we have the opportunity to ask questions of why concerts are presented as they are, and what new innovations might enhance or refresh their artistic power in the future,’ said Southbank Sinfonia’s communications director Matt Belcher. ‘It’s impossible to know exactly how – or even if – these experiments will work. It’s a journey of discovery for orchestra and audience alike, but one that promises to fuel debate and the imagination.’

Revealing its 2017 programme, the Southbank Sinfonia announced two new appointments: the Allegri Quartet will become associate artists, and Rebecca Miller has been appointed associate conductor.

The 2017 season will see conductor Mark Wigglesworth and saxophonist Jess Gillam make their debuts with the ensemble at Rush Hour concerts, and the orchestra will be joined by past members for a 15th anniversary concert at the Royal Festival Hall. Simon Over will conduct the orchestra and Benjamin Grosvenor, Benedict Nelson, Parliament Choir and Bar Choral Society in a programme comprising Mason Bates’ Mothership, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast.


Other plans for 2017 include a return to Wilton’s Music Hall with the Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists, a residency at St Martin-in-the-Fields, a reunion with Guy Barker and his Jazz Orchestra, and another venture with Gabriel Prokofiev. Southbank Sinfonia will also play a lead role in the PRS Foundation’s New Music Biennial, performing Anna Meredith’s concerto for beatboxer and orchestra both at Southbank Centre and in Hull, UK City of Culture.


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