Rhinegold Photo credit: Benjamin Ealovega

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Wigmore Hall to celebrate learning programme with two-week festival

4:09, 13th December 2017

Wigmore Hall is to place its learning programme in the spotlight with a two-week Seven Ages festival (10-24 February 2018).

Inspired by Shakespeare’s take on the seven phases of life, the festival will celebrate Wigmore Hall’s ongoing community work, which encompasses projects for people of all ages.

The festival will include workshop sessions, interactive events and discussions, and two evening concerts.

The first concert (15 February) will include the world première of a new song cycle by Helen Grime, specially commissioned for soprano Ruby Hughes and pianist Joseph Middleton, which sets poems about the joy and pain of parenthood from Fiona Benson’s collection Bright Travellers. The programme also contains other musical perspectives on parenthood, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder, Ives’s Cradle Song and James MacMillan’s The Children among them.

Shakespeare’s reflections on the journey’s major milestones will provide the frame for the second concert (23 February), programmed and accompanied by Graham Johnson. Soprano Ailish Tynan, mezzo-soprano Anna Huntley, tenor Ilker Arcayürek and bass-baritone Stephan Loges will share the stage for a recital that includes the world première of a new Wigmore Hall commission by Joseph Phibbs, and songs by Brahms, Britten, Mahler, Poulenc, Schubert, Schumann, Haydn, Wolf, Gilbert and Sullivan, Duparc and Noël Coward.

‘We have created Seven Ages to give our audiences a flavour of the richness and diversity of the unique range of work we lead across the community, with people of all ages and backgrounds,’ said John Gilhooly, director of Wigmore Hall. ‘We’re fully committed to serving the community, building new audiences and sharing the experiences of extraordinary music-making at Wigmore Hall with the widest possible audience. We know that music has such a positive role to play in education, personal development, wellbeing and mental health, areas of the highest importance to society. That’s why we are investing so heavily in Learning now and for the future.’

Daisy Swift, Wigmore Hall’s head of learning, said: ‘Seven Ages celebrates the different journeys we all take through life, and explores just some of the many ways we can make music at different stages of our lives.

‘We’re thrilled to collaborate with community, social and healthcare organisations to enable more people to take part in music making, regardless of background or circumstance.

‘Alongside many events for under-fives, schools, families and adults, we’re also launching two new events: Sound Connections and Wired4Music invite anyone to drop in and explore their own Musical Pathways in a visual art activity, and we launch a brand new series of Bechstein Sessions, informal early evening performances in our Bechstein Bar.’

For over 20 years, Wigmore Hall’s Learning programme has offered people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities opportunities the chance to take part in creative music making, engaging them through innovative creative projects, concerts, events and online resources.

The Hall collaborates with a range of community, health, social care and education organisations, working together to engage people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to take part. Its 2017/18 season includes more than 500 Learning events.


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