Revolution: Welcome to the 2016-17 Season

This season you can enjoy a wide range of music, from a complete Beethoven Symphony cycle to a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Vasily Petrenko Chief Conductor

Vasily Petrenko conducts 22 concerts in Liverpool and launches his eleventh season in the city with one of the greatest adventures a conductor and orchestra can take together, a complete Beethoven Symphony cycle in four concerts over 10 days.

With the Orchestra, Petrenko has built a formidable reputation in the music of his compatriot composers Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich and there are many Russian riches to savour this season. Among the highlights are the first performance in Liverpool of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 12: The Year 1917 following the hugely acclaimed Shostakovich Symphony cycle on Naxos; Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, continuing his celebrated partnership with Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski, which will be recorded for release on Onyx in May 2017; and two all-Russian programmes with superstar Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov, giving his only UK performances outside London this season.

In other notable concerts led by Petrenko, he conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto performed by Tamsin Waley-Cohen; Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique in a programme also featuring virtuoso Baiba Skride playing Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No.1 and a rich strand of British music including Elgar, Walton and the Liverpool premiere of locally-born Emily Howard's Torus: Concerto for Orchestra, a co-commission with BBC Proms, and which received its world premiere at the BBC Proms 2016.

Revolutionaries: Beethoven, Bach, Berlioz, Stravinsky, The Beatles

The 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ trail-blazing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is marked with a symphonic recreation of the entire album and UK tour with The Bootleg Beatles. After two concerts in Liverpool, the celebrations tour to London’s Royal Albert Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall.

Taking in the ground-breaking symphonies of Beethoven and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album, the Orchestra explores a major theme of Revolution this season. The spotlight falls on J.S. Bach, Hector Berlioz and Igor Stravinsky, all of whom, like Beethoven and The Beatles, also revolutionised musical history.

The season includes Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust, Symphonie Fantastique and Harold in Italy. His ravishing set of songs for orchestra and mezzo-soprano, Les Nuits d’été, set the scene for Beethoven’s Ninth Choral Symphony under the baton of Petrenko with Anna Stéphany , while Madeleine Shaw is the Queen in his great mezzo-soprano showpiece The Death of Cleopatra.
Stravinsky’s influential music mirrors the revolutionary undercurrent of his Russian homeland in the 20th century and the works which have contributed to his enduring reputation as a musical revolutionary are showcased across the season.

Petrenko leads the way, jazzing it up with Scherzo à la Russe and Jeu de Cartes, before turning to the dazzling colours of Petrushka (1911 original version) with Circus Polka. Carlos Miguel Prieto conducts the fantastical Firebird Suite, while Christian Lindberg includes the cheeky mock-baroque ballet Pulcinella. Mahan Esfahani frames Bach’s Concerti with Stravinsky’s Concerto in D and his Danses Concertantes and the piano duo Anderson and Roe show off one of Stravinsky’s most notorious ground-breaking works, The Rite of Spring, arranged for piano duo and performed in Liverpool Philharmonic Hall’s Music Room as part of the Close Up series. His Soldier’s Tale, also part of Close Up in the Music Room, includes members of the orchestra and acclaimed Liverpool-born writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce as narrator.

Canadian violinist James Ehnes is this season’s Artist in Residence and other guest artists include violinists Nicola Benedetti and Baiba Skride, violist Lawrence Power; pianists Daniil Trifonov, Paul Lewis, Garrick Ohlsson and Alexandre Tharaud, oboist François Leleux, guitarist Craig Ogden and harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. Singers include Elin Manahan Thomas, Toby Spence, and Ian Bostridge.

Conductor Emeritus Sir Andrew Davis and Andrew Manze head a strong line-up of visiting conductors including Liverpool debuts from young Polish conductor Patrycja Pieczara and up-and-coming Slovakian Juraj Valčuha. Carl Davis celebrates his 80th birthday with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Liverpool Philharmonic’s prestigious chamber music series at Liverpool’s St. George’s Hall Concert Room continues the Revolution theme, putting the focus on J.S. Bach. James Ehnes launches the series with two concerts featuring the complete Sonatas and partitas for solo violin. Other key artists who put Bach at the heart of their chamber programmes include pianist Kirill Gerstein,Brodsky Quartet and the Katona Twins.


In intimate concerts in Music Room at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, the Orchestra’s Principal Cellist Jonathan Aasgaard performs the complete set of unaccompanied Bach Cello Suites; and the Goldberg Variations, where Aasgaard is joined by the Orchestra’s Joint Leader, James Clark (violin) and Joint Principal Viola, Vicci Wardman (viola)

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir has another busy and challenging season under the tutelage of Chorusmaster Ian Tracey. Highlights include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream; Rachmaninov’s Spring Cantata, Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust and a special celebration of the 50th anniversary of Liverpool’s famous Metropolitan Cathedral with Sir James MacMillan and Ian Bostridge.

Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir joins them for their annual Spirit of Christmas celebration, presented by Classic FM’s John Suchet as well as a concert of music by John Rutter conducted by the composer himself
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For all the family…

The Orchestra’s Family Concerts last around an hour and among the seven Family Concerts this season is an Intergalactic Journey featuring music from Superman, Star Wars; E.T. and Doctor Who; Magical Musical Kingdoms with music inspired by Tales of Narnia, Robin Hood, Beauty and the Beast and other fairy tales, as well as a special concert for the under-5s in Music Room.

Visit What's On pages and filter events by 'Classical Music' to explore all Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra concerts.

You can also view a version of the full season printed brochure on issu.

For a further overview of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2016-2017 season, read the press release

Explore the 2016/17 season

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