Wigmore Hall’s bold 2013-14 programme brings outstanding artists and compelling programmes to the world’s greatest chamber music venue.
Yes, that did read “the world’s” – of course the Wigmore itself would never be so immodest as to say so, but the rest of us can; there is no other chamber music venue anywhere else with this variety of performance, this level of soloists and this imagination in programming, all alongside at least five other establishments offering high quality chamber music in the same city.
Public booking opens on 31 May, and although a short article can only give a flavour of what’s to come, the breadth and excellence of the season’s concerts will be plain to see even in so personal a choice as this.
In the opening week alone, the soloists and ensembles will include Bryn Terfel, Simon Keenlyside, Thomas Hampson, Ian Bostridge, Menahem Pressler and Europa Galante. Lest these world-renowned names should give the impression that the Wigmore plays it safe, note that there are to be no fewer than 28 world and national premieres including works by Pascal Dusapin, Bruno Mantovani, Rolf Wallin, Judith Weir and Jörg Widmann – and Julian Anderson will be the hall’s Composer in Residence, beginning with a day devoted to his music on 2 November.
There will be a five-concert survey of Bach’s keyboard works by András Schiff (23, 26, 29 November and 14 and 18 December) and Yo-Yo Ma will return to the Wigmore on 29 April, after a 20-year absence. Mitsuko Uchida and members of the Berlin Philharmonic will give a concert of Schubert, Berg and Messiaen, Steven Isserlis will present Music in the Shadow of War, highlighting works created in the decades between the two world wars, and the music of Michael Tippett will be celebrated in a short series featuring Mark Padmore, Steven Osborne, Craig Ogden and the Heath Quartet.
As always, the Wigmore is heaven on earth for lovers of song; regulars sometimes shrug and say “Why?” when asked if they’ve been to this or that Festival, since most of the significant singers of today are likely to make an appearance here. This season, a mere selection includes Matthias Goerne, Florian Boesch, Christopher Maltman, Sarah Connolly, Lucy Crowe, Christoph Prégardien and Miah Persson.
Early Music continues to be a special strength, highlights of a 48-concert season in this category including Les Arts Florissants with William Christie, The English Concert with Trevor Pinnock (15 October), Les Talens Lyriques with Christopher Rousset, The Tallis Scholars and Stile Antico. Music from Tudor times to the present is no exaggeration here.
As always, there will be many concerts where this 540-seat hall cannot fit in everyone who’d like to hear all these musical treasures, but the extensive programme of ‘live’ broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 as well as the award-winning ‘Wigmore Hall Live’ label goes a long way to compensate those who are not so fortunate as to obtain tickets for sell-out events, or who live too far away to experience this unique setting.
Further details of Wigmore Hall concerts can be found at wigmore-hall.org.uk.