MIDLANDS, NORTH AND WALES
National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
Warwick Arts, Coventry, 4 January
Tel: +44 (0)24 7652 4524
Science Fiction – a multimedia work for percussion and electronics by Rick Dior – meets science fact in the form of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic Symphony for the National Youth Orchestra’s first concert of 2019. At the helm is the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s music director Kirill Karabits, who wraps things up with Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2. Further performances follow in London and Nottingham.
Big Song Weekend
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff,
Tel: +44 (0)29 2039 1391
Anchored by pianist Joseph Middleton, BBC Radio 3’s Big Song Weekend pursues Richard Strauss across four recitals starting with baritone James Newby, who includes a carol written by the composer when he was six. Soprano Carolyn Sampson explores the final years in an afternoon crowned by the Four Last Songs. Fellow soprano Katharina Konradi tackles middle-period Strauss before mezzo Sophie Rennert adds Hans Pfitzner to the mix.
In Focus: George Benjamin
Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, 22-23 January
Tel: +44 (0)161 907 5555
Clark Rundell masterminds a mini-festival devoted to the music of George Benjamin (see p34) and conducts the BBC Philharmonic in landmarks such as Ringed by the Flat Horizon. Elsewhere solo and chamber works are spliced with new works by Bofan Ma and Julia Han.
Elvet Methodist Church, Durham, 29 January
Tel: +44(0)191 334 3140
Web: www.musicdurham.org/ musicon
Exaudi’s ‘Italian Madrigal
Book’ extends from the usual suspects such as Monteverdi and Gesualdo to Sciarrino, and, turning its pages for Durham Vocal Festival, they also include the premiere of a specially commissioned work from