Classical Weekend 2017

Sheffield is becoming known for staging world class festivals, such as Tramlines. DocFest and Sensoria: all of which started small and grew into what they now are. To the list we’ll soon be adding the Classical Weekend festival. It was such a big hit last year, and it’s back for a bigger and better second season, from the 17th to the 19th March. As before, it’s curated and programmed by Classical Sheffield and features a host of both exciting international artists and local musicians.

They will be performing a huge range of music across a wide range of city-centre venues. As well as shows in the City Hall, Firth Hall and the Upper Chapel, they will also be in more unexpected places such as Yellow Arch and Kelham Island Museum; venues not normally associated with classical concerts. There are so many events it’s impossible to do them justice here, so you must visit their website for the full lowdown.

Classical Chinese music? Is that even a thing? Well. It will be if you get along to the Upper Chapel on the opening night. Zhan Yong Ming, Huo Yonggang, Dai Xialian and Li Jingxia, who are some of Shanghai’s finest performers, will be giving an uplifting concert that should be a perfect introduction for curious new listeners.

One of the hot tickets of the weekend will be an immersive sound event at Kelham Island, where the musicians will actually surround the audience. Radiohead collaborator Oliver Coate will be the star cellist in the UK premiere of ‘Canticles of the Sky’ by American composer John Luther Adams. Later that evening, Xia Jing, one of the greatest living Chinese zither soloists, joins the Fidelio Trio in a UK premiere by Sheffield-based composer Dorothy Ker and others, and Opera on Location present miniature operas by Sheffield composer collective Platform 4.

We’re well known for pushing the boundaries of electronic music in Sheffield, so here’s a thing. Why not give primary school pupils access to electronic instruments and let them compose and explore the possibilities? You can hear the results in a concert at Firth Hall on the Saturday.

In Der Der Der Derrrrrrr, on the Sunday afternoon in the City Hall Ballroom, you can actually sit in among the Hallam Sinfonia, get to play and even conduct Beethoven’s Fifth, as they explore the origins behind the most famous four notes in the history of music.

There’s even comedy added to the mix. At the Yellow Arch Studios on the Sunday night Crimes Against Taste #2 present a show about the pitfalls of trying to become an opera singer, with Graham Neal and Jon Openshaw accompanied by Robert Webb on piano.

Saturday night will see an otherworldly singing spectacular as a massed choir of singers from across Sheffield blast out a powerful rendition of Carl Orff’s famous cantata, Carmina Burana, at Firth Hall to celebrate the bone-rattling piece’s 80th anniversary.

As if that wasn’t enough music to pack into one weekend, the Winter Garden, Blue Moon cafe and others will host a series of free pop-up events to tempt you in. It should be a classic weekend…

You can buy a full weekend pass, or individual tickets, and free tickets are available to under 18s for most events.

Get tickets here.
More information here.

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