Britain is home to some superlative concert venues, orchestras and choirs. We often take these world-class musicians and buildings on our doorstep for granted, so this is just a small reminder of three of the best.
When Birmingham’s Symphony Hall opened in 1991, it received immediate public and critical acclaim. With world-class acoustics and a visually stunning auditorium, it is considered to be not only the UK’s finest concert hall but also one of the best in the world. Symphony Hall presents prestigious international orchestras and is also home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Complementing the classical programme, the venue also hosts the best in jazz, world music, folk, rock, pop and standup comedy on a regular basis. The hall also plays an important role in the life of the region and is regularly used for community events, graduation ceremonies and conferences. In all, over 370,000 people attend around 320 events at Symphony Hall every year.
The 2,262 seat auditorium is a model of modern concert hall design and its superb acoustics are the benchmark by which new concert halls are measured. In 2001, Symphony Hall was completed with the installation of the 6,000-pipe Symphony Organ.
T: 0121 2002000
Utterly unique and thoroughly British, a visit to Glyndebourne during the festival is one of those quirky, charming experiences that you remember forever. Founded in 1934 by John Christie and his opera singer wife, Audrey Mildmay, Glyndebourne has always been committed to presenting opera of the highest quality, commissioning new work, developing new talent and reaching new audiences. Glyndebourne Festival presents six productions each year in a 1,200-seat opera house attached to Glyndebourne House, and the event has built up some almost legendary traditions and practices around it. Attendees turn up at the estate, in the middle of nowhere several miles from Lewes, and unpack picnic hampers and elegant spreads to set out on the lawns. Arrayed in full evening dress, the great and the good stroll around the gardens before filling the opera house for the evening’s performance. The hour and a half interval is used for dining, either with picnics on the lawn or in the on-site dining halls serving cuisine of the highest quality; Albert Roux oversaw the Middle & Over Wallop restaurant for the 2013 festival.
T: 01273 812321
From pop, rock and film music to the works of Elgar, Berlioz and Tchaikovsky, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s spring 2014 season is going to present a diverse range of performances to its loyal audience. This world-class orchestra was formed in 1946, but did not acquire a permanent base until settling at the new Cadogan Hall in Chelsea in 2004. The RPO still makes a point of performing in London’s other outstanding concert halls however, and 2014 will see some monumental performances of large-scale choral and orchestral works, including the Tchaikovsky Gala and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius at the iconic Royal Albert Hall. Performances at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall will include Charles Dutoit conducting Saint-Saëns, Steven Isserlis playing Elgar, John Williams playing Rodrigo and John Lill playing Beethoven. The RPO offers groups of ten or more fantastic value and an award-winning dedicated service for some unforgettable experiences. The dedicated group booking team welcomes over 12,000 group bookers a year, which is not surprising as groups of ten or more receive up to 35% off tickets and free programmes, and the group organiser gets two free tickets to a concert of their choice.
T: 0207 6088800