Classical: A musical new year

Classical Sheffield Festival of Music returns in March 2017
Classical Sheffield Festival of Music returns in March 2017
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With Christmas and New Year celebrations upon us, Sheffield’s music fans are looking ahead to 2017, and the first few months offer a packed schedule of brilliantly diverse classical music.

One highlight of the year for classical music aficionados and curious newcomers alike is sure to be the Classical Sheffield Festival of Music, taking place in a variety of venues from March 17 to 19.

An exciting part of the wide-ranging programme is set to be the UK premiere of Pulitzer and Grammy Award-winning composer John Luther Adams’ Canticles of the Sky. Led by superstar cellist Oliver Coates, an ensemble of more than 30 cellists will surround the audience at Kelham Island Industrial Museum and envelop them in immersive sound.

Expanding in scope and ambition from the last Classical Sheffield Weekend in 2015, the festival will host many more performances, bringing together international artists and local musicians in a celebration of classical music in all its forms. It is set to reach a finale with a dramatic massed choir event featuring hundreds of singers from Sheffield and beyond.

Elsewhere, Sheffield International Concert Season at Sheffield City Hall continues to bring some of the world’s leading ensembles, conductors and soloists to the city.

Edward Gardner leads classy Norwegian outfit the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra on Thursday, January 19, joined by Truls Mørk, one of the greatest living cellists. The Hallé’s February 4 concert has a Spanish flavour, with conductor Pablo González and violinist Leticia Moreno joining forces for Édouard Lalo’s virtuosic Symphonie espagnole, a vivid portrait of their homeland.

The distinguished pianist and conductor Howard Shelley joins the London Mozart Players on February 24, with Shelley himself soloist for Mozart’s subtle, intimate Piano Concerto No 17. The Hallé return on March 17, led by Sheffield’s own Ryan Wigglesworth, with Soprano Elizabeth Watts appearing for the stunning finale of Mahler’s Symphony No 4.

Music in the Round, as usual, have a busy programme over the coming months, encompassing world-class chamber music, engaging family concerts, collaborations with Sheffield Jazz and more.

January 27 sees them welcome the excellent Gould Piano Trio to the Crucible Studio, performing two wonderful Piano Trios by Robert Schumann.

On February 10 they bring the acclaimed Schubert Ensemble to Upper Chapel, followed by the fresh and exciting Scottish group The Maxwell Quartet on February 22.

Ensemble 360 appear numerous times in early 2016, including repeated performances across the region of their schools concert The Chimpanzees of Happytown, a superb introduction to classical music for young children.

Meanwhile, the University of Sheffield’s Concert Series promises a mix of ambitious programming, accessible concert experiences and opportunities to support local and upcoming talent. Their Forged in Sheffield strand of concerts in February and March sees a range of concerts from leading student and local performers.

Keep up to date with Sheffield’s classical music scene with the latest news, listings and features at www.classicalsheffield.org.uk