Welcome to the Bristol International Classical Season 2016/17, a season bursting with colour, verve and passion, and outstanding musical quality.
On this season’s journey we’ll be visiting such varied locales as Walton’s biblical Babylonia, Dvořák’s ‘New World’ and Rimsky-Korsakov’s exotic Arabia, as well as alighting at many more musical stops along the way.
The 16/17 season sees no less than three of Russia’s finest ensembles paying us a visit, and we also bring a host of the UK’s flagship orchestras to Bristol. Each orchestra is led by some of the world’s most acclaimed conductors such as Sir Mark Elder, Vladimir Fedoseyev and Kirill Karabits, and is joined by soloists including Sunwook Kim, Benjamin Grosvenor, Jennifer Pike, Miloš Karadaglić, Tine Thing Helseth, Johannes Moser and Freddy Kempf.
The 16/17 season opens with an explosive curtain raiser from Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, before The Hallé takes us to Dvořák’s brave New World. Tallis meets Tchaikovsky via Sibelius with Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra in October, before we welcome back sensational guitarist Miloš, who journeys from Bach to Beatles. Philharmonia Orchestra and Bristol Choral Society celebrate one of Britain’s finest composers William Walton, and in December London Symphony Orchestra come calling with Mozart, led by multitasking conductor/violinist Nikolaj Znaider. St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra bring tales from the East, and finally Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra surveys Pictures at an Exhibition.
Our friends Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestra at Colston Hall, continues to provide the foundations of our season. This season they join with superstar soloists such as Sunwook Kim, Tine Thing Helseth and Johannes Moser, and present symphonies by Walton, Tchaikovsky, Haydn, Mahler and Elgar.
Browse the classical brochure online:
Video: What is the role of the conductor?
To celebrate the launch of Colston Hall’s International Classical Season we made a video to shed some light on the role of the conductor. We asked classical experts Oliver Condy (Editor, BBC Music Magazine), and Sir Mark Elder (Music Director of the Hallé Orchestra) exactly why this figure who stands on a podium waving their arms is so important to the performance of live classical music.
We are proud to be embarking on a close relationship with maestro Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir to present a landmark semi-staged series of Monteverdi’s three surviving operas – Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, I’Incoronazione di Poppea and L’Orfeo.
Sir John Eliot Gardener has lived with Monteverdi’s music since childhood and now he combines his internationally renowned historical insight into period performance with the expert touch of the musician to create recording and concerts of the highest standards and regard. He is, quite simply, a master of Monteverdi. Who better to spearhead an ambitious Europe-wide project to mark the composer’s 450th birthday?
Together with his peerless choir and period instrument ensemble plus a stellar cast of soloists including Krystian Adam, Hana Blažíková, Yulia van Doren, Kangmin Justin Kim, Marianna Pizzolato, Lucile Richardot, and Furio Zanasi, the maestro will take the audience on a voyage through nail-biting myth and murky Roman history.
Colston Hall is thrilled to be presenting the English premiere of these operas, with Lucerne, Barcelona and Paris being the other venues on the tour. For three nights in April/May 2017, Bristol will be at the heart of the classical music world.
Inside the Music videos
Delve inside the music with BBC Music Magazine Editor Oliver Condy and music educator Jonathan James, as they explore the themes, both musical and historical, behind the works featured in each concert. Find these videos on our YouTube channel.
Digital programme notes
To get a flavour of how the great composers came to write their most extraordinary works, read our bite-sized programme notes – they’ll be published on our website just before the concert at www.bristolbeacon.org/classical and emailed to all ticket holders.
Classical EYE e-newsletter
Get all these digital extras direct to your email inbox by signing up to our Classical EYE e-newsletter, a monthly email highlighting our forthcoming classical concerts, news, and exclusive content. Sign up and find all the latest classical news and digital extras at www.bristolbeacon.org/classical
We’ve teamed up with St. George’s Bristol to create Classical Bristol, a new monthly e-newsletter dedicated to all things classical music-related in the city. It’s not just about ‘what’s on’, though; we want you to delve deeper into the music and composers you may already love, but we also hope you might discover something new along the way. Sign up and find out more at
The Lantern, 6.25pm, free with a concert ticket, £5 incl. bf without
Get inside the music with music educator Jonathan James, who introduces each International Classical Season concert and interviews members of the orchestra. As a conductor and trained teacher, Jonathan brings a breadth of expertise and a deep enthusiasm to exploring the works being performed.
Chamber concerts with Stephen Johnson and English Piano Trio
The Lantern, 7.30pm, £8 incl. bf or £5 with a ticket to the associated orchestral concert
Highly regarded music lecturer and BBC Radio 3 host Stephen Johnson will give an illuminating talk followed by a performance by the English Piano Trio of works that complement the programmes of selected orchestral concerts. Free tickets are available for 8 – 25 year olds with CAVATINA – contact the box office for more information.
The Lantern, 1.05pm, £5.38 incl. bf
Colston Hall continues to join forces with the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) and the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) to present bite-sized afternoon performances from the rising stars of the classical world. All concerts take place weekly in autumn and spring.
Experience world class orchestral music in a seat worth at least £18 for just £10 by booking a secret seat. You will be issued a voucher when you book, which you must exchange for a valid ticket on the night of the concert. You will then be allocated the best available seat in the auditorium. Terms and conditions apply. For more information, please contact the box office.
Book for 3 or more concerts and save up to 30% on tickets*
Book for 3 concerts save 5%
Book for 4-5 concerts save 10%
and receive a free ticket to a lunchtime concert of your choice
Book for 6-7 concerts save 15%
and receive a free ticket to three lunchtime concerts of your choice
Book for 8-9 concerts save 20%
and receive a free ticket to all lunchtime concerts
Book for 10-11 concerts save 25%
and receive a free ticket to all lunchtime concerts, a free programme for each concert and an invitation to the launch of the 2015/16 classical season
Book for all 12 concerts save 30%
and receive a free ticket to all lunchtime concerts, a free programme for each concert and an invitation to the launch of the 2016-17 classical season
*Discount applies to International Classical Season orchestral concerts, and excludes chamber concerts.
On Wednesday 23 September 2020 Colston Hall changed its name to Bristol Beacon.
Our new name is just the first step, it is about more than the sign above our door. Click below to find out more about how we’re changing, watch our name announcement, and discover how we want everyone to share in the joy of live music.