Welcome to the Bristol International Classical Season 2017/18, a season bursting with extraordinary quality as great as any in our long 150 year history to date.
This season, audiences can experience the greatest and best-loved classical works of all time: Four Seasons, The New World, Pathetique, Fantastique… pieces that require no introduction, and there’s more thrilling music besides.
We welcome back recent visitors and anticipate the long-awaited return of others, such as Academy of St Martin in the Fields and St Petersburg Symphony, as well as a Hall debut for Würth Philharmonic and a host of the UK’s flagship orchestras. Each ensemble is led by some of the world’s most acclaimed conductors such as Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Robin Ticciati and Kirill Karabits, and is joined by soloists including Maxim Vengerov, Andreas Ottensamer, Joshua Bell, Peter Donohoe, Alisa Weilerstein, Alina Ibragimova, Sunwook Kim and Jennifer Pike.
The 17/18 season opens with an all-German kaleidoscope from Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, before St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra return with a tantalizing tangle of Russian Romanticism from Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. 2018 is brought in with Vivaldi’s iconic The Four Seasons with a symphonic slice of Beethoven with Academy of St Martin in the Fields and followed by a double helping of Dvořák with the mighty Czech Philharmonic.
Swiftly on the heels later in February comes the London Symphony Orchestra with a Franco-German cocktail mixing Brahms and Ravel into a seductive programme. Later in the year the ever popular Dresden Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra tackle the great Romantic works from Shostakovich, Debussy and Mahler before our season concludes with the musical youth of Wűrth Philharmonic Orchestra sharing a stage with the legendary violin soloist Maxim Vengerov.
Our friends Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestra at Colston Hall, also reach a great milestone as they celebrate their 125th anniversary in May 2018. They continue to provide the foundations of our season as we celebrate our shared heritage with extraordinary soloists such as Andreas Ottensamer, David Fray, Stefan Jackiw, Simone Lamsma and Sunwook Kim and present symphonies by Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Berlioz and Beethoven.
Video: A short history of Russian Music
With our 2017/18 season filled with the great Russian composers Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Glazunov and Shostakovich we made a short video to delve into the country’s rich Classical music heritage. Oliver Condy (Editor, BBC Music Magazine) shares how this music, with its exotic, modal harmonies, graceful melodic lines and beautiful orchestrations, have shaped orchestral programmes for decades.
Video: Schumann’s Concerto Leitmotif
At Colston Hall we love to delve inside the music and discover the beauty in the detail held within the great classical works that make up our programme. Our ever popular pre-concert talks are a fantastic way to prepare you for a concert, but the music educator Jonathan James also provides us with fascinating piano lectures that make up our Inside The Music series. Here’s a taste of his deep enthusiasm as he explores Schumann’s use of Leitmotif.
Browse the classical brochure online:
Since this brochure has gone to press, there have been some amendments to the Classical Season programme, as follows:
On p11, St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra will now perform Mussorgsky’s Night on the Bare Mountain and Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, instead of Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony.
As a consequence of this change, English Piano Trio will now perform Haydn Trio in G minor Hob.XV:19 and Beethoven Trio in D op.70 no. 1 ‘Ghost’ on Tuesday 10 October.
The conductor of the Czech Philharmonic’s performance in February is now TBC, following the sad death of their Chief Conductor Jiří Bělohlávek (p15).
The City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra will now perform Boulanger – D’un Matin de Printemps instead of Serksnyte – Fires.
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
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, £5.50 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.