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…The Planets : An HD Odyssey. The Houston Symphony performs Holst’s thrilling score with images from NASA’s exploration of the solar system projected on a giant screen. Be there at the European premiere at Symphony Hall on Friday 8 October!

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The Planets : An HD Odyssey is part of the Sounds of Space weekend of music, talks and events inspired by the wonders of our universe and beyond


  • Major UK premiere of Philharmonia?s Tristan und Isolde with video art by Bill Viola
  • The Planets: An HD Odyssey (European premiere) – NASA?s latest images projected on a giant screen
  • 3D glasses for the audience in Stravinsky?s The Rite of Spring
  • Thomas Adès conducts In Seven Days with visuals from Tal Rosner
  • James MacMillan Day includes new Oboe Concerto (world premiere)
  • Birmingham Mahler Cycle – a joint series with the CBSO includes Simon Rattle conducting Das Lied von der Erde on Symphony Hall?s 20th birthday
  • Opera North begins four year Ring Cycle with Das Rheingold
  • Purcell Perspectives mini-series
  • Recitals by Cecilia Bartoli, Andreas Scholl, Mitsuko Uchida, Freddy Kempf and the Takács Quartet
  • Superb international orchestras and soloists


General booking opens at 10am on Thursday 3 June for the 2010/11 Birmingham International Concert Season, the UK?s largest international classical music series outside London. The flagship series welcomes some of the world?s greatest musicians, conductors, orchestras and recitalists to the stages of the city?s two premier venues, Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham.

Commenting on the Season, Andrew Jowett, Director of Town Hall & Symphony Hall said, ?We have a terrific classical music series to look forward to in 2010/11, one which is very varied in content and features a wide range of internationally-renowned orchestras and artists. The Season includes several particularly exciting concerts with film, photographic images and digital technology all enhancing the music-making experience in a traditional concert hall setting.?

The Season opens on Thursday 23 September at Symphony Hall with a major UK premiere and one of the highlights of the cultural calendar when Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra perform Wagner?s Tristan und Isolde with visual art by the celebrated film artist Bill Viola. Esa-Pekka Salonen has described the project as ?one of the greatest experiences of my artistic life?.

NASA?s latest spectacular images form the backdrop to The Planets: An HD Odyssey with the Houston Symphony, receiving its European premiere at Symphony Hall. And in a season which includes several concerts offering new perspectives on music through thought-provoking visual elements, Stravinsky?s The Rite of Spring is surely the most astonishing: with the aid of 3D glasses, the magic of real-time digital technology transforms a single dancer?s performance into an extraordinary audience experience.

Eminent British composers James MacMillan and Thomas Adès both conduct their own works in two concerts. James MacMillan includes the world premiere of his Oboe Concerto and Thomas Adès conducts his In Seven Days, a multi-media piece for piano, orchestra and six video screens with visuals by award-winning film-maker Tal Rosner.

The Birmingham Mahler Cycle (a joint project with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) sees visits from the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome with Antonio Pappano, London Symphony Orchestra with Valery Gergiev, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski, and the CBSO under Sir Simon Rattle (in a special concert to mark Symphony Hall?s 20th anniversary).

A stellar line-up of recitalists and chamber musicians includes singers Cecilia Bartoli and Andreas Scholl, pianists Mitsuko Uchida, Piotr Anderszewski and Freddy Kempf, and the Takács and Pavel Haas Quartets, while concerto soloists include violinist Joshua Bell with cellist Steven Isserlis, pianists Boris Berezovsky and Howard Shelley. There are visits from the Staatskapelle Dresden with Christoph Eschenbach, the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra under Alexander Lazarev, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and period performance ensembles Il Giardino Armonico, the Academy of Ancient Music (performing all of Bach?s Brandenburg Concertos in one evening) and the New London Consort.

Closing the Season as it began – with epic Wagner – Opera North embarks on its first Ring cycle, beginning with Das Rheingold. Under Music Director Richard Farnes, and with Artistic Consultant John Tomlinson, the project aims to blend experienced singers in this repertoire with the best of new talent. The remaining three operas will be performed in successive years.

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