BICS 2013/14 season highlights

September may be a little way off, but with tickets for the 2013/14 Birmingham International Concert Season going on sale next Tuesday, 14 May, we are looking forward to the next series of classical events here at Town Hall & Symphony Hall.

BICS 2013/14 contains the usual mix of celebrated stars, world-class ensembles and acclaimed opera companies, including Joshua Bell, Gustavo Dudamel, Opera North, Lang Lang, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Maxim Vengerov and the Royal Opera. In April we are staging our third Bach biennial Bach: A Beautiful Mind, which this year focuses on the keyboard, and the Birmingham-wide tribute to Benjamin Britten’s centenary continues in a number of concerts, including the season opener – a concert performance of Peter Grimes. More information on the season as a whole can be found here.

Keep reading for some highlights from Team THSH and a couple of our friends. We’d love to know what you’re looking forward to from the new BICS season – let us know in the comments below or by e-mailing digital@thsh.co.uk, and we’ll add some of them to our blog!

Peter Grimes is simply one of the finest pieces of British music ever written. Britten’s ability to transport listeners to the Suffolk shoreline, and land you in the middle of a close-knit coastal community is incredibly powerful and moving – think Broadchurch in operatic form, and you won’t be far off!
Sarah – Marketing & Communications

My season highlight is the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky. There is something unquantifiable when you hear a Russian Orchestra playing Russian music, almost an innate ability to ‘feel’ the intentions of the composers. Combine that with the music of Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, Natalie Clein’s beautiful cello playing and the baton of Yuri Simonov, and you’re in for a real treat!!
Chris – Programming

The final opera in Wagner’s magnificent Ring Cycle doesn’t go out with a whimper. As the Ring gets returned to the Rhine, Wagner conjures up, with awesome power, Valhalla’s and the gods’ fiery destruction. But not before one of Wagner’s most dramatic and overwhelming scenes – Siegfried’s death and funeral march.
Oliver Condy – BBC Music Magazine

My season highlight is Gustavo Dudamel conducting Mahler 7 with Philharmonia. Dudamel champions El Sistema, a South American music programme that has inspired a lot of interesting debate around engaging young people in music and youth orchestras. It’s always fascinating to watch him knowing how many young children’s lives he may well have helped to change for the better. Emma – Education and Community

It’s some way off at the time of writing, but the return of the charismatic showman Lang Lang to Symphony Hall is an event to mark on the calendar with an X the size of the Steinway grand he’ll be performing on. The programme is unknown at the moment, but that’s part of the fun…his concert will sell out so get your tickets now!
Lyle – Communications

Mark-Anthony Turnage’s wonderful opera Greek, coming to Birmingham for the first time since it was written 25 years ago, translates the Oedipus myth to a stark and savage late-80s East London. To my ears, it contains some of the most beautiful music you’re likely to hear.
Richard – Programming

Once said that she is ‘clearly born for Chopin’, it’s difficult not to think that Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter has some sort of direct line to the composer. As well as 22 February probably being Chopin’s 204th birthday, I can’t think of a better pianist to showcase his gorgeous works on this special day.
John Suchet – Classic FM

My pick of the BICS has to be the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra with Michael Tilson Thomas. Foreign tours by US orchestras are so much less common than they once were and this will be the first time the orchestra has been to Birmingham since 1995. I’m looking forward to hearing the John Adams, and the Berlioz is a sure-fire winner.
Fiona – Communications

I would definitely be making a bee-line to Evgenny Kissin and his 18 December performance with the London Symphony Orchestra. His Celebrity Piano Recital from last season made me a Kissin fan for life!
Thuy – Marketing

My Gran is a classical pianist and composer and in her hey-day she played for troops during the war. One of her two favourite pianists of all-time is Lang Lang, so there is no doubt in my mind that this would be the highlight of the season for me.
Vicki – Marketing