Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham have unveiled the 2008/09 Birmingham International Concert Season, the largest international classical music series in the UK, outside London. With over 30 concerts at the two iconic venues, the flagship series welcomes a host of internationally-renowned artists including The Royal Opera and Antonio Pappano, conductors Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Libor Pesek, soloists Mitsuko Uchida and Leif Ove Andsnes, and recitalists and chamber musicians Murray Perahia and the Tokyo Quartet. Visiting orchestras include the St Petersburg Philharmonic and Prague Symphony orchestras.
The centrepiece of the season, in which operatic and choral music features strongly, is a weekend residency by The Royal Opera with music director Antonio Pappano. They are joined by all-star casts for Britten?s War Requiem and Verdi?s Requiem. A mini-series entitled ?Ultimate Romantics? sees the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski perform Wagner?s Tristan and Isolde Act II, and Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra in Schoenberg?s Gurrelieder.
The season opens with Mahler?s epic Third Symphony conducted by Iván Fischer with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Birgit Remmert, and concludes with a three-part homage to Bach. In between, the important musical anniversaries of Handel, Purcell, Messiaen and Mendelssohn are all marked, the latter with an exploration of the original version of Elijah.