Classic FM partners with Philharmonia Orchestra for online summer series, The Philharmonia Sessions

16 September 2020, 17:19 | Updated: 28 September 2020, 11:09

Philharmonia Sessions: Beethoven and Vaughan Williams

The Philharmonia Sessions is a new series of special online concerts, featuring some of the world's finest musicians. You can watch it all on Classic FM’s Facebook page.

Live music in England is slowly starting to return, as Classic FM partners with the Philharmonia Orchestra for three newly filmed, world-class concerts – all broadcast online for free.

Classic FM is partnering with its Orchestra on Tour for the Philharmonia Sessions, a new online summer series that launched on Thursday 16 July with a special opening concert from star cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason to launch first Philharmonia Session
Sheku Kanneh-Mason launches the first Philharmonia Session. Picture: Camilla Greenwell

The young virtuoso is performing Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1 in a programme that also includes Vaughan WilliamsFantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, both conducted by John Wilson.

The music continued on Saturday 22 August 2020 at 11am with a family concert of Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite and George Walker’s Lyric for Strings, conducted by Holly Mathieson and presented by Lucy Drever.

Philharmonia Sessions: Family Concert

Built around the theme of ‘connection’ and joining together after lockdown, the second concert also connected with Southbank Centre’s Everyday Heroes outdoor art and poetry exhibition, which celebrates the key workers who have healed so many during the pandemic.

The series will culminate in a final concert this Thursday 17 September at 7pm, featuring two of classical music’s biggest stars: Estonian maestro Paavo Järvi conducts Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, while Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti performs Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending. The concert will be presented by Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall.

All three sessions, performed by ensembles of between 30 and 40 Philharmonia players and filmed at Battersea Arts Centre, will be streamed on Classic FM’s Facebook page.

The Philharmonia Sessions were filmed at Battersea Arts Centre
The Philharmonia Sessions were filmed at Battersea Arts Centre. Picture: Camilla Greenwell

Michael Fuller, Interim Managing Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra, said: “We are delighted to present the Philharmonia Sessions to audiences in the UK and across the world this summer.

“This series is a start for the Philharmonia after the long shutdown, and a prelude to more intensive online performance activity in the autumn, to be announced soon.

“The Philharmonia Sessions are presented in the most uncertain of times for the whole sector, but we have been determined to get the Philharmonia playing again and finding creative ways to share our music with audiences worldwide.”

Find out more about the Philharmonia Sessions >

Access to the arts is a fundamental right, so the Philharmonia Sessions will be broadcast for free. However, if you are able to make a donation during the concerts, anything you feel able to give will be gratefully received by the Philharmonia. Audience generosity keeps the orchestra alive, and playing music to a world-class standard.