30 concert highlights from Classic FM’s partner orchestras in 2022

12 January 2022, 17:43 | Updated: 13 January 2022, 09:42

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Picture: Mark McNulty

By Siena Linton & Sophia Alexandra Hall

2022 is a year of celebration for Classic FM, as we mark our 30th birthday. As we begin the festivities, here are 30 of the best classical concerts our partner orchestras have to offer from across the country.

  1. 23 January: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

    Classic FM’s Orchestra in North West England celebrates French impressionism in a concert that includes Ravel masterpieces – his Piano Concerto, Boléro and Pavane pour une infante défunte – alongside works by Debussy and Roussel. Domingo Hindoyan conducts this performance, with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet at the piano.

    When? Sunday 23 January at 2.30pm

    Where? Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

    How much? Tickets from £19

    Book now.

  2. 27 January: London Symphony Orchestra

    World-class violinist Alina Ibragimova joins the London Symphony Orchestra for what is sure to be an evening of top-notch music-making. Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 is on the programme, artfully contrasted with all the dark and stirring drama of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 under the baton of Nathalie Stutzmann.

    When? Thursday 27 January at 7pm

    Where? Barbican Hall, London

    How much? Tickets from £18, under 18s £5

    Book now.

  3. 2 February: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

    Enjoy an afternoon out with your loved ones this February at one of the RLPO’s dementia-friendly concerts. Presented by Claire Henry alongside musicians from the orchestra, these interactive concerts are specially created for those living with dementia, their friends, family and carers. The programme on 2 February includes well-known classical pieces including Puccini’s Nessun Dorma and excerpts from La Bohème, as well as a few crowd favourites such as ‘That’s Amore’.

    When? Wednesday 2 February at 12:30pm

    Where? Music Room, Liverpool

    How much? Tickets from £8, including a complimentary hot drink on arrival

    Book now.

  4. 6 February: Philharmonia

    The Philharmonia is Classic FM’s Orchestra on Tour, and their concert on 6 February will show off the entire orchestra at their very best under recently-appointed principal conductor, Santtu-Matias Rouvali. Rimsky-Korsakov’s masterpiece Scheherazade boasts a devilishly brilliant solo violin melody, with virtuosic moments in their plenty for the rest of the orchestra. Ravel’s Boléro gives the percussion a moment in the spotlight, plus Alexandre Kantorow is the soloist in Saint-Saëns’ demanding Piano Concerto No. 2.

    When? Sunday 6 February at 3pm

    Where? Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London

    How much? Tickets from £13, students £8 (via Student Pulse)

    Book now.

  5. 9 February: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

    In a concert aptly titled ‘Drama and Romance’, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Classic FM’s Orchestra in the South of England, performs a programme that will pull on the heart strings with music from three of the greatest composers from the Romantic era: Wagner, Beethoven and Dvořák. Case Scaglione conducts this performance, joined by Federico Colli for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4.

    When? Wednesday 9 February at 7.30pm

    Where? Lighthouse, Poole and online

    How much? Tickets from £8, online £10

    Book now.

  6. 10 February: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

    Back in the North West, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic has a heady offering of a concert, from the rich and languid intensity of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune to Beethoven’s compelling and glorious Symphony No. 7. Aylen Pritchin joins the orchestra and conductor Maxim Emelyanychev for Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2, infused with influences from the composer’s Russian home through to the clacking castanets of Spain in the final movement.

    When? Thursday 10 February at 7.30pm

    Where? Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

    How much? Tickets from £8

    Book now.

  7. 11 & 12 February: Royal Scottish National Orchestra

    Perhaps one of the best-known composers alive today, John Williams has become a true household name in classical music and beyond thanks to his brilliant film scores for Star Wars, Jaws, E.T., Schindler’s List and more. This year, as the film music titan turns 90, Classic FM’s Orchestra in Scotland, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, leads the celebrations with a grand tour of Williams’ greatest works for the big screen.

    When? Friday 11 February at 7.30pm / Saturday 12 February at 7.30pm

    Where? Usher Hall, Edinburgh / Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

    How much? Tickets from £21 / Tickets from £19

    Book now.

    Read more: John Williams: Ten Best Movie Soundtracks

  8. 18 February: Royal Northern Sinfonia

    The Royal Northern Sinfonia is Classic FM’s Orchestra in North-East England and at Sage Gateshead. Join them this February for a fantastic concert with a focus on music by Polish composers. Guest conductor Marta Gardolinska, a Polish musician herself, leads the orchestra in Grażyna Bacewicz’s Concerto for String Orchestra, and is joined by Mariam Batsashvili for Chopin’s intensely lyrical Piano Concerto No. 1. The concert is completed by a jolly and triumphant work from the teenage Schubert: his Symphony No. 3.

    When? Friday 18 February at 7.30pm

    Where? Sage One, Sage Gateshead and online

    How much? Tickets from £5, online from £8

    Book now.

  9. 20 February: Philharmonia

    Critically acclaimed Korean conductor Eun Sun Kim takes the podium for this concert by the Philharmonia orchestra. Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll is a true masterpiece. Composed for his wife Cosima’s birthday following the birth of their son, Siegfried, this devotional work is full of lush strings, tender moments, and gorgeous harmonies. Benjamin Grosvenor joins the orchestra for Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1, which masterfully contrasts the full symphonic force of the orchestra with delicate piano melodies and true virtuosity. Dvořák’s iconic Symphony No. 9, ‘From the New World’, closes the concert with all its drama, power, and highly memorable melodies.

    When? Sunday 20 February at 5pm

    Where? Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London

    How much? Tickets from £13, students £8 (via Student Pulse)

    Book now.

  10. 2 & 3 March: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    Led by the inimitable Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, the CBSO is Classic FM’s Orchestra in the Midlands, and this March they will bring some of the best music to emerge from Russia to Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture is a musical narration of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, packing all the passion, fury and true romance of the Montagues and Capulets into just over 20 minutes. This intensity remains throughout Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, and the orchestra is joined by Patricia Kopatchinskaja for Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, lightening the mood with its lively melodies.

    When? Wednesday 2 March at 2.15pm / Thursday 3 March at 7.30pm

    Where? Symphony Hall, Birmingham

    How much? Tickets from £13, students and under 18s £5, 18-30s £10

    Book now.

  11. 4 & 5 March: Royal Scottish National Orchestra

    Star cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason is the soloist in the RSNO’s performance of Shostakovich’s dark and brooding Cello Concerto No. 2, conducted by Elim Chan. Fauré’s Requiem also features in this programme, a hauntingly beautiful jewel of the choral repertoire, performed by the RSNO Junior Chorus with soloists Katy Anna Hill and Marcus Farnsworth. Grażyna Bacewicz’s Divertimento is also on the programme, a brilliantly energetic work that is not often performed.

    When? Friday 4 March at 7.30pm / Saturday 5 March at 7.30pm

    Where? Usher Hall, Edinburgh / Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

    How much? Tickets from £14

    Book now.

  12. 6 March: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

    In ‘The Joy of Mozart’, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras perform what some may argue is the very best of Mozart’s musical work. With an opera, a symphony and a piano concerto on the programme, the RLPO will showcase the great composer in his finest moments. The overture to The Marriage of Figaro is the perfect introduction to the comic opera and effortlessly holds its own in the concert hall too. A protégé of the great Alfred Brendel, Kit Armstrong performs the Piano Concerto No. 20, a style Mozart almost single-handedly brought into popularity, and the concert concludes with Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, nicknamed ‘Jupiter’. The final symphony he ever wrote, Mozart held nothing back. From the jubilant fanfares of the opening movement right through to the fugal finale in all its five-themed glory, every moment of this symphony is pure mastery.

    When? Sunday 6 March at 2.30pm

    Where? Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

    How much? Tickets from £19

    Book now.

    Read more: The awe-inspiring counterpoint in Mozart's final symphony, explained in one video

  13. 10 March: London Symphony Orchestra

    Back in London, Sir Simon Rattle leads the LSO through a true Americana-inspired concert. Dvořák’s American Suite was written during the composer’s travels to the ‘New World’, while he was in New York in early 1894. Like many of Dvořák’s well-loved works, the suite draws significant influence from American and his native Czech folk music. George Walker’s Lilacs for voice and orchestra follows, a musical setting of words by Walt Whitman, performed by soprano Nicole Cabell. The piece earned Walker his well-deserved place in history as the first African American winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music. The concert ends with a return to Europe for Schumann’s uplifting Symphony No. 2.

    When? Thursday 10 March at 7pm

    Where? Barbican Hall, London

    How much? Tickets from £18, under 18s £5

    Book now.

  14. 11 March: Royal Northern Sinfonia and RNS Moves

    The Royal Northern Sinfonia and its inclusive ensemble of disabled and non-disabled musicians, RNS Moves, join forces on 11 March for ‘Sounds of the Sea’. Directed from the violin by Kyra Humphreys, the programme is a rich exploration of music inspired by stormy seas and lapping waves, written by composers spanning across the centuries. Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides Overture sets the scene for the evening, and the voyage continues through pieces by Toru Takemitsu, Grace Williams, Vivaldi and Handel, as well as a world premiere by Joe Cutler.

    When? Friday 11 March at 7.30pm

    Where? Sage One, Sage Gateshead and online

    How much? Tickets from £5, online from £8

    Book now.

  15. 18 & 19 March: Royal Scottish National Orchestra

    Further north, Classic FM’s Orchestra in Scotland performs works by great English composers Walton and Elgar. Walton’s fast-paced and percussive comedy overture Scapino opens the concert, before the RSNO and conductor Thomas Søndergård are joined by Lise de la Salle for Rachmaninov’s iconic Piano Concerto No. 2.

    When? Friday 18 March at 7.30pm / Saturday 19 March at 7.30pm

    Where? Usher Hall, Edinburgh / Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

    How much? Tickets from £14

    Book now.

  16. 25 March: Royal Northern Sinfonia

    Eric Lu, winner of the prestigious 2018 Leeds International Piano Competition, is the soloist for this concert by the Royal Northern Sinfonia and conductor Dinis Sousa. Beethoven’s dramatic yet beautiful Piano Concerto No. 3 is the centrepiece of this performance, flanked on either side by the overture to Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2.

    When? Friday 25 March at 7.30pm

    Where? Sage One, Sage Gateshead

    How much? Tickets from £5

    Book now.

  17. 3 April: Philharmonia

    Principal guest conductor Jakub Hrůša is on the podium for this concert by the Philharmonia Orchestra. The Czech conductor opens the concert with music by his compatriot Voříšek, Symphony in D, his most famous work and only symphony, written just four years before he died tragically young at 34. Beethoven’s epic ‘Choral’ Symphony No. 9 brings the concert to its dramatic close as the great composer pushes the symphonic boundaries further than anyone had before him.

    When? Sunday 3 April at 7.30pm

    Where? Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London

    How much? Tickets from £13

    Book now.

    Read more: The remarkable story of Beethoven’s ‘Choral’ Symphony No. 9 and the ‘Ode to Joy’

  18. 21 & 23 April: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    Mozart’s final Piano Concerto, No. 27, received its premiere in early 1791 – the year of his untimely and mysterious death. Performed here by Paul Lewis, hear one of the great composer’s last works in all its glory. In the second half of the concert, conductor Christoph Koenig unleashes the full force of the CBSO in Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, an epic work of five movements. Mahler is a titan of the symphonic form, and with over an hour’s worth of music to play with you can expect to feel every emotion from joy to tragedy, and experience pure bliss in the Adagietto: one of Mahler’s best-loved works, and said to be a love song to his wife Alma.

    When? Thursday 21 April at 2.15pm / Saturday 23 April at 7pm

    Where? Symphony Hall, Birmingham

    How much? Tickets from £13, students and under 18s £5, 18-30s £10

    Book now.

  19. 23 April: National Youth Orchestra

    Another of Classic FM’s partner orchestras, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain is made up of more than 160 exceptionally talented musicians between 13 and 19. In a concert at the Southbank Centre in April, the NYO takes on Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, famed for upsetting the sensitivities of its premiere audience so much that they started a riot. All being well, the only riotous behaviour at this concert will be rapturous applause for the concert that also includes Gabriela Ortiz’s Téenek – Invenciones de Territorio, conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto.

    When? Saturday 23 April at 7.30pm

    Where? Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London

    How much? Tickets from £8

    Book now.

  20. 30 April: The Sixteen

    The Sixteen are the Voices of Classic FM, a choir and period-instrument ensemble founded and directed by Harry Christopher. Back in December they graced our screens with a stunning performance of Handel’s most famous oratorio, Messiah, filmed in the stunning St Martin-in-the-Fields with some of the best British soloists of our time: Mary Bevan, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Robert Murray and Roderick Williams. Messiah has become a staple of the festive concert season and is just as enjoyable throughout the year, including the jubilant Hallelujah chorus.

    When? Available until 30 April

    Where? Online

    How much? £10

    Book now.

  21. 4 May: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    Recently announced as chief conductor and artistic advisor from April 2023, Kazuki Yamada conducts the CBSO in this concert full of memorable melodies and symphonic greatness. Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 opens the programme with its driving force and impish jollity, interspersed with moments of quiet serenity, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 yearns for the Scottish Highland scenes that inspired the composer so much. With a programme so brilliant it’s hard to imagine that either of these pieces could be outshone, but the CBSO and Yamada will give Prokofiev and Mendelssohn a run for their money with Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 as a centrepiece, performed by star violinist Daishin Kashimoto.

    When? Wednesday 4 May at 2.15pm

    Where? Symphony Hall, Birmingham

    How much? Tickets from £13, students and under 18s £5, 18-30s £10

    Book now.

  22. 10 May: Philharmonia

    Young violinist Randall Goosby is one of classical music’s shining stars. A Juilliard graduate, protégé of legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman and sensational performer in his own right, Goosby is making serious waves in classical music. He appears with the Philharmonia orchestra in Canterbury this May, performing Mendelssohn’s electrifying Violin Concerto in a concert that will also feature Nielsen’s Greek-inspired Helios Overture and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2, said by some to be an ode to his Finnish homeland.

    When? Tuesday 10 May at 7.30pm

    Where? The Marlowe, Canterbury

    How much? Tickets from £15, 16-26s £10

    Book now.

  23. 11 & 12 May: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 is perhaps one of the most magnificent concertos ever written. With over 30 minutes of virtuosic solo piano, lush, sweeping strings and soaring melodies, Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero is sure to make this a truly unforgettable performance. Conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla pairs the concerto with Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 on the first night, and Brahms’ masterful Symphony No. 3 on the second.

    When? Wednesday 11 May at 7.30pm / Thursday 12 May at 2.15pm

    Where? Symphony Hall, Birmingham

    How much? Tickets from £13, students and under 18s £5, 18-30s £10

    Book now.

  24. 14 May: Philharmonia

    Esteemed conductor Paavo Järvi is at the helm of the Philharmonia orchestra for this concert, joined by Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell. If this star-studded line-up wasn’t enough, the programme also includes some true gems of the classical repertoire. Dvořák’s Violin Concerto is a fitting showcase for the talents of Joshua Bell, and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 7 is a piece like no other. Although he lived for another 33 years, this would be the last – and most radical – symphony that the Finnish composer would ever publish, consisting of a single movement that turns the well-established symphonic form upside down and inside out. The concert concludes with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8, a light-hearted and jolly masterpiece that conveys nothing of the turbulence going on in Beethoven’s personal life at the time.

    When? Saturday 14 May at 7.30pm

    Where? Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London

    How much? Tickets from £13

    Book now.

  25. 17 & 18 May: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

    Classic FM’s Orchestra in the South of England, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, has a magical musical offering for schools. Presented by James Redwood, ‘Explore the Orchestra: Midnight Magic!’ sees the musicians of the BSO explore the night sky through music, with highlights including popular works from Mussorgsky, Grieg, Saint-Saëns and John Williams.

    When? Tuesday 17 May, 10.15am and 1.30pm / Wednesday 18 May, 10.15am and 1.30pm

    Where? Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts

    How much? Free!

    Book now.

  26. 20 & 21 May: Royal Scottish National Orchestra

    One of the hallmarks of George Gershwin’s music is his effortlessly effective fusing of New York jazz and big band styles with classical forms, and his Piano Concerto is no exception, performed here by Louis Schwizgebel. One of Gershwin’s great icons was Maurice Ravel who reciprocated his admiration, and the orchestral version of his Valses nobles et sentimentales is a highly suitable introduction for concerto. The RSNO complete the concert with Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 3, conducted by John Wilson.

    When? Friday 20 May at 7.30pm / Saturday 21 May at 7.30pm

    Where? Usher Hall, Edinburgh / Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

    How much? Tickets from £14

    Book now.

  27. 2 June: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

    2022 is a landmark year for the British monarchy, as Her Majesty the Queen becomes the first British Monarch to celebrate 70 years of service. Classic FM’s Orchestra in the Midlands, the CBSO, marks this historic event with a special Platinum Jubilee Concert with music specially selected from the last 70 years.

    When? Thursday 2 June at 7.30pm

    Where? Symphony Hall, Birmingham

    How much? Tickets from £13

    Book now.

  28. 10 June: The Sixteen

    This year, The Sixteen tours across the United Kingdom in ‘The Choral Pilgrimage 2022: An Old Belief’ with a programme that spans the ages. From medieval carols to a new work by Cecilia McDowell via Hubert Parry’s wartime Songs of Farewell, join The Sixteen for some of the finest choral music ever written.

    When? Friday 10 June at 7.30pm

    Where? Truro Cathedral (other dates and locations available)

    How much? Tickets from £10

    Book now.

  29. 12 June: London Symphony Orchestra

    On 12 June this year, Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra present a concert in two halves, featuring icons of classical music from different eras and opposite sides of the Atlantic. Haydn’s Symphony No. 86 and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 18 open the concert, with the great Imogen Cooper as soloist. After the interval we are transported to the dancefloors of Havana and Paris in George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture and An American in Paris, with the London premiere of John Adams’ I Still Dance in between.

    When? Sunday 12 June at 7pm

    Where? Barbican Hall, London

    How much? Tickets from £18, under 18s £5

    Book now.

  30. 23 June: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

    The RLPO’s 23 June concert opens with Bellini’s overture to his opera Norma, the tragic tale of a love triangle between two Druid priestesses and a Roman proconsul gone wrong. Conductor Nil Vendetti leads the orchestra in this performance which includes Haydn’s Symphony No. 101, popularly known as ‘The Clock’ thanks to the gentle ticking of the strings throughout the second movement. Piano sensation Pavel Kolesnikov will also perform Beethoven’s heroic ‘Emperor’ Piano Concerto No. 5.

    When? Thursday 23 June at 7.30pm

    Where? Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

    How much? Tickets from £19

    Book now.