20 incredible classical music concerts across the UK this summer

13 July 2024, 17:00

Conductor Valery Gergiev leads the London Symphony Orchestra during the BMW Classics, performed in Trafalgar Square, London, 2016.
Conductor Valery Gergiev leads the London Symphony Orchestra during the BMW Classics, performed in Trafalgar Square, London, 2016. Picture: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

By Ally Dunavant

As orchestras around the country come together for a season filled with summery symphonies, here are 20 must-see classical music concerts to fill your summer with more live music than ever.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The summer season is set to carry more than just a warm breeze over the coming months – it could also carry glorious classical tunes to your ears.

Several orchestras, including many of Classic FM’s partner orchestras, will bring music to every corner of the UK in the summer of 2024, including outdoor performances in seasonal spots and free events in city centre spaces.

Whether it’s orchestral music in Trafalgar Square or traditional opera in the British countryside, you can find classical music far and wide this summer...

  1. London Symphony Orchestra – BMW Classics

    Saturday 13 July, 5pm – Trafalgar Square, London

    Flock to London for a free concert in Trafalgar Square, bringing together the musicians of the LSO with 50 young musicians, participants in the LSO East London Academy, conducted by Duncan Ward. This annual event brings brilliant live orchestral music to audiences in one of the world’s most iconic public spaces and to tens of thousands more watching around the globe via streaming. Programme highlights include Brahms’ Rondo alla zingarese and Stravinsky’s much-loved ballet, Petrushka, as well as a world premiere and other new works. It’s the perfect treat to get your classical music fix in the summery setting of a London square in mid-July.

    Free entry; no ticket required – and everyone can watch live via the stream below.

    STRAVINSKY, CHABRIER, BRAHMS, LEE // BMW Classics 2024 from Trafalgar Square // LIVE Stream

  2. London Philharmonic Orchestra – Debut Sounds: Sound in Motion

    Thursday 27 June, 8pm – Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London

    An exciting collaboration of emerging talent, the annual London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Young Composer programme features five new works for dance, pairing postgraduate choreographers from Trinity Laban with the award-winning LPO Composer-in-Residence Tania León and the five up-and-coming composers in the 2023-24 scheme. The concert is conveniently located on London’s Southbank, a favourite destination for summer evening strolls.

    Tickets are £6. Book now.

  3. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – All Things Orchestral

    Friday 28 June, 6pm – BST Hyde Park, London

    Enjoy a special outdoor concert, presented by American Express, hosted by Myleene Klass and featuring two classical stars, violinist Esther Abrami and guitarist MILOŠ, performing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – perfect for a very special summer evening in London’s Hyde Park.

    Tickets available from £9. Book now.

    Miloš Karadaglić: ‘The guitar is my best friend’ | Classic FM

  4. Grange Park Opera

    Thursday 6 June-Sunday 14 July – West Horsley Place, Surrey

    Grange Park Opera’s theatre-in-the-woods offers top-notch opera in the heart of the stunning Surrey Hills. Anchored by Sir Bryn Terfel, Rachmaninov and Puccini kickstart their new season with Aleko and Gianni Schicchi. Get the full summer festival experience just over 20 miles from London this summer, the perfect day-trip destination, reachable from several spots in England.

    Tickets available from £36 as part of their Under 36s programme. Book now.

  5. Royal Northern Sinfonia – On the Nature of Daylight Tour

    Friday 28 June-Sunday 30 June – The Maltings, Berwick; Auckland Castle; Hexham Abbey

    Saxophone star Jess Gillam and the string players of Royal Northern Sinfonia perform an eclectic array of music for saxophone and strings that spans four centuries. There’s stately Baroque concertos, by the likes of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Georg Philipp Telemann, elegant French songs by Nadia Boulanger and Saint-Saëns, 21st-century minimalism like Max Richter and even a bit of David Bowie. There’s something for everyone to enjoy in this varied programme, so grab a big group of friends and make an evening out of it.

    Tickets available from £5. Book now.

  6. Glyndebourne Festival 2024

    June-August – Glyndebourne Opera House, Lewes, Sussex

    An unmissable summer musical spectacle is the annual Glyndebourne Festival. From May to August, the flagship season of world-class opera allows audiences to enjoy the thrill of live performances in their state-of-the-art indoor auditorium. Enjoy a performance inside and picnic in the lush gardens during the 90-minute interval. Choose from six iconic operas to attend throughout the summer: Bizet’s Carmen, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.

    Tickets available from £30 with Glyndebourne’s Under 30s programme. Book now.

    Opera-lovers attend annual Glyndebourne Opera Festival and picnic in the grounds, Glyndebourne, East Sussex.
    Opera-lovers attend annual Glyndebourne Opera Festival and picnic in the grounds, Glyndebourne, East Sussex. Picture: Tim Graham/Getty Images
  7. Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra – For You Blue: Celebrating The Beatles Greatest Hits 1967-1970

    Friday 5 July, 7.30pm – M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool

    Celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles 1967-1970, affectionately known as The Blue Album, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the world’s premiere Beatles tribute band, The Bootleg Beatles are presenting a concert featuring all the classic late-period Beatles hits. A must-see multi-media show for Beatles and orchestral fans of all ages. They are performing at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool before touring to The Glasshouse, Gateshead (7 July) and Usher Hall, Edinburgh (8 July).

    Tickets available from £32.75. Book now.

  8. Schumann Quartet – Beethoven, Mozart and Prokofiev

    Friday 5 July, 7pm – Wigmore Hall, London

    Named not after Robert or Clara, but for the brothers who form three-quarters of its members, the Schumann Quartet has earned acclaim for its performances and recordings, including admired interpretations of Mozart and Beethoven. Hear their praised Mozart and Beethoven in this performance of their string quartets, as well as one by Prokofiev. Spend a summer night out on the town with the perfect classical soundtrack to wrap up the evening.

    Tickets available from £18. Book now.

  9. Opera North – Classical Hits

    Friday 19 July, 7pm – Millennium Square, Leeds

    Join the Orchestra of Opera North and special guests this summer for an open-air concert brimming with classical favourites from stage and silver screen. Let the epic thrills of John Williams’ most famous movie themes transport you to other worlds and even other galaxies. Be blown away by the vocal fireworks of opera’s biggest-hitters, with masterpieces from Bizet, Puccini and more. Hosted by Tim Lihoreau, this concert is part of Leeds City Council’s Summer Series.

    Tickets available from £22.50. Book now.

    John Williams' iconic theme from 'Jurassic Park' at the Royal Albert Hall | Classic FM

  10. St Martin’s Chamber Ensemble – Bach and Handel by Candlelight

    Saturday 13 July, 7pm – St Martin in the Fields, London

    Born the same year, J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel were parallel masters of the Baroque era. Soprano Katharine Dain joins St Martin’s Chamber Ensemble for a sparkling selection of works by them, with the programme to include Handel’s Oboe Concert No.3 in G minor alongside Bach’s Cantata ‘O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit’. Travel back in time and escape from the heat this summer with a candlelit concert in the beautiful 13th-century church.

    Tickets available from £9. Book now.

  11. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Leeds Castle Concert

    Saturday 13 July, 7.30pm – Leeds Castle, Broomfield, Maidstone

    This iconic event is a highlight of the summer season, set in the most spectacular location and natural amphitheatre in front of the beautiful Leeds Castle. Headlined by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the concert offers classical and contemporary music in the castle’s picturesque setting. Thousands have attended the stunning open-air musical delight for over 40 years, and this year, you could be one of them.

    Tickets available from £62. Book now.

  12. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Proms in the Park

    Friday 26 July, 8pm – Meyrick Park, Bournemouth

    Join the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for this special outdoor concert at Meyrick Park. The exciting programme includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, popular movie soundtracks by John Williams and Hans Zimmer, and masterpieces by Johann Strauss, Bach and Grieg before an explosive finale with Wagner’s rousing Ride of the Valkyries – complete with a firework and pyrotechnic display.

    Tickets available from £34. Book now.

    Star Wars Finale! Orchestra plays with organist Anna Lapwood | Classic FM Live

  13. The Hallé – Disco Dynamite

    Saturday 27 July, 7.30pm – The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

    Indulge your nostalgia this July with The Hallé’s funky summer evening concert of disco favourites, from Sister Sledge to Earth, Wind and Fire, to Chic and Gloria Gaynor and The Jackson 5. Visit a ‘Boogie Wonderland’ this summer in their international concert venue, The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.

    Tickets available from £16. Book now.

  14. Philharmonia Orchestra and Garsington Community Opera – A Trip to the Moon

    Tuesday 30-Wednesday 31 July – Garsington Opera, Buckinghamshire

    Inspired by Georges Mélies’s 1902 silent film, this fantastical opera for all ages breaks down linguistic barriers so that Earth people can communicate with Moon people in their own lyrical lunar language. The cast of this whirling, family-friendly space opera includes Garsington Opera’s Youth and Adult companies, children from two local primary schools and world-class professionals, singing with the incredible Philharmonia Orchestra. Travel to the idyllic Wormsley Estate, where, in addition to stellar opera, you can wander through their Walled Garden, Deer Park or sip afternoon tea overlooking the famous Wormsley Cricket Pitch.

    Tickets available from £5. Book now.

  15. Royal Scottish National Orchestra – La Pasión Según San Marcos

    Saturday 3 August, 8pm – Usher Hall, Edinburgh International Festival

    Pay homage to J.S. Bach in the opening concert of the Edinburgh International Festival at Usher Hall, featuring Osvaldo Golijov’s work, one of four Passions commissioned to commemorate Bach’s 250th anniversary. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra and internationally acclaimed conductor Joana Carneiro join musicians brought together especially for the Scottish premiere of this poignant work, including the Schola Cantorum of Venezuela, the National Youth Choir of Scotland and a line-up of soloists from jazz, popular and classical backgrounds, to put on a summer spectacle you won’t forget.

    Tickets available from £27.50. Book now.

    Handel's Zadok the Priest - The Royal Scottish National Orchestra | Classic FM

  16. The National Youth Orchestra – As One

    Wednesday 7 August, 7.30pm – The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

    Get inspired by teenage musicians from The National Youth Orchestra performing As One, absolutely united in their love of music as they explore daring human stories and powerful emotions on a dramatic scale. The programme includes Wagner’s Overture to The Flying Dutchman, Missy Mazzoli’s Orpheus Undone and Mahler’s Symphony No.1, Titan. A perfect choice for families and children with a keen interest in music.

    Tickets available from £23 (free for teens). Book now.

    The National Youth Orchestra share laughs in rehearsal, 2024.
    The National Youth Orchestra share laughs in rehearsal, 2024. Picture: Classic FM
  17. City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – CBSO in the City

    Monday 26-Saturday 31 August – Birmingham

    Catch the CBSO as they’re out and about in Birmingham for a whole week of free musical performances across the city. The orchestra will pop up in iconic locations including The Bullring, New Street Station, West Midlands Metro and West Bromwich Football Stadium, as well as offer lots of smaller performances in local pubs, libraries and community centres.

    Free entry; no ticket required. Read here for more details.

  18. Ulster Orchestra – On Your Doorstep: Symphonic September

    Sunday 1 September, 3pm – Hill of the O’Neill and Ranfurly House, Dungannon

    Visit one of the most important sites in Ireland, with breathtaking panoramic views over seven of the nine counties of Ulster, to hear classical music in an unforgettable setting. The Ulster Orchestra make their annual visit to the ancient site, Hill of The O’Neill, for another performance of much-loved classical favourites, music from stage and screen and a few surprises along the way. You won’t want to miss this fantastic programme for the entire family, nestled atop a historic hill in Dungannon.

    Tickets available from £10. Book now.

  19. The Sixteen – The Choral Pilgrimage 2024: London

    Tuesday 10 September, 7.30pm – Old Royal Naval College Chapel, Greenwich

    Celebrating the art of imitation, The Sixteen’s 2024 Choral Pilgrimage explores music from the master of parody, composer Orlande de Lassus, alongside works by Josquin, Casulana and Bob Chilcott. The richly sensual Renaissance choral music of Orlande de Lassus provides a stunning centrepiece to summer’s end, with music that speaks of earthly and divine love. His motets, masses and madrigals were written over 300 years ago, but they still resonate with us today, especially when heard in the lofty surrounds of the stunning Old Royal Naval College Chapel in Greenwich.

    Tickets available from £18. Book now.

  20. London Symphony Orchestra – Elgar and Holst The Planets

    Thursday 12 September, 7pm – Barbican Centre, London

    Relish in two giants of British music and two blistering orchestral works from the early 20th century, as Sir Antonio Pappano opens his first season as chief conductor of the LSO. Violinist Vilde Frang brings emotional sincerity to her rendition of Elgar’s much-loved Violin Concerto, while Pappano and the LSO delve into each celestial mood of Holst’s suite, joined by Tenebrae for the enigmatic final movement. Finish the summer season strong with the dreamy masterpieces of Elgar and Holst.

    Tickets available from £18. Book now.