Live Music Month 2020: what live music from our partners can you watch online or at venues?

1 October 2020, 06:00 | Updated: 15 October 2020, 12:27

October is Live Music Month on Classic FM
Classic FM’s Orchestra in the City of London, London Symphony Orchestra. Picture: Getty

Live music is slowly returning in the UK and around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic – here’s a round-up of what our wonderful partner orchestras have planned in your region or online.

Since lockdown in March, we’re all been greatly missing live music in the UK.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues into the Autumn, venues are starting to open up with limited audiences, and musicians are playing outside their homes and gardens again, relishing the opportunity to play to live audiences once more.

Even though live music, sadly, isn’t yet abundant, there are some wonderful concerts cropping up. And – we may be biased – but the offering from our partner orchestras and organisations around the UK and beyond are well worth the trip.

Even partners that aren’t quite ready to return to the concert hall have some brilliant live music to showcase – in the form of online streams, archived digital concerts and social media video series.

All that’s left to do is plan some watching – be it in person or online!

Read more: Listen to Live Music Month on Classic FM >

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Upcoming concerts

Classic FM’s Orchestra in the South of England, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO), is inviting socially-distanced audiences back to Lighthouse in Poole for 12 special concerts in the Autumn.

The orchestra’s first since lockdown began in March, the concerts are taking place between 30 September and 16 December – and feature newly-commissioned works, as well as favourites by Beethoven, Brahms and Tchaikovsky, and many more.

Online events

With chief conductor Kirill Karabits at the helm, the BSO’s thrilling Autumn season will also be available to stream online for £6 a ticket.

Visit www.bsolive.com to plan your viewing or book tickets to a concert.

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Upcoming concerts

Our Orchestra in the Midlands, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), has just announced that its musicians will be returning to the CBSO Centre on Berkley Street for a special series of socially-distanced chamber concerts every Friday, from Friday 16 October.

Check out the orchestra’s website now to find out what wonderful programmes of chamber works are coming up in the next few weeks, and buy tickets for just £15.

CBSO also stunned us at the beginning of September with their live-streamed 100th birthday concert – filmed at a warehouse with social distancing, and starring cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and conductor Sir Simon Rattle.

Online events

CBSO has a brilliant online platform called ‘Stay Tuned’, which features performances and encounters with the orchestra’s musicians, conductors and music director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla to watch on demand.

Visit cbso.co.uk/cbsostaytuned to stay in touch with this wonderful orchestra – and look forward to the next opportunity to visit them in the concert hall.

Los Angeles Philharmonic

Upcoming concerts

Over in the states, the LA Phil (Classic FM’s Orchestra in America) has cancelled concerts for the rest of 2020, with 2021’s programme available for a peruse on its website.

Online events

In the wake of the pandemic, and concert cancellations, the LA Phil established ‘Sound Stage’, a platform streaming full concerts featuring the orchestra in socially-distanced performances.

The series began with ‘Love in the time of COVID’, which starred soprano J’nai Bridges and is still available to watch online for free.

Further concerts stream on 2 (pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet joins the orchestra for Rhapsody in Blue), 9 (featuring William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 1), 16 (starring soul, jazz and R&B singer Andra Day), 23 (Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7) and 30 October (the orchestra performs the original score to BECOMING: An intimate portrait of Michelle Obama).

More streams are planned for November and December.

Visit www.laphil.com to find out more and plan your viewing.

London Symphony Orchestra

Upcoming concerts

As well as ongoing regular slots at LSO St. Luke’s, London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) – Classic FM’s Orchestra in the City of London – is returning to the Barbican as it reopens to limited audiences.

Performing for socially-distanced audiences and for future broadcast, the LSO will be continuing its planned Beethoven 250 celebrations with eleven concerts featuring the great piano concertos, performed by Krystian Zimerman and conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, in November and December.

Online events

LSO streams its concerts on various platforms including Idagio and its own YouTube Channel. On YouTube, you can find the orchestra’s ‘Always Playing’ series, featuring on-demand broadcasts of past concerts streamed over Thursday and Sunday during lockdown, as well as ‘YouTube Sundays’ (an excerpt or full concert from the current Autumn season at LSO St. Luke’s, broadcast every Sunday) and ‘LSO Coffee Sessions’ where the orchestra’s musicians invite you to share a coffee break with them, have a chat and showcase their home-recorded performances.

Visit lso.co.uk to buy concert tickets, or find the schedule of online concerts coming up.

National Youth Orchestra

Upcoming concerts

Classic FM’s Orchestra of Teenagers isn’t ready to welcome audiences back to live performances quite yet...

Online events

... but has been active in online concerts since lockdown in March. At the end of September, the orchestra went live on YouTube with an interactive, ‘choose your own adventure’-style concert – and it featured their lockdown performances of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ (conducted by Marin Alsop) and Holst’s The Planets, which are all still available to watch online on demand.

Visit www.nyo.org.uk to find out what’s next for this ensemble of talented young musicians.

National Children’s Orchestra

Upcoming concerts

The National Children’s Orchestra (NCO) took the difficult decision to cancel all activity it had previously planned for 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. “NCO’s priority has always been the health and wellbeing of all children and staff,” managing director Sophie Lewis said. “We are committed to supporting all children and their families who were due to be part of our NCO community this year and have therefore taken the decision to freeze our 2020 membership and roll it over to 2021.”

Online events

Like many other musicians and ensembles around the world, NCO did take the opportunity to jump online to learn, connect with quizzes and chats, and play together – albeit remotely – over the summer, in NCOnline. Videos from then – and archived performances – can be viewed on demand on the orchestra’s YouTube Channel.

Visit www.nco.org.uk to find out more and follow the orchestra.

Classic FM’s Orchestra in America, the Los Angeles Philharmonic
Classic FM’s Orchestra in America, the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Picture: Getty

Opera North

Upcoming concerts

Classic FM’s Opera Company in the UK is performing its Autumn season outdoors. In various locations, Opera North will present Hansel and Gretel, an animation of La bohème and a special community opera out in the open air.

Online events

The same Autumn season, dubbed ‘Switch On’, will include highlights streamed online on Opera North’s YouTube channel.

Visit www.operanorth.co.uk to plan a visit or online watch.

Philharmonia Orchestra

Upcoming concerts

We can attend in-person, socially-distanced concerts from Philharmonia Orchestra, from January 2021 onwards, all being well.

Online events

In the meantime, Classic FM’s Orchestra on Tour is presenting four online concerts, live from their Royal Festival Hall London home this October.

The series opens on Monday 26 October with a programme of American music, including works by Copland, Reich and Florence Price – and continues with Britten’s Les Illuminations starring soprano Julia Bullock on Sunday 29 October; Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto performed by Sergey Khachatryan and conducted by Elim Chan on Thursday 12 November; and violinist Nicola Benedetti and conductor Pablo Heras-Casado joining forces for Beethoven on Monday 30 November.

Also – following its partnership with Classic FM to present The Philharmonia Sessions – Philharmonia Orchestra is reigniting the series with Beethoven’s The Creatures of Prometheus. Esa-Pekka Salonen has the baton, and the legendary Stephen Fry joins the orchestra to lend his insights on the ballet.

Visit philharmonia.co.uk (UK) or app.idagio.com/live/category/concerts (worldwide) to plan viewing and watch.

Royal Northern Sinfonia

Upcoming concerts

The Royal Northern Sinfonia’s concert hall home, Sage Gateshead, remains closed to the public, but is updating audiences as soon as it can about the return of live events.

Online events

You can still hear on-demand performances from the Sinfonia if you head to Sage Gateshead’s YouTube Channel and watch the ‘RNS Lockdown Listening’ series.

Visit sagegateshead.com/royal-northern-sinfonia to stay up to date.

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Upcoming concerts

Classic FM’s Orchestra in North West England, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (RLPO) is returning to Liverpool Philharmonic Hall in Autumn with a flourish – welcoming back chief conductor Vasily Petrenko as well as new chief conductor designate, Domingo Hindoyan, for his first appearance with the great orchestra since since being appointed.

Not only that – but starry soloists Isata Kanneh-Mason, Roderick Williams and Tasmin Little will be among those appearing in the RLPO’s programme of ‘reimagined’ concerts. View full programme here.

Online events

RLPO On Demand’ lets you also enjoy the orchestra in its full glory through streamed concerts – with evenings of Mozart, Sibelius, Beethoven and Bartók, and soloists like Tasmin Little, in the pipeline.

Visit www.liverpoolphil.com now to plan your online viewing, and see if there are any concerts you’d like to attend in-person.

Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Upcoming concerts

Classic FM’s Orchestra in Scotland hasn’t opened the concert hall doors to audiences, but luckily for us, has announced a digital season for Autumn.

Online events

Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) presents a digital season of 10 wonderful orchestral concerts – celebrating 250 years of Ludwig van Beethoven, who said, “There is nothing more beautiful than distributing happiness to many people.”

Amen to that. Watch via RSNO’s digital channels.

Visit www.rsno.org.uk/digital-season.

The Sixteen

Upcoming concerts

The Voices of Classic FM, The Sixteen, sadly had to cancel the Choral Pilgrimage it had planned for 2020 due to COVID-19. However...

Online events

... the choir has a wonderful online series coming up, from 18 November. Presented by actor Sir Simon Russell Beale, and conducted by Harry Christophers, ‘A Choral Odyssey’ will see the choir sing at, and explore the history and architecture, of iconic locations around the country, including Shakespeare’s Globe and Penhurst Place in Kent.

The online series will have new episodes every Wednesday, and all episodes will be available to watch on demand until 31 January 2021.

Visit thesixteen.com/a-choral-odyssey to find out more, buy tickets and plan your viewing.

Wigmore Hall

Upcoming concerts

Wigmore Hall has opened its doors once more to live audiences – always staying in line with the latest advice from the government.

The Autumn season will consist of 80 concerts featuring 150 international musicians – from pianists Igor Levit, and Mahan Esfahani, soprano Sabine Devieilhe and mezzo Marianne Crebassa, to the Arditti Quartet and the Nash Ensemble – performing wonderful concerts to a reduced-capacity audience.

Online events

Luckily, if you can’t make the London concerts in person, the performances will all be streamed online.

Find out more, and watch Wigmore’s Autumn season, here.