The best classical music and opera online streams available in 2021

8 June 2021, 17:34

The best live and streamed classical concerts available online 2021
The best live and streamed classical concerts available online. Picture: PA / GETTY / Luciano Romano

By Rosie Pentreath

An updating list of the major classical concerts and events being streamed online as a result of the ongoing coronavirus measures around the world.

Measures taken worldwide to curb the spread of coronavirus have seen numerous classical concerts and events postponed and cancelled, and concert halls around the world closed for indefinite periods, since March 2020.

Countries banned gatherings, tightened their borders, and many have now seen various lockdowns for months. Some things are slowly starting to open up, but seeing live music still remains a rare treat.

As many of us are continuing to stay at home to work, self-isolate and look after the family, we’re lucky that many major classical concerts and events are being held without audiences and streamed online for us to see – for free in many cases – something that brings comfort, solidarity and some beautiful relief in trying times.

Read more: Best live classical music concerts, festivals and venues returning this summer

Upcoming classical concerts and opera being live streamed

8 March – 8 June: Baroque choir and orchestra, Armonico Consort, presents an on-demand series of online concerts featuring sumptuous early music by the likes of Victoria, Byrd and Bach. Once you have your tickets, these beautiful performances are available to watch for 30 days.
Visit:
www.armonico.org.uk/ondemand

11 March – 21 August: Chamber orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, presents a new series of online concerts, filmed live in London, with music from Bach, Brahms, Errollyn Wallen and Sally Beamish.
Visit: www.asmf.org

May onwards: Constella OperaBallet has joined forces with Derbyshire’s Darley Abbey to bring the historic former mill village’s heritage to life through a series of seven short films, packed with newly-commissioned dance, music and drama. They’re all made in collaboration with Darley Abbey residents, and performed by singers, dancers and actors from Constella OperaBallet, as well as local choirs from Déda Youth Company, the University of Derby and local primary schools.
Visit: www.constella.org.uk/spinatale

6 May – 13 June, various times: London Symphony Orchestra, Classic FM’s Orchestra in the City of London, continues its varied and endlessly engaging series of online concert offerings. There’s something for every orchestral music lover – from a Symphonic Poem from Liszt, to masterful Verdi, Brahms and Dvořák excerpts in the Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition 2021 – and Beethoven’s Fifth, among many other highlights.
Visit: lso.co.uk/whats-on

23 May – 27 June: The American Pianists Association presents its 2021 classical awards, hosted online due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The five finalists for 2021, Dominic Cheli, Kenny Broberg, Mackenzie Melemed, Michael Davidman and Sahun Sam Hong, will stream their attention-grabbing recital performances. And the finals will feature chamber and concerto performances, with the winner announced on Sunday 27 June.
Visit: www.americanpianists.org

23 May – 12 September: Streaming platform On Air presents classical treats in the form of final symphonies from Brahms, Dvořák and Mozart, filmed at Vienna’s Synchron Stage and featuring Synchron Stage Orchestra conducted by Johannes Vogel.
Visit: www.onair.events/en-int/page/classical-series

26 May – 9 June: Bergen International Festival is going online and giving us the chance to watch 30 events virtually this year. Highlights include works for Dvořák and Grieg, and performances from the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and the violinist Johan Dalene.
Visit: fib.no/en/programme

9 June – 25 June: St James’s Church presents Piccadilly Piano Plus a chamber music series celebrating the king of instruments. There’ll be free lunchtime recitals, a live-streamed evening concert with soprano Nadine Benjamin, delightful Mozart, Ravel and Debussy from star pianist Melvyn Tan, and much more.
Visit: eventbrite.co.uk

8 June, 19:00 BST: Music Masters presents ‘Pathways: Empowering Potential’, an online concert hosted by Randall Goosby and featuring the young musicians participating in the charity’s educational programme. The musicians’ performances have been filmed at Wigmore Hall.
Visit: www.musicmasters.org.uk

Until 11 June: The Bath Festival Orchestra re-launched in lockdown, taking the first opportunity to perform with a sold-out concert at Bath Abbey on 17 May, the date live music returned to the UK. The concert is now available to stream online, for free, until 11 June. The concert features soprano Rowan Pierce and conductor Peter Manning, and includes Weber’s Overture to Der Freischütz, five orchestral songs by Strauss, and Brahms’ Serenade No 1 in D.
Visit: thebathfestivalathome.org.uk

10 June, 19:00: The Sixteen, The Voices of Classic FM, presents a stunning, meditative concert of new choral music by Sir James MacMillan and Will Todd. Streamed on Classic FM’s Facebook Page and available on demand for a month afterwards, the concert will be presented by our very own Alexander Armstrong, who will read the words of Cardinal Newman, and poet and churchman John Donne.
Visit: facebook.com/classicfm

10 – 11 June, 20:00 CET: For the third time since 2014, contemporary orchestral collective s t a r g a z e presents The Post-Beethoven-Fest 2021, one of its signature ‘weekender’ festivals of new collaborative works by classical, electronic and alternative music artists. The boundary-pushing festival will be streamed from Volksbühne Berlin. The 2021 instalment is all about Beethoven and his legacy in this day and age, and sees the participating artists take Beethoven’s compositions as an inspirational focus point to explore and rediscover the composer for the 21st century.
Visit: zart.online-ticket.de/post-beethoven-fest-2021

10 June – 29 July: Following the success of the Hallé Orchestra’s online Winter Season, three of the concerts in its live, socially-distanced Summer Season at the Bridgewater Hall will also be filmed and made available online, on demand, a week after each concert. The special digital version of the season will feature Elgar’s Enigma Variations, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite among other highlights, with Sir Mark Elder and Tabita Berglund conducting.
Visit: www.halle.co.uk/whats-on

16 June – 31 December, 19:00 BST: Cellist Claudio Bohórquez and Christoph Eschenbach in his pianist guise join forces to perform Schumann, Webern, Schubert and Messiaen online. Filmed at TELDEX Studios in Berlin, the concert is available to stream until Friday, 31 December 2021.
Visit: app.idagio.com

Until 30 June: Manchester Camerata presents ‘Renew’, a soothing, meditative programme of music by Tchaikovsky, Philip Glass and Roxanna Panufnix compiled to help us unwind and reflect on the challenging times we’re in – with a sense of renewal and beauty at its heart. Watch on-demand, and on a pay-what-you-can basis. ‘Renew’ is presented in collaboration with the arts centre, HOME.
Visit: homemcr.org/production/renew-manchester-camerata

Until 1 July: National Children’s Orchestra continues its engaging series of online events, including inspiring webinars hosted by NCO’s own Catherine Arlidge (see above), virtual socials for members of the orchestra, creative and wellbeing sessions, and smaller ‘sectionals’ – both social and musical – to really enjoy getting to know each other.
Visit: www.nco.org.uk

11 – 12 August, 19:30 BST: Encompass Network presents a charity concert at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire. A programme of music for strings and organ by Vivaldi, Max Reger, Rachmaninov and more will raise money for Encompass, which supports LGBTQ+ people by promoting inclusion, safety and freedom from discrimination through networking and capacity-building for the LGBTQ+ voluntary and community sector.
Visit: www.encompasscharityconcert.org

Until 31 August: Sing or play along to 'Leon and the Place Between' - London Symphony Orchestra’s latest family and schools concert, available to watch for free on YouTube. Accompanying activity packs will help you and the whole family make the most of this magical musical tale.
Visit: youtube.com

Recent past classical concerts on demand

25 March – 6 May, 19:30 BST: The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra returns to the Royal Albert Hall for a series of three online concerts with music director designate Vasily Petrenko at the helm – part of the Royal Albert Hall’s 150th anniversary celebrations. Expect symphonies by Brahms, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, with performances by saxophonist Jess Gillam and violinist Nicola Benedetti.
Visit: rpo.co.uk

23 – 24 April, 13:00 BST: Classic FM’s Orchestra on Tour, the Philharmonia, presents new instalments of its specially-curated 90-minute online concerts in the acclaimed Philharmonia Sessions. The latest sessions are wonderful ‘Orchestra Unwrapped’ and ‘Family Concert’ events, featuring music by Smyth, Farrenc and others, as well as an orchestral ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen. Available to watch on-demand afterwards.
Visit: philharmonia.co.uk/series/philharmonia-sessions

25 April – 2 May: Northern Chamber Orchestra performs a selection of Mozart and Schumann works with guest soloists at the Stoller Hall in Manchester. Pianist Benjamin Powell joins the ensemble for Schumann's Piano Quintet, while the orchestra’s principal clarinettist, Elizabeth Jordan, takes to the front of the stage for Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet.
Visit: www.ncorch.co.uk

29 April, 19:00 BST: Star violinist Nicola Benedetti joins forces with London Symphony Orchestra, Classic FM’s Orchestra in the City of London, for the world premiere performance of Mark Simpson’s Violin Concerto – before the orchestra treats us to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 ‘Pathétique’. Gianandrea Noseda conducts. A newly composed violin concerto and a world premiere from a leading violinist like Nicky is a very exciting moment. Watch the video above in which composer and virtuoso sit down to chat about this new work and how it came into the world.
Visit: lso.co.uk

6 May, 18:00 (BST): Opera North continues its Whitehall Road Sessions of online concerts with a celebration of female composers. Featuring Lili Boulanger, Alice Zawadzki and Louise Farrenc, the concert – titled ‘Of a Spring Evening’ – will be livestreamed from the company's Leeds rehearsal studio. Opera North is Classic FM’s Opera Company in the UK.
Visit: www.operanorth.co.uk

7 May: Former winner, violinist Emily Sun, performs at the fifth online recital from The Bromsgrove International Musicians’ Competition. The music will be stunning – Igor Florov’s Concert Fantasy on Themes from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Elgar’s Salut d’amour.
Visit: bromsgrovecompetition.com

8 May, 18:00 BST: New York’s Met Opera presents ‘Wagnerians in concert’, featuring opera stars Christine Goerke, Elza van den Heever, Andreas Schager, and Michael Voll performing arias from the German composer’s epic operas – live from Wiesbaden in Germany. Streamed as part of the Met’s ‘Met Stars Live in Concert’ series, the concert will be available for 14 days on-demand.
Visit: metstarslive.brightcove-services.com

Until 10 May: Wigmore Hall continues its stunning series of online chamber concerts, featuring the greatest performers – from Steven Isserlis, Imogen Cooper and Isata Kanneh-Mason, to The Sixteen and the Nash Ensemble. All streams take place daily across Wigmore’s online and social channels, and are available to watch, for free, on demand for 30-90 days (check individual events for details).
Visit: wigmore-hall.org.uk/whats-on/spring-2021-wigmore-series

Until 13 May: Opera Up Close showcases two free online concerts as part of its ‘Coffee Break’ series – ‘Calming The Tempest’ and ‘Shakespeare Re-Shaped’. Both concerts invites actors to accompany the music with their own readings, with Athena Stevens and Fiona Shaw appearing in the former, and actor Lara Steward performing Juliet’s passionate ‘Gallop apace’ monologue in British Sign Language in the latter event, alongside actor Kat Rose-Martin.
Visit: www.operaupclose.com/at-home/coffee-break-concerts or youtube.com

26 April – 14 May: Prestigious piano competition Concours Musical International de Montréal streams online for its 2021 instalment, following COVID-19 postponement last year. 27 brilliant semi-finalists will represent 11 countries, and record their competition submissions in 15 concert halls across the globe. All the performances will be available for streaming free and on-demand.
Visit: www.concoursmontreal.ca/en/piano-2021

14 May, 20:30 AEST: Down under, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra sees its concertmaster Dale Barltrop take the spotlight as soloist in Schumann’s Violin Concerto – under the baton of conductor Umberto Clerici. The concert, which also features BrahmsVariations on a Theme of Haydn will be attended by audiences at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall on 13 – 15 May, as well as being streamed on the orchestra’s YouTube Channel on the Friday.
Visit: www.mso.com.au

14 May, 12:30 BST: The Self-Isolation Choir presents Duruflé’s Requiem as part of its ‘Requiems at Home’ series. Directed and conducted by Harry Bradford, the choir learned and recorded their parts individually at home during lockdown, ready for the final online spectacular. Also featuring Recordare Chamber Choir and organist James Orford.
Visit: www.youtube.com

14 May, 19:30 BST: Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) and Saffron Hall present a YCAT Artist Showcase, featuring incredible musicians who’ve been associated with the trust, past and present. The free-to-view digital concert will feature current YCAT artists Tabea Debus (recorder) and Ben Goldscheider (horn), as well as past artists pianist James Baillieu, violinist Oliver Heath and the Heath Quartet, saxophonist Jess Gillam and guitarist Toby Carr. The broadcast will begin with a conversation between Angela Dixon, chief executive of Saffron Hall, and Alasdair Tait, chief executive and artistic director of YCAT, and will be streamed on Saffron Hall’s website and YouTube Channel for 30 days. Viewers are invited to make a donation which will be split between Help Musicians, YCAT Trust and Saffron Hall Trust.
Visit: events.saffronhall.com/whats-on/view/ycat-artists

Until 14 May: London Concertante presents a weekly online concert series called ‘Tune-in’, featuring programmatic music from some of London Concertante’s finest players and friends of the ensemble – filmed in Peckham, London’s atmospheric Asylum Chapel.
Visit: londonconcertante.com/tune-in

14 May – 4 June, 19:30 BST: The Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) team up to continue their ‘Polska Scotland’ series of streamed concerts. On 14 May at 7.30pm, Marta Gardolińska will conduct Lutosławski’s Mala Suite, and on 28 May the RSNO Chamber Ensemble is joined by Adrian Wilson and Lena Zeliszewska for a concert of works by Szymanowski, Lutosławski and Bacewicz. On 4 June star pianist Benjamin Grosvenor will perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 alongside works by Kilar and Lutosławski – conducted by Elim Chan. And finally, Chan will returns to conduct the RSNO with violinist Nicola Benedetti in a performance of Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 2 on 11 June. The RSNO is Classic FM’s Orchestra in Scotland.
Visit: www.rsno.org.uk/polska-scotland

15 May, 19:00 BST: Corona Strings gives the premiere performance of a new work by baritone and composer, Roderick Williams. The work, Corona, was commissioned back in 2019. The online concert’s programme also features Finzi’s Romance and Clarinet Concerto, performed by clarinettist Jack McNeill, and Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro.
Visit: coronastrings.co.uk/product/brave-new-world

16 May, 19:00 BST: Ellie Slorach conducts The Self-Isolation Choir, founded in 2020 in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, in Rossini’s choral masterpiece, Petite Messe Solonnelle. Every voice was recorded individually at home, including those of guest performers Kantos Chamber Choir and keyboardist Richard Gowers. This is an encore performance of a concert first premiered on 1 May.
Visit: www.youtube.com

19 May, 20:00 AEST: The Australian Chamber Orchestra performs ‘Love & Transfiguration’, an online concert of works by Bach, Vasks, Sibelius and Schoenberg. ‘How do light and joy come from what feels like our darkest moments?’, the orchestra will be asking in this striking performance filmed as part of the ‘ACO StudioCasts’ series.
Visit: www.aco.com.au

30 April – 20 May, 19.30 BST: Classic FM’s Orchestra on Tour continues its ‘Streamed from the Southbank Centre’ series. The Philharmonia Orchestra performs an incredible classical programme, featuring Elgar’s Enigma Variations, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 among other masterpieces – and with star soloists and guest conductors, Steven Isserlis (cello), Steven Osborne (piano), Alina Ibragimova (violin), Alice Coote (mezzo), Elim Chan, Simone Young, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Martyn Brabbins, joining the orchestra on stage.
Visit: philharmonia.co.uk/series/streamed-from-southbank-centre

22 May, 18:00 BST: The latest instalment of the ‘Met Stars Live in Concerts’ series, this event features a stunning performance from three members of opera royalty – filmed at Opéra Royal at the Château de Versailles in France. Sopranos Ailyn Pérez and Nadine Sierra, and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard perform a selection of favourite opera arias in the stunning surrounds.
Visit: metstarslive.brightcove-services.com

22 May, 19:30 ET: iSing Silicon Valley presents its eighth annual Spring Concert on YouTube. The ‘Choosing Harmony’ event will feature 250 iSing performers, joined by the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Amaranth Quartet, and other special guest artists.
Visit: isingsv.com/whatson

18 February – 26 May: Virtuoso pianist Howard Shelley OBE performs favourite works – both little- and well-known – from St. John’s Smith Square in London, as part of his ‘Piano Explored’ series with London Mozart Players. There will be works for piano and orchestra from Mozart and Shostakovich, as well as gems from Saint-Saëns and Mendelssohn, and a couple of pieces ripe for discovery from Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Ignaz Moscheles.
Visit: www.londonmozartplayers.com/piano-explored

24 May, 13:00 ET: The Lincoln Center presents the first concert in its ‘Love From Lincoln Center’ series in partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian, featuring special live performances dedicated to frontline workers and aiming to provide solace, respite, and brightness to those who worked so hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. A string quartet of musicians from the New York City Ballet Orchestra performs Mozart, Beethoven and more, with dancers from the New York City Ballet choreographed by Clara Miller.
Visit: www.lincolncenter.org

27 May, 19:00 EDT: Student vocalists and instrumentalists from Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School High School give an exclusive, work-in-progress online performance of Lisa Bielawa’s new opera, Centuries in the Hours.
Visit: www.kaufmanmusiccenter.org

29 January – 30 May: Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has joined forces with South Africa’s acclaimed Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble to present a stunning on-demand concert series, curated from the ensemble’s most memorable concert moments of the last five years. The series, which is just $5 per concert, lets us experience the virtuosity and vibrancy of this extraordinary group of players through their performances of classical, pop, and uniquely South African music.
Visit: princetonsymphony.org/calendar/buskaid-musical-miracle