The best classical music and opera online streams available in 2021

10 May 2021, 15:04 | Updated: 12 May 2021, 12:24

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.

Click here for the latest coronavirus advice from the NHS >

Upcoming classical concerts and opera being live streamed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

Until 30 May: Conway Hall in Bloomsbury, London hosts a series of online ‘Sunday Concerts’ featuring a wonderful selection of chamber music. Highlights in this Spring season include Piatti Quartet and the Greenwhich Trio.
Visit: conwayhall.org.uk/events

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

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

Recent past classical concerts on demand

13 February – 22 April: VOCES8 Foundation presents ‘Live From London Spring’, an online offering of concerts from favourite choral artists, marking Valentine’s Day, Passiontide, International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day, before culminating in a flourishing of creativity for Earth Day. A wonderful online festival aiming to sow the seeds for a summer of re-growth and renewal.
Visit: page.inplayer.com/livefromlondonspring

18 March – 29 April: The Hallé resumes the streamed edition of its 2021 Winter Season with five brand new performances, with music by Beethoven, Sibelius and Rachmaninov. The series will culminate in a new staging of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale conducted by Sir Mark Elder and directed by Annabel Arden.
Visit: www.halle.co.uk

9 April, 17:00 BST: Join The Bromsgrove virtually for their fourth online recital, performed by brilliant accordionist Bartosz Glowacki, with music by Alessandro Marcello, Jerzy Madrawski and Astor Piazzolla.
Visit: bromsgrovecompetition.com

16 April, 18:00 BST: The English Symphony Orchestra presents the next instalment of the ‘Art of Storytelling’ series, where the orchestra teams up with narrators to bring the power of music and great literature together. This week, actor Gemma Whelan joins the orchestra for a performance of Kile Smith’s The Bremen Town Musicians, commissioned in 2008 by David Yang.
Visit: www.eso.co.uk/bremen

16-18 April: Tippet Rise Art Center in the US presents its digital Spring Festival, which features a selection of fascinating short films and a world premiere performance. Highlights include flautist Claire Chase premiering a new work by Bora Yoon, and appearances from cellist Arlen Hlusko, and violinists Benjamin Beilman, Katie Hyun and Tessa Lark, among others.
Visit: tippetrise.org/virtual-events

22 April, 19:30 BST: The Academy of St Martin in the Fields mixes the old with the new in a concert directed by John Butt, and featuring works by Errollyn Wallen, Matthew Locke and Henry Purcell.
Visit: www.asmf.org

29 March, 19:30 ET – 28 April: The Lincoln Center broadcasts a rare and special performance from opera royalty, Jessye Norman, in a concert of sublime arias – including Purcell’s ‘When I am laid in earth’ AKA ‘Dido’s Lament’ and ‘Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix’ from Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Delilah. The treat of an unearthed performance features the Orchestra of St. Luke's, conducted by Jane Glover.
Visit: lincolncenter.org/lincoln-center-at-home

2 – 30 April: The Oxford Bach Soloists present an online Easter Festival, broadcast from beautiful locations in Oxford, including Christ Church Cathedral and New College Chapel. Over the four days, performances of Bach’s St John Passion, Easter Oratorio and Easter Cantatas will stream online from 3pm, and they will then be available to watch on demand – if you miss them or if you want to enjoy them again – from 30 April.
Visit: www.oxfordbachsoloists.com

23 April, 20:00 ET: Legendary pianist Sir András Schiff performs sublime piano works by Bach, Beethoven and Mozart online, as part of Washington Performing Arts’ ‘Home Delivery Plus’ series.
Visit: www.washingtonperformingarts.org/seasontickets/home-delivery-plus

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

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

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