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100 Concerts for Wigmore Hall, With or Without an Audience

August 19, 2020 | By Anthony Brown, Musical America

John Gilhooly, Wigmore Hall’s artistic director, has announced details for an autumn series of 100 concerts, including 28 lunchtime concerts in association with BBC Radio 3. All of the performances will be live-streamed in HD video and free to watch on Wigmore Hall’s website.

When making the announcement, Gilhooly noted, “Concerts will go ahead with or without an audience and the schedule is subject to change given the uncertainty of travel and the possibility of local and international lockdowns and quarantine problems.”

The presence of a live audience depends on the government’s public health guidelines. The hall’s leadership has drawn up plans to accommodate 56 people, 10 percent of capacity, and as the season progresses may double that number to 112 people.

Over 200 artists, two-thirds of whom are UK born or based, have confirmed their participation. Among them are: Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, Tai Murray (violin), Elizabeth Llewellyn (soprano), Fatma Said (soprano), Roderick Williams (baritone), Arditti Quartet, Elena Urioste (violin), Kit Armstrong (piano), Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord), Claron McFadden (soprano), and Matthew Wadsworth (lute).

The season includes special focuses on Samuel Coleridge-Taylor in song and chamber music, pioneering 20th-century composer Julius Eastman, and Polish-Jewish-Russian composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Documentaries on acclaimed double bassist Leon Bosch and his early anti-apartheid activism, and on Anti-Semitism and Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger are also on the program. Graham Johnson will discuss his new book on Poulenc, and Natasha Loges and Katy Hamilton will speak about their book on Brahms.

“This is not an easy time for the Hall or for live performing arts,” noted Gilhooly. “Nobody should be under any illusion about how finely balanced things are for the Hall…. [but] we are determined to get artists working again, and to pay them their full fees…. [Many] have not worked since March, including artists at every stage of their career.

The full list of concerts can be found here.

John Gilhooly's interview with Susan Elliott, May 28, 2020

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