Northern Chamber Orchestra Announces 2024-25 Classical Season

The Northern Chamber Orchestra (NCO) is thrilled to announce its highly anticipated 2024-25 classical season, featuring an array of captivating performances and distinguished guest artists. Tickets for all concerts go on sale Monday 1 July.

Built on the theme “Mozart on Tour,” this season celebrates the journeys that Mozart undertook during his life, which strongly influenced his music. In four concerts, we feature symphonies closely linked to particular places: Paris, Linz, Vienna, and Prague. We also include his final choral masterpiece, the Requiem. However, this is far from being an all-Mozart season. It embraces a rich variety of music spanning the seventeenth to twenty-first centuries, from Corelli to Shostakovich, Bach to Bruckner, Schubert to Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Beethoven to John Adams, and Tchaikovsky to Jessie Montgomery. Many works are familiar, such as Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, truly the pinnacle of Western art music. Others are less well known, for example, the powerfully moving Elegy (In Memoriam Stephen Lawrence) by the contemporary British composer, Philip Herbert. Together, they form carefully crafted programmes designed to delight and inspire.

The season opens on Saturday 28 September, with “Mozart on Tour (Paris),” a concert featuring the Manchester Chamber Choir under the direction of Sarah Brandwood-Spencer and conducted by Ellie Slorach. Brandwood-Spencer is renowned for her dynamic leadership and innovative programming, while Slorach, a rising star in the conducting world, has garnered praise for her engaging and insightful interpretations. The evening will include Mozart’s Overture to The Magic Flute, Symphony No.31 (‘Paris’), and his profound Requiem. This sets the tone for a season dedicated to the celebration of classical masterpieces.

On Saturday 2 November, violin virtuoso Jennifer Pike joins the NCO, directed by Zoë Beyers. Pike, a BBC Young Musician of the Year winner, is celebrated for her “dazzling interpretative flair and exemplary technique” (Classic FM). Beyers, known for her versatile musicianship and leadership, brings a wealth of experience as both a director and a soloist. The programme includes Philip Herbert’s Elegy (In Memoriam Stephen Lawrence), Schubert’s Symphony No.2, and Mendelssohn’s beloved Violin Concerto in E minor. This concert promises an evening of emotional depth and technical brilliance.

The festive spirit will be in full swing on Friday 13 December, with the annual Christmas Concerts at Tatton Park’s grand Tenants’ Hall. With performances at 3.30pm and 7pm, the NCO will be joined by the Choir of St Nicholas Catholic High School. Matinee tickets are £21, while evening tickets, which include a tour of the Mansion House, are £28.

Following the Christmas celebration, Saturday 14 December, will see renowned cellist Raphael Wallfisch and director Katie Stillman perform a diverse programme featuring Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Illumine, Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, Bruckner’s Adagio from String Quintet, and Mozart’s Symphony No.36 (‘Linz’). Wallfisch, one of the most celebrated cellists of our time and the NCO’s president, has a distinguished career spanning four decades and is known for his deeply expressive playing. Stillman, an acclaimed violinist and director, is celebrated for her vibrant and insightful leadership.

The new year begins with “Strum” on Saturday 18 January, where harpsichordist Darius Battiwalla and director Christopher Jones will present a delightful concert featuring Corelli’s Concerto Grosso, Op.6 No.2, Jessie Montgomery’s Strum, Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto No.1, and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. This performance promises a rich tapestry of baroque and contemporary sounds. Battiwalla, a versatile keyboardist and conductor, is praised for his technical prowess and musical sensitivity, while Jones, a respected conductor and violinist, is known for his engaging and nuanced performance, and returns following successful concerts with the NCO in the past two seasons.

Saturday 15 February brings “Mozart on Tour (Vienna),” featuring pianist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason and director Benedict Holland. Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, a member of the renowned Kanneh-Mason family, has quickly become a notable figure in classical music for her exceptional talent and captivating performances. Holland, a distinguished violinist and conductor, is acclaimed for his versatility and dynamic musicianship. The programme includes George Walker’s Lyric for Strings, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23, John Adams’ Shaker Loops, and Mozart’s Symphony No.35 (‘Haffner’), offering a blend of lyrical and dynamic works.

Saturday 15 March will showcase the NCO Wind Principals in “Northern Winds Shall Blow,” featuring Caplet’s Suite Persane, Nielsen’s Wind Quintet, and Dvořák’s Serenade for Wind Instruments. This concert highlights the versatility and expressiveness of wind instruments.

On Saturday 5 April, under the direction of Sarah Brandwood-Spencer, “From Darkness to Light” will feature Beethoven’s Overture to ‘Fidelio’, Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony, Op.110a, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, taking the audience on a journey from tension to triumph.

The season concludes on Saturday 3 May, with “Mozart on Tour (Prague),” directed by Zoë Beyers. The programme includes Schnittke’s Moz-Art a la Haydn, Haydn’s Symphony No.45 (‘Farewell’), Judith Weir’s Still, Glowing, and Mozart’s Symphony No.38 (‘Prague’), ensuring a memorable and profound finale.

All concerts will be held at The King’s School in Macclesfield, except for the January and March performances, which will be at St Michael’s Church in Macclesfield, and the Christmas Concerts at Tatton Park in Knutsford. Tickets are £28, with discounts available for under 30s and free entry for students and under 18s (excluding Christmas Concerts).

Tickets are on sale on Monday 1 July from or 0161 706 1990, with season tickets and group discounts available.