Manchester orchestra The Hallé unveils 2023-24 season including evening rush hour concerts and family events

The Hallé has unveiled a new season involving classical music masterpieces, exciting collaborations and different concert formats - we’ve had a look at the programme.

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Manchester orchestra The Hallé has unveiled its latest season featuring a wealth of concerts and music-making for culture enthusiasts in the city to enjoy.

The 2023-24 programme will be Sir Mark Elder’s final one at the helm of the orchestra which is based at The Bridgewater Hall in the city centre and he intends to bring the curtain down on his time as music director with performances of a number of spectacular classical music masterpieces.

There’s also a project involving the orchestra collaborating with notable figures in contemporary music, a variety of different concert formats which it is hoped will appeal to commuters and families and an expansion of the orchestra’s chamber music performances which have been playing to sold-out audiences.

We’ve had a look through the programme to see what classical music fans in Manchester can look forward to from The Hallé in the coming months.

What is included in the 2023-24 season for The Hallé?

The 2023-24 season will be the final one for which Sir Mark Elder is in the role of The Hallé’s music director after more than two decades and the programme includes a great deal for classical music fans to get excited about.

Sir Mark opens the season with Mahler’s Symphony No.9, a dark and epic work in four huge movements which the composer wrote towards the end of his life and which concludes with a catalysmic and death-haunted slow movement.

Rossini’s Stabat Mater, one of the few pieces Rossini wrote which is not an opera and which takes as its subject the suffering of Mary at the foot of Christ’s cross, is also being performed during the season, as is the rarely-performed original version of Verdi’s opera Simon Boccanegra.

May 2024 will see Elgar’s Enigma Variations played in a programme that also includes the European premiere of Sir Stephen Hough’s Piano Concerto, with the solo part being performed by the composer. Then, in June, Sir Mark will conduct his final concert as music director of The Hallé with the premiere of James Macmillan’s Timotheus, Bacchus and Cecilia and Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, a work tracing a dark-to-light journey across its five movements, from an ominous funeral march to a celebratory and positive ending.

The HalleThe Halle
The Halle

As well as Sir Mark’s departure the season also marks a notable arrival with celebrated composer and conductor Thomas Adès taking up the role of artist in residence. Music enthusiasts can expect to see plenty of his pieces featuring on the orchestra’s programmes over the next couple of seasons and he will also be taking to the conductor’s podium on a regular basis.

The Hallé is also including a number of different concert formats in its new season. There are four Rush Hour concerts, with an hour of music played on weekdays starting at 6pm. If anyone wishes to stay around after that the hall’s bar will be open and there will be more music in the foyer.

There are also a number of Family Concerts where people can discover more about the orchestra, including one concert unlocking the mystery at the heart of Elgar’s Enigma Variations. The Hallé Chamber Concerts at Hallé St Peter’s in Ancoats will also be expanding after performances have played to sold-out crowds, with Thomas Adès showcasing his skills at the piano in some of them.

In addition there is also The Hallé Presents, in which the orchestra works with exciting and successful figures in the field of contemporary music, including American minimalist composer Steve Reich, Nitin Sawhney and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood.

More information about the season, including how to book, can be found in the full brochure online.

What has been said about the new season at The Hallé?

Hallé music director Sir Mark Elder said: “In June 2024 I will conduct my last concert in Manchester as Music Director of this exceptional orchestra. I could not wish for a better finale. We close with Mahler’s Symphony No.5. Triumphant, bright and optimistic in its conclusion.

“Our work is pointless without audiences to hear it. People who come every month or once a year. Children from school, students from university, anyone who has ever heard our music out of curiosity. To every single one of you, thank you.”

Sir Mark Elder conducting The Halle. Photo: Alex Burns/The HalleSir Mark Elder conducting The Halle. Photo: Alex Burns/The Halle
Sir Mark Elder conducting The Halle. Photo: Alex Burns/The Halle

Hallé chief executive David Butcher said: “We hope this season has something for everyone with its rich alchemy of musical experiences designed to surprise and delight. We’ve got stunning music, world premieres, new innovations and collaborations with artists as diverse as Thomas Adès (who we welcome as artist-in-residence), Nitin Sawhney, Jess Gillam and Steve Reich.

“The season is particularly momentous in that it is the final season of our inspirational music director Sir Mark Elder, who stands down after 24 transformative years.”

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