Check out our online classical music guide

Welcome to Southbank Centre’s 2011/12 classical music season packed with
musical greats, firsts and concerts from our four world-class Resident Orchestras. Visit our online guide to take you through our packed programme!
We kicked off the season in full swing with a sold out performance from Apartment House of John Cage Night as part of International Chamber Music Season. Read Guardian review

Southbank Centre Resident Orchestras London Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra have launched their seasons with principal conductors Vladimir Jurowski and Esa-Pekka Salonen and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment launch their season this evening with a concert featuring Robert Levin and Charles Hazelwood followed by their late-night series, The Night Shift at 10pm.

This weekend Southbank Centre celebrates the music of Pierre Boulez featuring Resident Orchestra London Sinfonietta, Royal Academy of Music, almost all of Boulez’s works performed by pianists Aimard and Stefanovich, culminating in the launch of Shell Classic International, bringing great orchestras from around the world to Royal Festival Hall on Sunday with Ensemble intercontemporain, soprano Barbara Hannigan and Boulez himself performing Pli selon pli.

Explore the programme and pick out your favourites with our online guide.

Soprano Barbara Hannigan looks the part for Ligeti

Versatility can take many forms in the career of an international opera singer – and in the case of Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan it involves changing from evening dress to PVC and fishnets mid-concert to mark a move from Mozart arias to Ligeti’s tour de force Mysteries of the Macabre. Watch the video here  of her performing with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Phil, and don’t miss her concert with the Britten Sinfonia, at Queen Elizabeth Hall on Tuesday 30 November.

Read on to find out more about what makes Barbara Hannigan tick.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Difficult question….I would have to say, looking back, that Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre has given me so much inspiration that it holds the #1 spot.

 Any low points?

Ha ha, if there are highs there must be lows, but I am glad for them, because those moments always led me to a new path and enriched my life in some way.

When are you happiest?

Two answers: in rehearsal, or having dinner with my husband.

What is your earliest musical memory?

Watching Horowitz on Sesame Street.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Wrong entrances are always a downer….costume malfunctions con be rather distracting…I have a small list….oh wait! Unknowingly planning my wedding during important rehearsal days for an opera!!! That took some juggling…

What is your most treasured possession?

My memory.

What would your super power be?


If you were an animal what would you be?

A nightingale.

What is your most unappealing habit?


What is your favourite book?

Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?


Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

A great chef.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

I am happy in the present.

How do you relax away from the concert platform?


What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I might have to say learning learning Boulez’ Pli selon pli. That was really an overwhelming process.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Take more taxis (actually I learned this from my teacher in Canada).

In a nutshell, what is your philosophy?

Be here at this moment.

Barbara Hannigan sings Mozart and Ligeti with the Britten Sinfonia at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Tuesday 30 November. The concert also includes Weber’s Concertino for Horn and Orchestra with soloist Richard Watkins, and two Rossini overtures. Click here for full details and to book.

Check out the OAE blog

OAE blog

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, or OAE for short, is one of our Resident Orchestras at Southbank Centre. Their new blog is written by musicians and staff, detailing life in the world of a busy touring orchestra, and includes reviews from students coming along to the performances. The tour stories are especially entertaining – double basses that don’t like the cold and horns fixed by gaffer tape and so on.

Read the OAE blog.