Guide to Classical Music, Opera and Dance in London

London by night © David Karlin
London by night
© David Karlin
There are so many classical music concerts and opera taking place in London that there is always something for you, no matter what you enjoy. From orchestral to chamber performances, repertoire works or avant-garde experiments, you'll find all in London thanks to its many high profile venues and lesser known stages. Check our calendar and use our event finder to discover concerts, opera or ballet performances in London; tonight, this weekend or the forthcoming month. Our latest reviews will let you know everything about what’s going on, providing you with a classical echo of irresistible London.
April 2017
Evening performance
Matinee performance
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This is Rattle: LSO new season

It’s been the most hotly anticipated arrival in British classical music for years. Sir Simon Rattle takes up his post as Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra with a refreshing season programme. 
Orchestra guides: Discover the main London orchestras

Guide to the Philharmonia Orchestra

Find out more about the next concerts of one of the most active orchestras

Guide to the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Discover the next concerts of LPO and read our latest reviews

Guide to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

In 2016, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) celebrates 70 years at the forefront of music-making in the UK. Its home base since 2004 at London’s Cadogan Hall serves as a springboard for fourteen residencies across the country, often in areas where access to live orchestral music is very limited. With a wider reach than any other UK large ensemble, the RPO has truly become Britain’s national orchestra.
Venue guides: Discover the main London venues

Guide to Kings Place

© Kings Place
© Kings Place
Find out more about Kings Place, the iconic, award-winning arts and conferencing venue located in the heart of King’s Cross. Since opening in September 2008 as an entirely self-funded venue, it has enjoyed critical success for classical music, along with a wide range of art forms, including classical, opera, jazz, folk, world and contemporary music as well as dance, film, comedy, literature and spoken word.
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LondonBBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concerts - Cellos

Christian Poltera; Kathryn Stott

LondonMostly Mozart by Candlelight

Mozart, Bach, Handel
Peter Dyson; Belmont Ensemble of London; Costas Fotopoulos

LondonAlexander Ullman (piano) Hattori Foundation Rush Hour Recital

Bach, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky
Alexander Ullman, Piano

LondonTrio Reverie

Haydn, Brahms, Piazzolla
Trio Reverie

LondonLunchtime Concert - Royal Greenwich Brass Band

Lovatt Cooper, Goffin, Sparke
Stephen Maw; Royal Greenwich Brass Band

LondonFree recital

Haydn, Brahms
Roberts Balanas; Eriko Nagayama; Adria Trulls; Joel Siepmann

LondonLunchtime Recital - Rattle-Özsuca Duo with Greta Mutlu (violin)

Schoenfield, Milhaud, Bartók
Rattle-Özsuca Duo; Sacha Rattle; Rattle Zeynep Özsuca; Greta Mutlu
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Janowksi ascends Bruckner 7 and admires the view

Long climbs often provide the best views. The Adagio second movement of Anton Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony bears the tempo marking Sehr feierlich und sehr langsam… and it is very solemn and very slow indeed.
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Death, destroyer of worlds

At the Barbican last night, Gerald Finley, John Adams and the BBC Symphony Orchestra combined to deliver the heaviest operatic punch I’ve been subjected to all year.
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Adès brings The Exterminating Angel to opera

Luis Buñuel's derision at the sense of entitlement of over-privileged, self-righteous prigs shines through a high quality operatic adaptation.
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Geographical and astrological surveys from the Philharmonia

A disappointing extract from Smetana's Má vlast was redeemed by a refreshingly clear performance of Elgar's Cello Concerto and a characterful account of Holst's The Planets.
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Tamestit presents first-class Bartók

A concert marked by stylish playing that brought fresh colour to Debussy, virtuosity to Bartók and energy to Bruckner.
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A Scriabin marathon by Peter Donohoe

Pounding the 26 miles from Greenwich Park to The Mall wasn't the only marathon in London today. At Milton Court, Peter Donohoe ran his own marathon, tackling all ten sonatas by Alexander Scriabin.
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Quicksilver clarity from Faust and the OAE

Isabelle Faust and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment find steely freshness in Mozart, with brooding intensity and accentuated twists and turns in Haydn and CPE Bach.
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People looking for a classical concert in London are truly spoilt for choice. The city boasts five major orchestras and regularly hosts many others; several venues for chamber music and smaller-scale orchestral performances; choral works are frequently played in the main concert halls as well as in churches, and there are two major opera houses.

The Barbican Centre where the well known London Symphony Orchestra perform (and the BBC Symphony Orchestra) as well as the Southbank Centre (where you find both the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall,) home of the Philharmonia and London Philharmonic Orchestra vie for the title of London's premier hall for orchestral concerts. Cadogan Hall, near Sloane Square, is the main home of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which also performs music outside the standard classical repertoire. In summer, the attention shifts to the BBC Proms festival at Kensington's Royal Albert Hall, which hosts a dazzling array of visiting Orchestras as well as the BBC's own performing groups.

The Wigmore Hall in Marylebone, is the capital's home of instrumental and chamber music. In addition, there are many other venues for smaller scale events, joined recently by the newly built King's Place, a development near King's Cross station which houses the London Chamber Music Series. London has several specialist orchestras such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (specialising in baroque and early music), and the London Sinfonietta, which plays 20th and 21st century works.

Many churches host concerts of choral and other works, most notably St. Johns Smith Square in Westminster and St. Martin-in-the-Fields on Trafalgar Square.

London has two internationally acclaimed opera companies: the Royal Opera (which performs at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), and the English National Opera, which performs at the London Coliseum and always sings opera in English. Less known is the fact that there are several smaller opera companies such as Hampstead Garden Opera, who perform in smaller venues with tickets suitable for considerably smaller budgets!

These are some great concerts also to be found at the music colleges: the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College both have events which showcase their students: these are often of very high quality.

There are dozens of other venues not listed above. If you're a music fan visiting the capital and looking for a classical music concert, you'd be hard pressed to pick a day when nothing's playing, and if you live in London, you have an overwhelming selection of orchestras, conductors and pieces of music in different styles from different composers. The main danger is to your bank balance!