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.
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Evening 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
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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LondonThe Night Shift: Transfigured Night

Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht, (Transfigured Night) sextet for strings, Op.4

LondonProm 43

de Falla, Lalo, Saint-Saëns
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Charles Dutoit; Stéphanie d'Oustrac; Joshua Bell; Cameron Carpenter

LondonProm 44: Late Night

Gordon, Lang, Wolfe, Glass, Andriessen
Rumon Gamba; BBC Proms Youth Ensemble; Bang on a Can All-Stars

LondonLunchtime Concert - Eight Trombones

Richard Ward; Unknown

LondonThe Night Shift: From Baroque to Rock

LondonVivaldi - The Four Seasons by Candlelight

Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Purcell, Pachelbel
Peter Dyson; Belmont Ensemble of London; Kerenza Peacock

LondonLunchtime Recital - GMT Brass Ensemble

Byrd, Susato, Traditional, Chabrier, Batchelor
GMT Brass Ensemble
Latest reviewsSee more...

Prom 40: Neatly dovetailed programme from the SCO

A refreshing Austro-German programme of works that neatly dovetailed into each other, presented with energy by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Robin Ticciati.
****1
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Prom 41: East meets West in Glass/Shankar Passages

The first live performance of Philip Glass' Passages was a spellbinding fusion of modernity and tradition, an exquisite meeting of minds, music styles and instrumentation.
*****
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Full power from the Latvian Radio Choir

Powerfully committed and expert singing from the Latvian Radio Choir under Sigvards Kļava, paired with thoughtful and calm playing from Alexander Melnikov in two highly contrasting works by Shostakovich.
****1
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Turnage's Hibiki receives European première

As a composer, what do you do when you are commissioned a full-length orchestral work to commemorate the anniversary of a renowned concert hall? Do you try to write something celebratory? Not in Mark-Anthony Turnage's case. 
***11
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Proms 37/38: A whiff of incense as Dausgaard and the Latvians explore Rachmaninov and religion

Rachmaninov was not an especially religious man, yet he composed religious music, most famously the haunting All-Night Vigil (or Vespers) which was the climax to this evening's two Proms. 
****1
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Prom 36: A double dose of darkness

It is dramaturgically risky pitting one musically dark and unfinished work against another. Thomas Dausgaard and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra rose to the challenge in Schubert and Mahler.
***11
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Strikingly dramatic Weir in a convincing première

Judith Weir's dramatic new choral work receives a convincing world première from David Hill and the BBC Singers at Southwark Cathedral. 
****1
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Biography

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!