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.
March 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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Handel: Faramondo
Laurence Cummings; William Relton; Cordelia Chisholm; Harriet Eyley; Amy Manford; Kamilla Dunstan

LondonShostakovich: The New Babylon (U)

Shostakovich: Music to the silent film New Babylon for small orchestra, Op.18
Sasha Grynuk, Piano

LondonLondon Sinfonietta – Ligeti: Altered Time

London Sinfonietta


Handel: Belshazzar, HWV 61
Richard Bannan; Dame Emma Kirkby; Robert Murray; David Allsopp; James Hall

LondonAfternoon Tea with Live Opera - Galina Averina

Donizetti, Gounod, Verdi, Mozart, Massenet
Galina Averina, Soprano

LondonLondon Philharmonic Orchestra: Death and Transfiguration

Strauss R., Mozart
London Philharmonic Orchestra; Nathalie Stutzmann; Kateryna Kasper; Sara Mingardo; Robin Tritschler; Leon Košavić

LondonPina Bausch / William Forsythe / Hans van Manen

Stravinsky, Willems, Beethoven
Pina Bausch; William Forsythe; Hans van Manen; English National Ballet; Gavin Sutherland; English National Ballet Philharmonic; Olga Khoziainova; Francesca Velicu
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Mediterranean heat: a scorching Daphnis et Chloé

Alain Altinoglu, conducting with a mixture of histrionic flourishes and balletic flair, leads a fiery account of Ravel's ballet. 
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Breaking up is hard: La Voix humaine

Poulenc's one-act, one-side-of-a-phone-conversation opera provides a perfect vehicle for Anne-Sophie Duprels to demonstrate her talents as a singing actor.
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Early Mozart from Classical Opera

Mozart's first stage work was written when he was just eleven years old; in this performance by Classical Opera, the composer's youthful writing and touches of humour are brought to life by a solid cast and lively conducting.
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n American in Paris

A superb An American in Paris, inspired by the 1951 film of the same name; classic Gershwin songs enveloped by vibrant choreography, in a fast-paced show.   
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Inspiring Beethoven and Haydn from the OAE

Ádám Fischer and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment gave a thrilling account of Beethoven's Seventh, and there was much to admire in Steven Isserlis' intelligent reading of Hadyn's Cello Concerto no. 1.
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Disappointing Schubert and Brahms

Not much to set the heart racing in two works of German Romanticism performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Fabio Luisi.
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Echoes from the past: the Norwegian CO

Two big-boned Mozart piano concertos played by Leif Ove Andsnes formed the meaty filling in a concert by the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra that showcased their superb ensemble characteristics.
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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!