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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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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LondonFREE Cello Masterclass

LondonFree Friday Lunchtime Concerts - Northern Light

Various
London Symphony Orchestra

LondonVivaldi - The Four Seasons by Candlelight

Vivaldi, Bach, Pachelbel, Mozart, Purcell
Peter Dyson; Belmont Ensemble of London; Helen Davies

LondonFREE Tagus Invites: Schubert Quintet

Schubert: String Quintet in C major, D.956
Tagus Quartet; Benjamin Hughes

LondonLunchtime Recital - Laura Custodio Sabas (violin) Ariel Lanyi (piano)

Beethoven, Debussy
Unknown; Ariel Lanyi

LondonLa rondine

Puccini: La rondine
Matthew Kofi Waldren; Martin Lloyd-Evans; Opera Holland Park; takis; Elizabeth Llewellyn; Matteo Lippi; Tereza Gevorgyan

LondonPsycho

Herrmann: Film music from Psycho
London Philharmonic Orchestra; Robert Ziegler
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A bronze-toned lion: Kaufmann debuts as Otello

After all the speculation, Jonas Kaufmann made his role debut as Otello at The Royal Opera – an impressive, if not unqualified, success. 
****1
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Russian powerhouses from the Philharmonia

Denis Kozhukhin provided flowing intensity in Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto while Yuri Temirkanov crafted a polished Shostakovich 5 with the Philharmonia.
***11
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Playing the Game: Symphonic Odysseys

The latent complexities of Nobuo Uematsu's video game music come to the fore with this orchestral makeover by the LSO. 
***11
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From minor keys to major delight

The programme ended with a sense of affirmation that shouted "that's how the Ravel quartet should go!"
****1
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From Baroque'n'roll to contemporary at Kings Place

Leonard Elschenbroich joined with the 12 ensemble for an evening dedicated to the Suite italienne, a stroll through time though with a focus on contemporary composers.
***11
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Richard Alston Dance Company draws inspiration from around the world in diverse triple bill.

Tango infused contemporary dance sizzles on a hot summer evening. Sometimes tempestuous, sometimes tender; four couples oscillate between summer storms and wintry chills. Tangent, choreographed by Martin Lawrence opens a triple bill by the Richard Alston Dance Company at Sadlers Wells. He draws inspiration from Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas played on stage by pianist Jason Ridgway. 
****1
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Royal Academy tackles The Threepenny Opera

Brecht and Weill's tirade against Big Money is exceptionally well acted throughout; vocal and musical performances are more mixed.
***11
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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!