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

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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LondonLunchtime Recital - XinRu Chen (piano)

Bach, Beethoven, Schumann
XinRu Chen, Piano

LondonFree Friday Lunchtime Concerts - Romantic Europe

Various
London Symphony Orchestra

LondonVierne, Harris, Wesley, Vaughan Williams, Bairstow, Briggs, Eugene Reuchsel

Vierne, Harris, Wesley, Vaughan Williams, Bairstow, Briggs, Eugene Reuchsel
Paul Carr, Organ

LondonTrevor Pinnock conducts Academy Chamber Orchestra

Haydn, Mozart
Royal Academy of Music Chamber Orchestra; Trevor Pinnock

LondonSnow - World Premiere

Murphy, Treacher, Floyd
Chris Stark; James Hurley; The Opera Story; Rachel Szmukler

LondonLunchtime Concert - The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra

Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op.115
Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra

LondonMozart Requiem by Candlelight

Mozart
Anna Douglass; Dietrich Bethge; Robyn Allegra Parton; Greg Tassell; Jessica Gillingwater; Cheney Kent
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Lines of beauty: Rihm and Bruckner from the BBCSO

Lothar Koenigs conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra in some highly horizontal-oriented Bruckner and the UK première of a genial piano concerto from Wolfgang Rihm with soloist Nicolas Hodges
****1
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Black Angels: a brush with death

The Grim Reaper swept the aisles of the Royal Festival Hall in Vladimir Jurowski's latest programme in the Southbank Centre’s “Belief and Beyond Belief” series which explores faith and spirituality. 
****1
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Full of the joys of spring in Beethoven

Soon to be seventy, Murray Perahia and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields give full expression to the life force that is Beethoven, in their continuing cycle of the piano concertos.
*****
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Pallid Berlioz from the OAE

A disappointing pairing of Berlioz and Mendelssohn from a conductorless Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. 
**111
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Beethoven cello sonatas à la française

Phillips and Guy produce a French-accented rendering of three cello sonatas, favouring elegance and crystal clarity over overt romantics.
****1
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Yerbabuena's Apariencias

Apariencias  presents an absorbing spectacle and Yerbabuena’s peerless dancing of the melancholic soleá closes the show on an almighty high
****1
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Sensitive Schreker and energetic Rachmaninov from the BBC SO

A dramatic new work from Nicola LeFanu with soprano Rachel Nicholls and the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Ilan Volkov, together with a fine account of Schreker's Nachtstück.
***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!