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Guide to Classical Music, Opera and Dance in London

The Tower Bridge © Simon Winnall | London and Partners
The Tower Bridge
© Simon Winnall | London and Partners
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LondonVoices of America

Playlist (Track 1, 2) © Laurent Liotardo
Various, Willems, Stravinsky, Bates
William Forsythe; Jerome Robbins; Aszure Barton; English National Ballet; English National Ballet Philharmonic; Aaron Robinson; Alina Cojocaru; Jurgita Dronina

LondonYeol Eum Son at Cadogan Hall

© Jaehyong Park
Haydn, Mozart
Academy of St Martin in the Fields; Yeol Eum Son; Tomo Keller

LondonGolijov's music for clarinet and string quartet

Golijov's music for clarinet and string quartet
David Orlowsky; Cristiano Gualco; Paolo Andreoli; Simone Gramaglia

LondonLunchtime Recital - Lara Caister (violin) Alan Brown (piano)

Lunchtime Recital - Lara Caister (violin) Alan Brown (piano)
Fauré, Liszt, Mussorgsky, Poulenc
Lara Caister; Alan Brown
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Chloë Hanslip and Danny Driver are thrilling at Kings Place

Chloë Hanslip © Benjamin Ealovega
Chloë Hanslip and Danny Driver were in tune with each other in every way in this fascinating and entertaining programme inspired by Marcel Proust.
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Jurowski revels in Stravinsky, Debussy and Shostakovich

Vladimir Jurowski © Drew Kelley
In a memorable evening, Jurowski and the LPO presented entirely convincing accounts.
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Barry Douglas majestic with below par Czech NSO

Barry Douglas © Katya Kraynova
An imperious Barry Douglas provided a magisterial Emperor Concerto in an otherwise disappointing concert from the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.
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An engaging evening of Haydn with the Castalian Quartet

The Castalian String Quartet © Kaupo Kikkas
Would Haydn be the perfect dinner party guest? Witty banter and joyful exchanges characterise the three quartets given at Wigmore Hall as part of its Haydn series.
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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!