Orchestral music: Where to start

Orchestral music offers something for everyone, but it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Discover the wonder of live orchestral music with us this season. Enjoy Orff’s thrilling Carmina Burana (think the opening of X Factor), get emotional with heart-on-sleeves music from Tchaikovsky or be transported to Paris with Gershwin’s An American in Paris.

Read on for our selection of concerts that are the perfect introduction to the thrill of live orchestral music. Or, you can browse all our London concerts here.

Pictures at an Exhibition | 30 November 2018

Step inside the magical world of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, a series of stunningly imaginative miniatures bursting with orchestral colour. Three short pieces by Liadov are also drawn from the mysterious depths of Russian folklore, and presented here alongside what is probably the most-loved of all violin concertos, Bruch’s famous First.

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Spirit of romance | 8 February 2019

Chopin has a claim to being the world’s favourite creator of gorgeous piano music, and tonight’s concert is a chance to discover the timeless romance of his First Piano Concerto. But you won’t stay dewy-eyed for long – in the second half experience the joyful rush of Elgar’s Second Symphony, a rip-roaring shout of delight from Britain’s best-loved composer.

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Romantic dreams | 27 February 2019

Be transported to the sunny slopes of the Austrian Alps in Brahms’s deeply heartfelt Symphony No. 2, a piece filled with lullabies, folk songs and great bursts of passion. Just as it is among the great gems of symphonic music, so too is Weber’s Clarinet Concerto one of the most celebrated works for clarinet and orchestra, full of brooding intensity and romance

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Elgar's Cello Concerto | 23 March 2019

Tonight Elgar’s elegiac, heartbreakingly beautiful Cello Concerto is paired with Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 1. For Mahler ‘a symphony must be like the world, it must embrace everything’, and sure enough his youthful First Symphony welcomes in a breathtaking array of influences from birdsong to a certain well-known nursery rhyme, creating a musical adventure of mind-boggling cosmic brilliance.

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Opera gala evening | 29 March 2019

What better introduction to the world of opera than a selection of the very best tenor arias performed by one of the great voices of the 21st century? Internationally acclaimed tenor Juan Diego Flórez is unsurpassed on the operatic stage, and in this special gala concert of opera classics and popular favourites you’ll experience all the spectacular power that has made him one of the supreme vocalists of our time.

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Legends of the north | 5 April 2019

Thrillingly bombastic and astoundingly virtuosic, it’s easy to hear why Grieg’s firecracker of a Piano Concerto has become one of the most enduringly popular of all concert pieces. Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5 is another postcard from Scandinavia, but one which presents an entirely different scene: this is music to stir the soul, steadily building to a uniquely beautiful finale inspired by a flight of swans at sunset.

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Elgar's Cello Concerto | 23 March 2019

Tonight Elgar’s elegiac, heartbreakingly beautiful Cello Concerto is paired with Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 1. For Mahler ‘a symphony must be like the world, it must embrace everything’, and sure enough his youthful First Symphony welcomes in a breathtaking array of influences from birdsong to a certain well-known nursery rhyme, creating a musical adventure of mind-boggling cosmic brilliance.

Book now

Opera gala evening | 29 March 2019

What better introduction to the world of opera than a selection of the very best tenor arias performed by one of the great voices of the 21st century? Internationally acclaimed tenor Juan Diego Flórez is unsurpassed on the operatic stage, and in this special gala concert of opera classics and popular favourites you’ll experience all the spectacular power that has made him one of the supreme vocalists of our time.

Book now