Welcome to the 2017/18 season with The English Concert; a season in which we celebrate Harry Bicket’s 10th anniversary as Artistic Director. The orchestra has made great strides in the Harry Bicket decade. Not only has Harry pushed the level of musicianship and performance to higher levels, we have also expanded our repertoire and greatly increased our visibility and profile, both nationally and internationally.
Harry’s connection with some of the greatest singers in the world was instrumental in the establishment of our annual Handel opera series, commissioned by Carnegie Hall; a series that is going from strength to strength and gaining international profile year on year.
In recognition of our past residencies at the Buxton International Festival, where our season kicks off with opera, chamber music and educational work, we are thrilled to be named as associate orchestra of the festival.
2017/18 is also the season that we appoint our first ever Principal Guest Director, Kristian Bezuidenhout. The South African keyboard specialist has had a relationship – I would go so far as calling it a musical friendship – with the orchestra for a long time. His special interest in early classical repertoire will help us explore chamber repertoire that has hitherto perhaps been a little under-exposed.
We are delighted that the advances of digital technology have allowed us to document much of our achievements online for the world to see. Our new web site now features video excerpts of productions you may not have been able to see live, such as our performances of Tamerlano during the 2016 Buxton Festival, Ariodante from Carnegie Hall, or the powerful and moving Messiah, which we co-produced with the Bristol Old Vic in April 2017.
As we enter Harry Bicket’s second decade, the future at The English Concert is looking ever brighter and I look forward to greeting you at one of our concerts this season.