Edinburgh Sunday International Concerts Series in 2018/19



2018/19 Edinburgh Sunday International Concerts Series

Edinburgh City Council’s new 2018-2019 season of Sunday Classics International Concerts Series will include world-class orchestras and a multitude of top-class soloists renowned by music lovers. The concerts will begin in October through until June next year and the venue is the celebrated Usher Hall and host to the capital’s concerts for both the Edinburgh International Festival and the previous series of popular Sunday afternoon concerts.

In recent years the series of Sunday afternoon concerts have often eclipsed the orchestra line-up offered by the Edinburgh International Festival by bringing musicians never before heard in the city, yet who have been acclaimed on the internet and world-wide. Valentina Lisitsa who has millions of YouTube subscribers will be returning following her popular concert in March. Yuri Temirkanov will be bringing his St Petersburg Philharmonic back again after many successful concerts in the capital.  Highlights will be the appearance of the Symphony Orchestra of India, with Martyn Brabbins, the first Indian orchestra to visit the UK.

If Indian classical music is relatively unknown here it has a wealthy tradition as the Maharaja of Mysore arranged classical concerts and sponsored recordings on Columbia of rare music by Nikolay Medtner in the 1950s. Medtner dedicated his Third Piano Concerto to him, and the Maharaja helped the Philharmonia Orchestra concerts in its first years, as well as sponsoring recordings. Walter Legge, the famous record producer wrote: ‘Many more correspondents have written expressing their admiration for the vision, constructive enterprise and generosity of the young Indian Prince who conceived this plan, and who is making it possible for the music lovers throughout the world to learn, enjoy and study works which but for his knowledge and love of music, would never have been recorded…’ Notably, he backed a concert of Richard Strauss at the Royal Albert Hall conducted by Furtwängler, as well as recordings by Karajan. Zubin Mehta is the most famous musician from the sub-continent, and many other of his countrymen and women have developed successful careers in Europe and America. Theconcert by the Indian musicians will surely be among the highlights of the new season.

A quite different and exotic experience for concert-goers – also a new visitor – will be the Japan Philharmonic from Tokyo under the outstanding Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen. Japanese string players and conductors have become world famous in past years, but this is only the second orchestra from the Far East to tour Scotland, and their stunning virtuosity will prove a delight for aficionados of classical music.

International orchestras who will be coming include the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra under Thomas Sanderling, the Russian State Symphony Orchestra, legendary because of their long-standing conductor the late Evgeny Svetlanov who brought them here in 1988, and the Vienna Tonkunstler Orchestra who are making their return visit here. Scotland’s own Royal Scottish National Orchestra will give two concerts; one commemorating the end of the Great War in a presentation of War Horse, and another of The Planets in a HD video showing. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will make up the final concert with the world famous Pinchas Zuckerman as soloist and conductor.

The soloists who will perform includes Angela Hewitt, Barry Douglas, John Lill, Freddy Kempf, and Marat Bisengaliev. The repertoire includes a mix of well-known and popular works from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Elgar’s Enigma Variations, the Second Symphonies by Rachmaninov and Sibelius, concertos by Beethoven, Rachmaninov, and Bruch, and modern works by Rautavara, Takemitsu, Bernstein and Shostakovich.

For details of the season click here.

Gregor Tassie


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