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Big Bruckner Weekend @ The Glasshouse 1st-3rd March 2024

ByDave Stopher

Oct 31, 2023

Big Bruckner Weekend @ The Glasshouse

1st-3rd March 2024

The Glasshouse International Centre for Music celebrates 200 years of Anton Bruckner’s epic music with a weekend festival

The Glasshouse has announced plans for its Big Bruckner Weekend, an epic immersion into the music of the Austrian composer on his 200th anniversary. Taking place between Friday 1st and Sunday 3rd March 2024, the venue plays host to several of Britain’s best orchestras and choir for performances of his greatest symphonies, chamber work and religious choral works.

Enthusiasts of Bruckner’s uplifting and transformative music can make a weekend of it in the north-east for this five-concert programme showcasing his most loved works. Wrapped around each of these main concerts are free-to-attend concourse performances of his spiritual Motets from the Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia. Listeners from far and wide will be welcomed at The Glasshouse’s Big Bruckner Weekend to enjoy this rare opportunity at the start of his anniversary year.

The weekend kicks off with Domingo Hindoyan conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra playing Bruckner’s majestic Symphony No.7. An immediate success upon its premiere in 1884, its touching melodies, textured harmonies, and rousing brass fanfares ensure it is just as popular today.

Saturday 2nd brings audiences another monumental day of music. Motets fill the concourse through the afternoon, before Royal Northern Sinfonia and its chorus deliver Bruckner’s Mass No. 3, the ‘Great’ at 3pm. Dinis Sousa conducts with Elizabeth Watts, Hannah Hipp, Thomas Atkins and Mark Stone forming a captivating cohort of soloists. Bruckner was a devout religious man, but whether religious or not, audiences are set to experience some of the best life-affirming music written.

That same evening, Sage One plays host to Sir Mark Elder and The Hallé, faced with the immense task of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8. His last completed symphony and self-described as the ‘most significant movement of [his] life’, Bruckner is at his most dark, dramatic, and boundary-pushing.

Sunday morning offers audiences a more intimate and up-close experience with chamber music in Sage Two. The string principals of Royal Northern Sinfonia perform Bruckner’s String Quintet, the most popular of his chamber works. Despite the small scale of the work, it still has an abundance of the texture, colour, and energy of the symphonies.

After a final set of concourse Motets from Timothy Burke and the Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia on Sunday afternoon, Bruckner’s unfinished Symphony No. 9 draws the Big Bruckner Weekend to a close. Performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alpesh Chauhan, the final notes Bruckner ever wrote are imbued with spiritualism, emotion, and faith and are a fitting way to wrap up this festival of the composer’s epic and much-loved music.

Tickets for individual concerts are £20 each, while two-concert Saturday or Sunday day tickets are available for £35. For Bruckner fans looking to immerse themselves in this feast of his music, the five-concert weekend ticket for £65, saving a total of £35, ensures the opportunity to lose themselves in every single note of this wonderful festival.

The Glasshouse’s Bar 5 scheme is available for the festival, allowing 18-30 year olds to purchase a concert ticket and a drink for only £5. Those lucky enough to be in this age-bracket can therefore enjoy the whole weekend for only £25, making the Big Bruckner Weekend widely accessible.

Everyone from everywhere across the country is invited to come and witness some of the best musicians in the UK perform Bruckner’s epic music.

James Thomas, The Glasshouse’s Director of Classical Programming said: “Bruckner’s music is monumental. We wanted to stage an anniversary moment that captured the scale and scope of his music and we are delighted to be welcoming orchestras from around the UK to join with Royal Northern Sinfonia and our Chorus to bring both fans of his music and those perhaps new to it an incredible opportunity to explore his devout, colossal and moving music.”

Dinis Sousa, Principal Conductor of Royal Northern Sinfonia said: “Bruckner’s music has a thrilling, epic quality that both challenges and transports the musicians and the audiences.

“This weekend gives us all a chance to explore his music in some depth and I’m really looking forward to our performance of his Great Mass with our orchestra, chorus and a fantastic line-up of soloists.”

Tim Burke, Director of the Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia said: “This is a rare opportunity to hear the extraordinary Mass No. 3, which never does quite what you expect it to. It’s a fascinating snapshot of Bruckner still forging his identity as a composer, discovering the harmonies, textures and structures that would become hallmarks of his later work. It’s a monumental sing for the Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia, I’m very excited for us to get our teeth into it, and looking forward very much to performing his motets on the Concourse as part of the weekend – it will be wonderful to experience these very much in the context of the rest of Bruckner’s work.”

Chief conductor of Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Domingo Hindoyan said: “I am so looking forward to bringing the RLPO to the Sage’s Bruckner weekend. He is a composer I am devoted to, so to be part of this immersive weekend of his music is very exciting.”

David Butcher, Chief Executive of Hallé said: “As a regular visitor to the wonderful The Glasshouse, we are so pleased to be contributing to this inspirational weekend celebrating the music of Bruckner and marking his 200th anniversary. Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé are really excited to be performing Bruckner’s powerful Eighth Symphony on the Saturday evening as part what promises to be a captivating festival”

Tickets and more information can be found at https://theglasshouseicm.org/whats-on/big-bruckner-weekend/  Tickets are on sale now.