Wigmore Hall announces exciting plans for 2020/21 season

29 January 2020
By Ellie Palmer
Director John Gilhooly has announced details of the new season, including a celebration of the Hall’s 120th birthday in June 2021

Wigmore Hall has announced the details of its 2020/21 season, with a host of big piano names set to perform on the world-famous stage over the next two years.

2021 marks the 120th birthday of Wigmore Hall, and Pianist 104 cover star Mitsuko Uchida is set to perform at the celebration. This will be her first solo recital at the hall since 2001.

Mitsuko Uchida. © Decca Justin Pumfrey

The season will have a special focus on the work of Felix Mendelssohn, which will include string quartets, selected choral music and a Mendelssohn and Liszt song series. Julius Drake has been announced as one who will lead the way in terms of showcasing Mendelssohn’s piano music.

A pillar of the season will be formed by artists who have established their reputations within the past 10 years, not least through regular appearances at Wigmore Hall. One of these is Pianist 112 cover star Igor Levit, who will mark Beethoven’s 250th birthday (which falls in December 2020) with a complete cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, running from September 2020 to July 2021.

This will not be Levit’s first Beethoven cycle at Wigmore Hall – he undertook the mighty challenge previously in the 2016/17 Season – but he now returns once again at Director John Gilhooly’s invitation, to perform the cycle twice in 20/21 across a total of 16 concerts, coinciding with the release of his complete Beethoven sonata recordings on Sony.

Igor Levit © Robbie Lawrence 

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Levit is also due to give a performance of Morton Feldman’s (1926-1987) Triadic Memories. According to The New Yorker, Feldman ‘opened up vast, quiet, agonizingly beautiful worlds of sound.’

Among the young artists appearing in 2020/21, one who already looks set to become close to Wigmore Hall is the American pianist Andrew Tyson – his June 2019 recital at the Hall led The Sunday Times to name him one of its ‘most exciting rising stars’, He’s certainly one to look out for.


Further highlights

  • Sir András Schiff interleaves Beethoven’s piano sonatas with works by Bach; Cédric Tiberghien continues his two-season survey of Beethoven keyboard variations; Renaud Capuçon, Gautier Capuçon and Frank Braley survey selected Beethoven piano trios.
  • Stephen Kovacevich celebrates his 80th birthday concert with a programme of Beethoven and Mozart in the company of Martha Argerich, Tamsin Waley-Cohen and members of the Belcea Quartet.
  • Leonidas Kavakos gives a recital in partnership with Yuja Wang.
  • The partnership of Gautier Capuçon and Daniil Trifonov, already heard at such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Verbier Festival, comes to London.
  • Piano trios in recital across the season include Trio Isimsiz, Leonore Piano Trio, Amatis Trio, Trio Gaspard, Schnyder Trio, Trio Wanderer, Z.E.N. Trio, Busch Trio, Aquinas Piano Trio and Sitkovetsky Trio.
  • Jean-Efflam Bavouzet launches a Debussy project which will run for three seasons, while Francesco Piemontesi continues his Schubert sonata cycle and Cédric Tiberghien completes his series of Beethoven Variations.
  • Steven Osborne has been invited to Wigmore Hall for the celebration of his 50th birthday, and among other leading recitalists are Daniil Trifonov, Andrew Tyson, Tim Horton, Leon McCawley, Mariam Batsashvili and Seong-Jin Cho.
  • Christian Zacharias gives a farewell recital.
  • While Igor Levit’s Beethoven sonata cycle runs through almost the entire season, Llŷr Williams undertakes a cycle of the Schubert sonatas, and there are residencies from Jeremy Denk (including a recital segment that alternates mazurkas by Chopin and Thomas Adès), Beatrice Rana, Bertrand Chamayou and Pavel Kolesnikov.

John Gilhooly at Wigmore Hall © Kaupo Kikkas

Director John Gilhooly says, "It has been a huge personal honour and joy for me to put together Wigmore Hall’s 120th season, and to further expand our learning, digital and outreach activities. I believe that music can speak to us at every stage of life, and that it accompanies us right through life. This is the guiding principle for what we do here. We look beyond boundaries and genres, and we celebrate the life-enhancing power of great music-making, up close."

The season will bring a total of some 1,000 concerts and events.

Main image: © Wigmore Hall