Sir Simon Rattle is set to make his debut at Wigmore Hall next season – at the piano. The British conductor will accompany Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená, his wife, in a song recital. It’s a rare outing at the piano in public for Rattle, although he may become more of a regular fixture on the London scene as he is tipped to take over from conductor Valery Gergiev at the helm of the London Symphony Orchestra. Joined by other instrumentalists, at the Wigmore Kozena and Rattle will perform music by Stravinsky, Janáček and Brahms (29 January 2016).
The recital is part of a five-concert series celebrating Kožená announced as part of Wigmore Hall’s 2015-16 season. Pianist Mitsuko Uchida will join her for a recital, while Kožená will also be taking Wigmore on tour for the first time with an appearance at Wilton Music Hall for a concert of 1920s and 1930s songs.
Other firsts include the introduction of streaming of Wigmore Hall concerts. The London venue also plans to offer thousands of £5 tickets to under-35s, and to make £15 tickets available to everyone. All of Schubert’s 600 plus songs will be heard across two seasons; starting in 2015, and performed in chronological order. Artists include Sarah Connolly, Florian Boesch, Christoph Prégardien and Miah Persson. Oxford Lieder Festival did a similar exploration of the complete songs last year, the first time it had been done in the UK. But this is the first time the Wigmore has programmed such a series.
Countertenor Iestyn Davies opens the 2015-16 season, giving a programme of Handel arias with The English Concert and Harry Bickett. Bartók is in the spotlight with an exploration of the Hungarian’s chamber music, while pianists Martha Argerich and Stephen Kovacevich will appear together in celebration of Kovacevich’s 75th birthday. Cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras is artist in residence for the season, while baritone Christian Gerhaher will be singer in residence.