ESO Touring: ESO Signature Series

Unique, distinctive and cutting edge programmes, beautifully curated and presented using today’s most engaging stagecraft.


A String Pilgrimage

Tippett Concerto for Double String Orchestra
John McCabe “Pilgrim” for Double String Orchestra
Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis
Elgar Introduction and Allegro for Strings
ESO String Quartet

A survey of the best of English string orchestra music. “Pilgrim” by ESO composer-in-association John McCabe is a powerful evocation of John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.” McCabe’s predecessor as ESO composer-in-association was Sir Michael Tippett, whose vibrant and witty Concerto opens the concert. Few works have won the kind of place in listeners’ hearts held by Vaughan Williams’ haunting Fantasia, a work the ESO has recorded to international acclaim. Finally, what better finale could there be for a concert in Elgar Hall than one of the master’s own finest works. It promises to be a memorable evening.


Wall of Water

Kaija Saariaho- Terra memoria
With photography by John Yang
Emily Dootlittle- “falling still” for Violin and Strings
With computational animation by Neil Banas
Deborah Pritchard- Violin Concerto “Wall of Water” (ESO Commission)
With oil paintings by Maggi Hambling
Harriet Mackenzie- violin

A one-hour concert of stunning, communicative and evocative works by leading composers of our day carefully paired with compelling projections of visual imagery from three distinctive mediums, one ancient, one modern and one of the future.

— “With  a tight structure, beguiling harmonies and a fantastical atmosphere, this concerto reveals Pritchard to have an innate talent for pacing and drama….” BachTrack



Life is Beautiful- Shostakovich in the Hour of Love and Death

city_pict5aShostakovich arr. Barshai- Chamber Symphony opus 110a
Shostakovich- Symphony no. 14.
April Frederick- soprano, Matthew Sharp- bass-baritone
Far more than a concert- this immersive evening of music making presents a radical staging of Shostakovich’s ultimate masterpiece, his harrowing Fourteenth Symphony. Frederick and Sharp are the compelling protagonists, bringing this astonishing music to life through movement and gesture as well as singing. The production includes projections of photographs by Saint Petersburg- born Alexey Titarenko, whose own visual language was shaped by Shostakovich’s late music, and documentary footage curated by renowned Shostakovich scholar and film-maker, Helga Laundaur.