Ode to Themes!

Explore the Heart of the Classical Weekend Through Three Broad Themes

The Classical Weekend festival has three broad themes that are celebrated through dynamic programming and fabulous music-making across the city. This blog will get you closer to the heart of the Classical Weekend, and how you can get involved in the festival.

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Women in Music

The opening day of the Classical Weekend – Friday 8th March – falls on International Women’s Day 2019. So what better way to celebrate women in classical music by programming, commissioning, and supporting those in the industry!

We’re thrilled to be welcoming performers, composers, writers of all ages and genders to participate in the Classical Weekend. We’re also looking forward to experiencing concerts where seldom-heard works by women will be performed. My top four events that encompass this theme are:

Who Runs the World? (Friday 8th March | DINA)

Join Sheffield-based composer Ellen Sargen, the Ligeti Quartet, Soprano Ella Taylor and bass-clarinettist Sarah Watts, as they lead in discussion and making new music. Celebrate pioneering contemporary music by women composers on International Women’s Day!

Women of Steel (Saturday 9th March | Kelham Island Museum)

Sheffield City Opera are proud to present this new production based on true stories from women who worked in the city’s munition factories during World War II. These powerful stories will have you hooked from start to finish, whilst you soak up the incredible atmosphere of Kelham Island’s Industrial Museum space.

Outstanding: Three Quartets (Sunday 10th | Firth Hall)

Join Ensemble 360 as they take you on a riveting journey through three brilliant quartets composed by women over three centuries. You’ll have the opportunity to experience the exuberant music of Fanny Mendelssohn, Amy Beach, and Helen Grime.

Dreams and Visions: The Australian Landscape (Sunday 10th | Firth Hall)

Join pianist Peter Fagerlind, as he performs piano music composed by Australian women composers. He will be accompanied by stunning film footage, making this event truly exciting!


Future Makers

This theme celebrates composers and young musicians who are paving the way towards the future of music. We’re proud to collaborate and support the fantastic work that the Sheffield Music Hub, Sheffield Music Academy, Music in the Round, and The University of Sheffield Concerts do around the city and beyond. Celebrate our future makers through events such as:

A New Song (Saturday 9th March | Upper Chapel)

A fantastic chance to hear some new music composed by students from schools across the city for their GCSE and A-level courses. Join Sheffield Chamber Choir as they take us on an exciting musical journey through Sheffield’s emerging musical talent.

Sheffield Sings! (Saturday 9th March | Upper Chapel)

Sheffield Young Singers are joining forces with the passionate Sheffield Singers to sing through a new composition by Kate Thickett plus much more!

Mighty Brahms (Sunday 10th March | Sheffield City Hall)

The talented students from Sheffield Music Academy are joining forces with The Hallé plus soloist David Ning, to perform the first movement of Grieg’s Piano Concerto, as well as Brahms’ thrilling First Symphony.

Sounds of Heaven (Sunday 10th March | Sheffield Cathedral)

Classical Sheffield is proud to have commissioned rising star Timothy Peters to compose a piece for a collection of the best chamber choirs in Sheffield. This exciting premiere will be set in the atmospheric space of Sheffield Cathedral.


Beyond Borders

Celebrate collaboration, fusion, different art forms and world cultures through our ‘beyond borders’ theme. There are concerts, workshops, and hands-on events to get involved with across the weekend that explore music from a variety of cultures.

Kadialy and the Kora (Friday 8th March | DINA)

When music meets storytelling! Join world-class Kora player and story-teller, Kadialy, as he takes us all on a fascinating journey of art, music, and stories! He will be performing on the Kora, which is a harp-like instrument, in the fantastic alternative venue, DINA.

Feedback Loops: Art and Music (Saturday 9th March | Graves Art Gallery)

Every wondered what relationship music and visual art has? Join Dr Tim Shepard, Jack McNeill (clarinet) and the Gildas Quartet, as they take inspiration from art in the Graves Gallery to create new music.

Try the Tabla (Sunday 10th March | Firth Hall)

If you want to get up close and personal then book onto this exciting workshop courtesy of our friends over at Music in the Round. This event will be led by Kuljit Bhamra in Firth Hall. No experience necessary!

Global Soundtracks (Sunday 10th March | Sheffield City Hall)

Experience breathtaking Ethiopian songs courtesy of vocalist and Krar player, Haymanot Tesfa and percussionist Arian Sadr. This experimental event is based on improvisation and communication, so don’t miss out!

©Alex Burns 2019

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