London’s Wigmore Hall sold a total 200,000 tickets in 2013, marking its highest ever attendance figures, and a 60% increase from 2005 (when John Gilhooly took over the artistic director role). A statement from the hall pinpointed the increase in the number of recitals broadcast by Radio 3, the international reach of releases on the Wigmore Hall Live label and a new tv relay partnership with Sky Arts as having contributed to rising audiences.
Artist profiles, residencies and focus events will form significant programming strands in 2014/15. ‘Our season reflects a profound belief in music that can create a more abundant and profound experience of life for its performers and audience,’ said Mr Gilhooly. ‘We want to share this experience with the greatest possible number of people, to make deep and lasting connections with individuals from all walks of life and cultivate a community of listeners open to the enduring richness and integrity of the music made at Wigmore Hall. Our challenge is to reaffirm that the value of the arts lies primarily in the quality of depth, the intensity of vision, and the loyalty to the infinite possibilities of human imagination that their practice can yield. We believe that Wigmore Hall’s artistic programme for 2014/15 stands for values that clearly mean so much to so many.’
Clarinettist Martin Fröst is artist-in-residence, and the Takács Quartet are associate artists, while pianists Paul Lewis and Igor Levit will also have a number of concerts in the season. The hall’s commitment to the song repertoire remains strong, with Joyce DiDonato and Sir Antonio Pappano opening the season, and separate series dedicated to Florian Boesch and Carolyn Sampson, while Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake will be concluding their Schubert lieder project.
Spanning the next two seasons, ‘The Mozart Odyssey’ and ‘Henry Purcell: A Retrospective’ will be major programming threads, while contemporary music and period instrument performance also have a significant presence in 2014/15: two concerts from composer-in-residence Julian Anderson, a focus day on Wolfgang Rihm, and a number of ensemble concerts on the one hand; and appearances from The Cardinall’s Musick and The Sixteen among several early music concerts on the other.