Aleksandar Markovic, new music director for Opera North, says he’s had a warm Yorkshire welcome and is looking forward to conducting the 2016/17 season of classical music concerts at Kirklees town halls
Local Government austerity threatened the very future of the concerts, but the 2016/17 season is to open on September 22 under the baton of the new music director of Opera North, Aleksandar Markovic.
The programme ahead promises a sparkling collection of musical gems, with concerts for all audiences and tastes, from James Bond fans and jazz buffs to opera lovers and families with young children. There’s music from a vast array of composers – Berlioz to Vivaldi and Bach to Strauss – with a Christmas concert and the ever-popular Viennese Whirl concert in late December.
No-one is looking forward to the start of the 14th season in collaboration with the Orchestra of Opera North more than Aleksandar, who comes to his new base in Leeds from Vienna, where he has lived for many years.
He has visited and admired the two Kirklees town halls and says he already feels at home in West Yorkshire. “People are very sweet and welcoming, very friendly,” he added. “They smile and are very positive. At Opera North we are like a big family. Everyone has an excellent working ethos and there is a sense that everybody wants to do their job the best way they can.”
Aleksandar, who is Serbian born but has worked all over the world, believes the new season offers an exciting mix for audiences. He said: “We try to search for interesting pieces that work together, to offer novelty as well as pieces people like. We want to have some originality and not always be playing the same things.”
And so the opening concert has ethereal music by one of his favourite composers, Russian-born Scriabin. But he will return as conductor for the Viennese Whirl because he’s also a huge fan of Strauss and his evergreen waltzes.
Details of the concert season, which also includes lunchtime organ recitals with Kirklees Borough Organist Dr Gordon Stewart, can be found at www.kirkleestownhalls.co.uk
Highlights from the orchestral programme ahead include:
Huddersfield Town Hall
September 22 – Fantastic Dreams and Visions, a concert of Scriabin’s Nuances and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, with a performance of Rachmaninov’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini.
October 23 – CBeebies presenter Pui Fan Lee in How It Works, an exploration of the orchestra for younger audiences with music from Beethoven and Stravinsky.
December 13 – The Snowman and Other Tales takes Raymond Briggs’ now-classic cartoon and brings it to life with the Orchestra of Opera North, alongside a screening of the film.
December 29 – Viennese Whirl is the annual celebration of Strauss waltzes and always one of the most popular concerts in the season.
January 26, 2017 – Shaken and Stirred: The Music of James Bond has excerpts from all 24 films in the series from Dr No to Spectre.
Dewsbury Town Hall
December 15 – Opera North Christmas Concert has a seasonal programme of Bach, Vivaldi and Puccini and gives the audience the chance to singalong with favourite carols.