With all this talk of venues closing, it’s worth remembering, there’s never been a better time to soak up some seriously fresh and challenging new music than by heading to the top of the town. The Philharmonic’s resurgence continues apace, with another booking at this year’s BBC Proms, and more awards and critically approved recordings under Vasily Petrenko’s hard-working baton. We’re off to a pastoral Beethoven tonight, but, as last night’s Season launch showed – there is much more fire in the belly to come. This year, the machinations of Stravinsky and the itinerant Ballets Russes crew (think Diversity meets Nijinksy) are under Petrenko’s spell. They’re bringing out the big guns for Mahler and Shostakovich, presenting two major new concertos, and exercising the excellent choir with works from Orff and Rossini.

There’ll be concerts to mark Wagner’s 200th anniversary and the Britten Centenary to add a little patriotism to the Jubliee year. But we’re most excited about the fact that the sizzling ensemble has been successful in securing £634,000 from Arts Council England (ACE) in 2012, the first step towards a major refurbishment of Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

Have a listen to his master’s voice here, as Vasily gets us all excited about the season that we’re about to enjoy. “Every single concert is a happening,” he says. If you’re lucky enough to have been, you’ll know what he’s talking about. If not, make this your season to step out of your comfort zone. There’s more to orchestral music than Sigur Ros’s new CD you know:

The most essential music season in the UK? You’d be hard pressed to find a more exciting programme than this. Now excuse us while we bang out a celebratory blast of the Rites of Spring.

For a full line-up, visit the Phil’s website

Hope Street,

Pic: Mark McNulty

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