The Philharmonia Orchestra has unveiled details of its Summer programme of online concerts.

(c) Marina Vidor.

The Philharmonia Orchestra has announced The Philharmonia Sessions – a summer programme of three world class free digital concerts, broadcast on YouTube and conceived and created especially for an online audience.

With live music still being impossible due to Covid-19, the orchestra have announced details of three special concerts, each 50 minutes long – performed and recorded in accordance with social distancing rules.

The first concert that will be broadcast on Friday 17th July at 7pm will see cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason join the Orchestra to perform Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1, in a programme that also includes Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, both conducted by John Wilson.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason MBE, became a household name worldwide in May 2018 after performing at the wedding of TRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. He was the winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician competition and in January 2018 he released his debut recording for Decca classics, Inspiration. In June 2018, he received the Male Artist of the Year and the Critics’ Choice Awards at the Classic BRIT Awards, while in July 2018 became the first artist to receive the new BRIT Certified Breakthrough Award.

Performed with a chamber-size orchestra, The Philharmonia Sessions will be filmed several days in advance of their broadcast and will be presented alongside documentary material about the process of creating socially distanced performances in the unique current circumstances. The full programme will be announced in due course. All three of the concerts will be viewable on the Philharmonia’s YouTube channel. During the broadcasts, the Orchestra will ask those that can to make a donation.

Michael Fuller, Interim Managing Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra, said: We are delighted to be presenting the first Philharmonia performances since we last stood together on stage at our Southbank Centre home, on Sunday 15th March 2020. As has been the case for the entire performing arts sector, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought extraordinary artistic, financial and organisational challenges, but we have been determined to move as quickly as possible to getting the orchestra playing again, and to return to serving our audiences.”

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