Philharmonic – Autumn Season Highlights

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In the run up to 2008, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall can promise one of its most exciting and eclectic programmes to date. Rock, pop, folk, jazz and roots music plus comedy, dance and festivals (Hope Street Feast, Cains Liverpool Irish Festival and Fresh Festival) and unique collaborations combine to form a season which truly offers something to suit all tastes.

The Phil’s Open Day on 16 September, part of Hope Street Feast, helps to usher in the autumn season. The iconic street will be a hive of activity – the Phil (along with friends and neighbours along Hope Street) will throw open its doors to the public to provide a day full of events and fun – for free! Pop into the Phil to experience free music performances including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and local heroes Ian and Ian (whose true identity will be revealed 72 hours before the day!), behind the scenes tours, workshops, films and more. There will also be a Farmers’ Market on the street and events associated with the Liverpool Food Lovers’ Festival. – full programme the week before at

Simon Glinn, Executive Director of Philharmonic Hall & Events, said “In a season of great names there are two events that particularly stand out as they are not straightforward concerts but very special collaborations. The first of these is The Midnight Hop, a major new piece of music theatre by multi-award winning saxophonist and composer Soweto Kinch. Soweto is the biggest thing to happen to British jazz since Courtney Pine, and this work, which we have been able to co-commission with support from Liverpool Culture Company, will evoke the triumphs, traumas and tunes of England’s black musicians in the early 19th century. It’s an incredible project with Soweto’s band combining with a chamber orchestra from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with some superb singers, dancers and actors. Inspired by the Bicentenary of the Act of Abolition, this is a promises to be as jaw-droppingly exciting a performance of new work as we’ve seen here in recent times.”

“The second great collaboration is The Imagined Village in which producer Simon Emmerson, responsible for concepts such as the AfroCelt Soundsystem, turns his attention to an ambitious reinvention of the English Folk tradition for the 21st Century. The live project includes Billy Bragg and Eliza and Martin Carthy amongst the artists on stage, with audio-visual input from Benjamin Zephaniah and John Copper as part of a spectacular stage production this is another very special event.”

Cutting-edge male singers are in abundance at the Phil this autumn. September sees a gig from Richard Hawley, of Pulp and Longpigs fame. Hawley’s incredible 2006 album, Cole’s Corner, was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Cult Canadian/American singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright (sold out) plays his magical, bittersweet songs at the hall in October. Also in October comes an eagerly-awaited gig from Amp Fiddler. This ultra-cool singer’s debut and latest albums both received rave reviews – the truly unique tapestry of sounds that Amp Fiddler creates – a blend of funk, soul, jazz and pure electronica, is really something special.

Other renowned male pop and rock performers appearing at the Phil this season include pioneering British guitarists Joe Brown and Dave Edmunds playing alongside each other in September. Savage Garden’s Darren Hayes, the legendary Don McLean, and Paul Carrack – the voice behind Ace’s How Long, Squeeze’s Tempted and Mike & The Mechanics’ The Living Years, all pay a visit in October. Two September gigs from Ireland’s most popular ‘easy on the ear’ entertainer, Daniel O’Donnell, have already sold out!

Latin fever takes over the Phil in October, with two tango shows representing different subgenres of this passionate music and dance style. Tango Fire brings explosive Argentinian ensemble Estampas Portenas with their virtuoso display of dazzling dance and passionate music from the beating heart of Buenos Aires, while Bajofondo Tango Club is a twenty-first century tango project led by the double Oscar winning composer of the Babel and Brokeback Mountain scores. This tango influenced electronica features young virtuoso musicians, stunning visuals and extraordinary beats, think of them like a Latin Sigur Ros, or the authentic Argentinian version of Gotan Project.

There are also several opportunities to re-live musical eras gone by this season – sweet 70s soul band The Stylistics and The Musical Box, providers of the best and most intricate theatrical re-creations of Peter Gabriel era genesis return, this time The Musical Box present the spectacular Black Show from 1974. It’s over 20 years since The Proclaimers made their legendary TV debut on The Tube, performing Letter from America, and the band is more successful than ever. They play the Phil in November. Also in November, Liverpool’s own The Real Thing will perform their raft of soulful disco hits. In December you can hark back to the sights and sounds of a 60s Christmas with The Bootleg Beatles – the world’s premier Beatles band, and Squeeze also perform their classic hits at the Phil in the run up to the festive season.

As always, the Phil can boast a varied jazz and roots programme, starting with Third World on Sunday 7 October. This Jamaican reggae band’s pop sound is radio friendly gold, as hits such as Now That We’ve Found Love prove. October also brings Fairport Convention’s Richard Thompson with his band, and the acclaimed singer/songwriter John Prine who lists everything from acoustic folk to rockabilly to straight country under his influences. In an early show he even inspired Bob Dylan to get up and accompany him on harmonica! Elsewhere, Liverpool Favourite Charlie Landsborough brings his melodic sound to the Phil, both in November.

Pink Martini, a 12-piece ensemble from Portland, Oregon, have a reputation for quality musicianship and their ability to elegantly tackle worldwide musical styles. Expect an urban musical travelogue, in November! The Jan Garbarek group makes a welcome return to the Phil, also in November, and The Saw Doctors, a folk rock band who hold the record for Ireland’s highest-selling single ever with I Useta Lover, also feature.

Cains Liverpool Irish Festival returns to Philharmonic Hall this October with several events. This festival continues to grow every year and the Phil continues to play a major part in the celebrations. The Dubliners, one of Ireland’s most popular folk acts, always go down well in Liverpool, and this years’ festival show is sure to be no exception to the rule. Incredible singer Brian Kennedy also appears and Moya Brennan, the voice of Clannad, will perform with the strings of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Capercaillie, the most famous Scottish folk band, who mould their Gaelic heritage into a fresh new sound, singer/songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan and a gig at St. George’s Hall Concert Room from gifted fiddle player Nollaig Casey and Arty McGlynn, Ireland’s finest and most sought after guitar player, complete this stellar line-up of Irish music.

The popular After 8 series, a programme of intimate jazz and roots gigs in the Phil’s Rodewald Suite, is back for another season, again bringing the best in traditional and contemporary music in a relaxed setting. This season’s programme features bass player Stevie Williams, Threeway featuring bass guitarist Ben Crossland, Tom Arthurs on trumpet and Steve Lodder on piano, John Helliwell of Supertramp and his quartet, guitarist Bob Brozman, female bluegrass band Uncle Earl, slide player Johnny Dickinson, pianist and composer Gwilym Simcock and young folk guitarist and songwriter John Smith.

Classic Films old and new, shown on the World’s only working Walturdaw cinema screen accompanied by Dave Nicholas, Merseyside’s only resident organist and an institution in his own right, are another important part of the programme. Films showing this autumn include The Painted Veil and Forbidden Planet.

Comedy is provided by ever-popular Billy Connolly in September (sold out), Ken Dodd’s annual festive two night-stand in December and Paul Merton’s Silent Clowns, also in December, which will see Merton introducing the very best silent comedians in some of their funniest films.

Children will be entertained by a screening of The Simpsons Movie in December, and a screening of classic childrens’ film Peter and the Wolf with a live soundtrack played by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra – also in December.

Look ahead to the New Year, and 2008 starts off on a high note at the Phil, with Fresh Festival – a unique four day event featuring performances by internationally acclaimed artists working in one of music’s must exciting movements – modern improvisation. In one world premier show, The Bays will lay down and improvised drum and bass line inspiring three composers – Chris Bowden, John Metcalf and Max Richter to write parts, live for The Heritage Orchestra. Using a network of laptops and touch screens, conductor Jules Buckley will then direct the Orchestra to play this improvised new work! Fusion pioneer and seven-time Grammy award-winner Wayne Shorter will also perform as part of the festival, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Vasily Petrenko’s second season as Principal Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra begins this autumn. The opening concert of the orchestra’s season will also be broadcast live in the virtual world of SecondLife – the RLPO are the first professional orchestra in the world to do this.

Tickets available from Philharmonic Hall Box Office on 0151 709 3789 or book online at