BRADFORD’S 154th Orchestral Season at St George’s Hall opens on Saturday 8th October with the Brno Philharmonic, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies. Chloë Hanslip is the soloist in Korngold’s ravishing Violin Concerto and the evening ends with Dvorak’s Symphony No 9 in E minor ‘from the new world’.

The Belgian National Orchestra’s programme on Thursday 10th November is conducted by Roberto González-Monjas. His programme includes Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 in B Flat with the renowned Paul Lewis, and Saint-Saëns’ spectacular Organ Symphony No 3 in C minor.

The Hallé’s concert on Tuesday 22nd November features a programme of popular Winter Classics conducted by Stephen Bell. Sunday 8th January again finds Bell on the conductor’s podium for the Hallé’s much loved Viennese New Year Celebration Concert. Hallé music director, Sir Mark Elder, returns on Friday 3rd March to conduct his orchestra in Huw Watkins’ Second Symphony. Grammy award winning violinist Augustin Hadelich will be the soloist in Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D.

On Saturday 29th April, the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra makes its St George’s Hall debut with Bradford Festival Choral Society in Mozart’s Requiem. The final concert, on Friday 19th May, is given by the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Olari Elts. Star pianist Freddy Kempf will take centre stage in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor.

The Orchestra of Opera North and Kirklees Council meanwhile have announced a typically adventurous orchestral season at Huddersfield and Dewsbury Town Halls. Audiences can experience several world premieres, a transatlantic programme of symphonic jazz and the Opera North Orchestra’s perennially popular ‘Viennese Whirl’. The last time that Leeds Town Hall audiences whirled into the New Year in Opera North Viennese style was on 31st December 2019.

Ilkley Gazette: Leeds Town Hall which has been closed for refurbishment since November 2021Leeds Town Hall which has been closed for refurbishment since November 2021

Nobody could have foreseen the devastation wrought by Covid lockdowns; but the two-year-long refurbishment of Leeds Town Hall has been in the pipeline for a decade or more. Surprisingly, the imperative for an alternative venue for at least a proportion of Leeds Town Hall’s fifty orchestral and choral concerts does not appear to have been factored in.

Twelve months ago, the 1500 capacity Grand Theatre, the magnificent domed Corn Exchange, and Morley’s ornate Town Hall were suggested as alternative orchestral concert venues. Chamber music and organ recitals, however imaginatively programmed, will not nourish or nurture the starved orchestral subscription audience until the renovated Leeds Town Hall reopens in 2024.