Preview of 2020

Whilst 2020 is likely to be dominated by Beethoven’s 250th, there are also several living composers who have significant birthdays in 2020. These include the 95th of Mikis Theodorakis (29th July), the 90th of Dieter Schnebel (14th March), Harald Banter (16th March) and Jean Guillou (18th April), the 80th of Alvin Singleton (28th December) and, most significantly in a British context, the 60th of Mark-Anthony Turnage. 

His birthday will be marked by premieres, including of a new Horn Concerto in January and a new collection of songs for jazz singer Ian Shaw and Psappha in April; a birthday concert at Wigmore Hall in March; masterclasses and featured composer billing in a number of summer festivals. 

There are, as always, any number of other premieres and festivals to look forward to. Here, then, is a small taste of what is to come…


13th Tansy Davies/Nick Drake, Cave (Online Concert). London Sinfonietta. Philharmonia Orchestra, Richard Watkins. Southbank Centre, London.

16th Mark-Anthony Turnage, Horn Concerto (Towards Alba) (world premiere). 

19th–4th February Peter Androsch, Die Schule oder Das Alphabet der Welt (world premiere run). Landestheater Linz, Austria. 

28th Composition:Wales Open Workshop. The latest in composition in Wales, as composers worthy of wider exposure have the opportunity to hear their works performed by the BBNOW. Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff.

29th Dimitrios Skyllas Kyrie Eleison (world premiere). BBCSO, Barbican, London.


7th–16th Festival Présences, including a portrait of George Benjamin.

17th Max Richter, Voices (world premiere). Barbican, London.

22nd BBC SO Total Immersion: Anders Hillborg. Barbican, London.

24th Lliam Paterson, The Angel Esmeralda, Scottish Opera, Silk Street Theatre, London.

27th James Hoyle Thymiaterion (world premiere). LSO, Barbican.

27th–27th March Philip Venables Denis and Katya. Performances in Newport, London, Mold, Aberystwyth and Cardiff.

Also in March (dates to be announced):

Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival, Plymouth, UK.


19th Nico Muhly, Drawn Lines (world premiere). Sadler’s Wells, London

22nd Sound Across a Century 1: Impressionism to Spectralism. London Sinfonietta, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. 

24th Mark-Anthony Turnage, 60th Birthday Concert including Owl Songs (world premiere). Wigmore Hall, London.

26th–16th April Fabio Vacchi, Madina (ballet, world premiere run). Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Italy.

27th Richard Baker, New Work. BBCSO, Barbican, London.

Also in March (dates to be announced)

Zeit für Neue Musik Festival


4th–19th Aix en Provence Easter Festival.

11th Marko Nikodijević, 7 Deaths of Maria Callas (world premiere). Bavarian State Opera. Munich, Germany.

25th–15th May Georg Friedrich Haas, Sym-phonie (world premiere run). Staatsballett Berlin, Berlin Germany.

26th Turning Points, a concert featuring works by Tory Takemitsu and others. London Sinfonietta, Kings Place, London. 

30th Mark-Anthony Turnage, Black Milk (world premiere). Psappha, Ian Shaw, Hallé St Peter’s, Manchester

30th–2nd May Jonathan Dove, The Day After. A revival of the chamber opera premiered in 2017. ENO, London.


7th Karl Jenkins, Stravaganza (World Premiere). BBNOW, St. David’s Hall, Cardiff.

8th–24th Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

15th–24th Bath Festival.

15th–22nd Vale of Glamorgan Festival.

20th–23rd Judith Weir, Blond Eckbert. A revival of the opera. ENO, London. 

20–3rd June Bergen International Festival.

22nd–31st St. Davids Cathedral Festival.

24th–19th June Stefan Wirth, Girl with a Pearl Earring (world premiere run). Zurich Opera, Switzerland. 

30th–25th June Michael Obst, Unter dem Gletscher (world premiere run). Landestheater Linz, Linz, Austria.

Also in May (details tbc)

The Festival of English Music.

Prague Spring International Music Festival (though not clear that this is taking place this year) 


1st Philippe Brault, Better Ask for Forgiveness But Then, We’ll Disappear (I’d Prefer Not To) (world premiere). Norwegian National Company of Contemporary Dance, Studio Bergen, Norway.

3rd–24th Torsten Rasch, The Other Wife (world premiere). Dresden State Opera, Dresden, Germany.

12th–28th Aldeburgh Music Festival

20th Joby Talbot, Everest. BBCSO, Barbican, London.

21st–27th St. Magnus International Festival.

Also in June (details tbc):

Spitalfields Music Festival

Gregynog Festival


3rd–19th Buxton Festival. A marriage of opera, books and music, including some by contemporary composers. Buxton, Derbyshire.

4th–30th August Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.

14th–29th Schlern International Music Festival.

17th Matt Rogers, She Described it to Death. Royal Ballet, Linbury Theatre, London.

17th-12th September BBC Proms. Programme not currently available, but there will be premières aplenty.

17th–30th August Salzburg Festival.

19th–23rd Matt Rogers She Described It to Death (world premiere run). Royal Opera, London.

30th–11th July Soundscape. Maccagno, Italian Alps.

Other July festivals (dates tbc):

Tête à Tête Opera Festival. Described as ‘our most imaginative opera laboratory’, the festival focuses entirely on new music. 

‘Aix en Provence Festival. ‘Aix en Provence, France. 


7th–31st Edinburgh International Festival. Programme not yet available, but there is usually a good selection of new music.

10th–22nd High Score Festival. Contemporary music festival and classes. Pavia, Italy.

27th–1st September Presteigne Festival. Artistic innovation, musical discovery and, of course, new works in the Welsh Marches. Presteigne, Powys. 


4th–27th Beethovenfest, Bonn.

Also in September (dates tbc):

Oslo Contemporary Music Festival.


Also in October (dates tbc):

Wien Modern. Festival that focuses on contemporary music. Vienna, Austria.

Sound. North East Scotland’s Festival of New Music. Various venues.

Festival 20/21 and Transit. Leuven, Belgium. 


20th–29th Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival


Spitalfields Winter Festival. (date tbc)

Originally posted at Composition:Today ©Red Balloon Technology