Thursday 15 Nov 2018, 7.30pmRoyal Festival Hall, London

Philharmonia Box Office : 020 7921 3907

John Wilson conductor

Louis Schwizgebel piano

Richard Rodney Bennett Celebration

Gershwin Piano Concerto


Walton Symphony No. 1

John Wilson conducts the Philharmonia in a jazz-infused transatlantic journey.   

"When I'm in my normal mood, music drips from my fingers," said George Gershwin. He saw no reason to separate that music into boxes labelled ‘classical’ or ‘jazz’, and his Piano Concerto is a masterful fusion of these two musical languages. The lively syncopations of Charleston open the first movement, while the second features a languorous, bluesy trumpet solo accompanied by three clarinets. Gershwin described the third movement as ‘an orgy of rhythms’. Its catchy energy belies the virtuosity it demands of every member of the orchestra, not just the soloist.

After a quintessentially American concerto comes one of the most enduringly popular British symphonies. William Walton’s First Symphony is a work of great power, conjuring up vast landscapes tinged with the dark undercurrents of the interwar years. A critic for the News Chronicle described the reception of the work’s premiere: "The applause at the close was overwhelming, and when Mr Walton, a slim, shy young man, came onto the platform he was cheered continuously for five minutes."

John Wilson, a champion of British and American music ranging from Broadway songs and Hollywood soundtracks to the symphonic repertoire , and Louis Schwizgebel, a young pianist of "considerable virtuosity" (Bachtrack), are the perfect advocates for this vivid programme.



  • Prices: £58 (premium); £45; £36; £28; £19; £12
  • Discounts: Subscription discounts available; under-18s and concessions discounts available; £8 tickets for students via Student Pulse one month before the concert (limited availability)
  • Running time: 120 minutes, including 20-minute interval
  • Before the concert: FREE Music of Today concert, 6pm, Purcell Room

This concert is part of the Piano Masterworks series