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Open Rehearsal in London: James Ehnes plays Tchaikovsky

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Paavo Järvi – conductor
James Ehnes – violin


Debussy Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune Listen

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto Listen

— Interval —

Prokofiev Symphony No. 6 Listen

Tchaikovsky wrote his captivating Violin Concerto on holiday by Lake Geneva with the young student he hoped would premiere it. Tonight Tchaikovsky’s heartfelt outpouring of melody is in the hands of outstanding soloist James Ehnes. In the words of The Guardian’s reviewer, Ehnes’s last performance with the Philharmonia “achieved a level of perfection… that puts him in a class of his own”.

Conductor Paavo Järvi, a longstanding favourite with our musicians and audiences alike, pairs the Tchaikovksy with Prokofiev’s Sixth Symphony, composed in 1947. Prokofiev told a friend that the symphony was his response to the devastation caused by World War II: ‘Now we are rejoicing in our great victory, but each of us has wounds that cannot be healed’. The dark emotions of the first two movements are swept away, though, by a cheerful finale that brings to mind Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, full of dancing string melodies, whistling woodwind and bold timpani.

To open, Järvi has chosen Debussy’s lush and sensual evocation of a faun enjoying a sun-dappled afternoon. Its dreamy, improvisatory flute melodies transport us to a world of fantasy and pleasure.

This concert was originally advertised with Daniil Trifonov playing Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Due to unavoidable visa processing delays, Daniil Trifonov is unable to appear, and we are very grateful to James Ehnes for stepping in. Daniil Trifonov joins us for Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 on Thursday 2 May 2024 – tickets are on sale now.

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Running time

Approximately 3 hrs

Recommended age

From 7+

Programme notes

Digital programme notes available closer to the rehearsal.

Contact the Friends team

Phone: 020 7921 3906

Concerto and Symphony Friends

Concerto Friends and above can claim their complimentary pair of Open Rehearsal tickets by emailing


Open Rehearsals are not performances. Playing may be paused at various intervals in order for the conductor, soloist and orchestra to agree on specific styles and dynamics.

Open Rehearsals are working processes for the conductor and the Orchestra. Times and repertoire being rehearsed will be confirmed prior to the rehearsal date, as these schedules are subject to change. Please check our website for up-to-date information.


Royal Festival Hall

Royal Festival Hall

Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road

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