Ryan Bancroft – conductor
Stephen Hough – piano


Sibelius The Swan of Tuonela Listen

Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3 Listen

— Interval —

Nielsen Symphony No. 4, 'Inextinguishable' Listen

Sir Stephen Hough plays Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, ahead of Nielsen’s glorious evocation of “the spirit of life”.

According to Stephen Hough, music is “not just the icing on the cake. It’s the cake itself. It’s human life.” Hough was knighted in 2022 for Services to Music. He’s a thoughtful musician, and a gifted communicator – qualities well suited to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Its deeply-felt slow movement is among Beethoven’s most moving creations.

Human life is the subject matter for Danish composer Carl Nielsen too. In his own programme note for his Fourth Symphony, premiered in 1916, he explains that it deals with nothing less than “the elemental will to live”. His music is full of life-affirming energy – not least the hair-raising timpani battle in the final movement. In The Guardian’s 50 Greatest Symphonies series, Tom Service writes: “A performance of the Inextinguishable should leave you battered yet uplifted, dazed but thrilled.”

Need to know

Prices & Discounts

£15 – £70

Multi-buy offer available; under-18s and concessions discounts available; discounted tickets for students via Student Pulse (limited availability)

Running time:

1 hr 45 mins, including a 20 minute interval

Recommended age

From 7+

Programme notes

Free printed programmes will be available at the venue. Digital programme notes available here.

Box office

Philharmonia Box Office: 0800 652 6717
Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm

Before the event


Royal Festival Hall

Royal Festival Hall

Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road

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