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Don't be afraid, classical music is not for the elite. Here's our guide to this season's best shows in town

The BBC Proms

’The World’s Greatest Classical Music Festival’, the organisers claim, and it is hard to disagree. There’s world music, jazz, late night poetry, choral music, opera and selected concerts covering Ravel, Beethoven and more for classical music newbies. Then there’s the Last Night, where the Royal Albert Hall sings for England.

Various prices |July 13-Sept 8
Royal Albert Hall, SW7 2AP
Cadogan Hall, SW1X 9DQ
Royal College of Music, SW7 2BS 
Tube | High Street Ken, Sloane Square; High Street Ken


Universe of Sound: The Planets

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra’s performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets, as iconic a slice of classical music as there is. The difference here is that it’s not conducted live before you, but has been pre-performed, and subject to all manner of wacky, immersive tech-tastic innovation that literally takes you inside the music (a trombone-mounted camera for one). With visual displays, touch screens, projections and more, you can observe or participate (as conductor or musician) in this virtual orchestra installation (below).

Free | Until July 8
Science Museum, Kensington, SW7 2DD
Tube | South Kensington


The Dance We Made

Dance artist Tim Casson will be at various locations across London to lead a open-to-the-public workshop in which you create a new piece of dance, which will be performed, filmed and broadcast online. No experience is needed and you can come along and watch, or roll up your sleeves and get stuck in and be a part of this participatory project.

Free | Until July 17
Various locations


Twelfth Night

Mark Rylance cements his deity status in this adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy. The latest addition to the cast here, though, is none other than the QI presenter, brain of Britain and all-round, effortlessly charming Englishman Stephen Fry.

25+ Nov 2-Feb 3
West End. Apollo Shaftesbury, W1D 7EZ
Tube | Piccadilly Circus |


Brass Concert

Australian jazz virtuoso James Morrison leads this concert, with London Brass, to show why the shiny instruments are the most versatile, with classical themes, jazz classics and Tudor sounds. 

£35+ | July 7
Cadogan Hall, Central London SW1X 9DQ
Tube | Sloane Sq |


Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad

There have been many memorable takes on this everlasting love story: countless amateur dramatic versions for one; and Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes capturing the hearts of a generation in Baz Luhrmann’s multi-coloured, high-tempo big screen version. This special commission for the World Shakespeare Festival promises something truly unique, though. Rather than being divided by family – the Montagues and the Capulets – here the star- crossed lovers (right) are kept apart by Sunni and Shia faiths. With zeitgeist topicality, and presented with poetry and music, this is one not to miss.

£17.50+ | June 28-30
Riverside Studios, Hammersmith W6 9RL
Tube | Hammersmith |




A classic act: Your guide to London's best classical concerts this summer
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